The Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2016 kicked into full swing on Thursday in Silicon Valley, and it’s already making an impact. To mark the summit, on Wednesday the White House announced several new initiatives aimed at boosting entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as making startups and the tech world more inclusive.
For example, the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) entrepreneurship training program is being expanded to three additional federal agencies, including NASA. To date, the curriculum has been completed by over 800 teams from 192 universities in 44 states, resulting in the creation of over 320 companies.
Additionally, the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Startup in a Day initiative will undergo a major expansion to nearly 100 U.S. cities and communities. This streamlines licensing, permitting, and other requirements needed to start a local business, with the goal of enabling entrepreneurs to apply for everything necessary to begin within 24 hours.
The SBA also announced the development of a new, state-of-the-art online training curriculum with a goal of training 1 million small business owners by 2020. The massive open online courses, developed by leading academics and businesspeople, will be made available later this year.
The U.S. debuted the GES in 2010, recognizing all of the benefits that entreprenuers generate. But even better is that many firms are voluntarily getting on board with their own initiatives in the same spirit. This is not Uncle Sam forcing more red tape down startups’ throats. Instead, Washington is touting the benefits its goals will bring to all, and it has launched several voluntary pledges for the tech industry. Its New Tech Inclusion Pledge already includes over 30 firms who have committed to taking concrete action to diversify their tech workforce — namely, by including more women and minorities.
This is quite a pressing need. The White House wrote that:
Just three percent of America’s venture capital-backed startups are led by women, and only around one percent are led by African-Americans. Female entrepreneurs start companies with 50 percent less capital than male entrepreneurs, and only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital investors are women. Capital for innovative startups is predominantly available in only a handful of large cities, making high-growth business creation a challenge in other locations.
On Wednesday an independent report by Intel and Dalberg Global Development Advisors was released, giving further support to redressing these imbalances. It estimated that full representation of ethnic and gender diversity in the U.S. tech industry could generate an additional $470-$570 billion.
And that’s just how the U.S. is poised to benefit from further encouraging entrepreneurship. The summit’s global focus and inclusion of entrepreneurs from all over can facilitate positive change to an even larger degree elsewhere, where startup cultures are just beginning to emerge. Helping entrepreneurs from developing countries — who have ideas suited to their own markets — has a much better chance of improving the world from the ground-up, rather than ineffective top-down foreign aid. With some 700 entrepreneurs attending this year’s GES, chances are good that some progress will result.