U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to the first Regional Entrepreneurship Summit held recently in Bali, Indonesia. The summit, which was hosted by the Indonesian government as a follow-on to President Barack Obama’s April 2010 Summit on Entrepreneurship, welcomed entrepreneurs and investors from throughout ASEAN, China, and India.
At the President’s April 2010 Summit, Secretary Clinton launched the Global Entrepreneurship Program to advance our entrepreneurship activities around the world. Indonesia was selected as the second pilot country for the program, following Egypt. The Global Entrepreneurship Program now operates in 4 countries.
In her remarks, Secretary Clinton said that the United States government and private sector were represented at the event "because we believe in the power of opportunity and entrepreneurship to transform lives and lift up communities." Secretary Clinton also stated that the Obama Administration is committed "to helping entrepreneurship grow further and faster all over the world." "We can begin to change [lives] if we find ways to unleash people’s potential, help good ideas take root and flourish," she said.
A recent United Nations study estimated that in the Asia Pacific region, the untapped potential of women has cost the region more than $40 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over the last decade. "We particularly want to encourage women entrepreneurs, because . . . no economy can thrive if it leaves half the population behind. So we’re supporting new microfinance projects, building peer networks, and offering mentorships with American businesswomen," Secretary Clinton continued.
"[But] we need to tackle the obstacles that entrepreneurs face – cumbersome government regulations, corrupt officials who demand a bribe before issuing a business permit, and . . . cultural norms that might prevent [women] from handling money or owning land."
"The United States wants to work with you to bring down these barriers," Secretary Clinton concluded. "As an entrepreneur, you literally can help shape the future, not only with your product or your service, but with your dream. So thank you for dreaming . . . and please know that the United States believes in you, believes in your dreams, and wants to do whatever we can, working with you to help you realize them for the betterment of yourselves, your families, your communities, and [your countries]."