Good Afternoon. I am very pleased to see so many of you here at the American Center for this Global Entrepreneurship Week 2016 gathering. We are deeply grateful to Special Secretary Y.S. Malik for having taken time out of his extremely hectic schedule to join us.
Entrepreneurship is a major feature of the American economic landscape. Since our country’s founding, it has been a driver of economic growth, of job creation, and the source of countless ideas, many of which were successfully translated into products and services that touch citizens across our country and around the world, saving lives and enhancing the quality of life.
But entrepreneurship is more than just an engine of economic growth. It is also a factor that makes communities more vibrant, inclusive, and secure. President Obama highlighted entrepreneurship’s transformative properties when he noted that it is the, “ability to turn an idea into reality – a new venture, a small business – that puts rising economies on the path to prosperity, and empowers people to come together and tackle our most pressing global problems, from climate change to poverty.” These are but some of the reasons that we are so excited about entrepreneurship and are doing what we can to promote it worldwide, including here in India.
India too has a rich tradition of entrepreneurship. In recent years, Indian American innovators have contributed to the success of Silicon Valley and its startup culture, and there are strong ties between Silicon Valley and such Indian tech hubs as Bangalore and Hyderabad. And that same strain of innovation and entrepreneurship is manifest in the growing wave of startups in India: in health technology, mobile apps, e-commerce, and so much more.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are central to Prime Minister Modi’s vision for transforming India. When the Prime Minister visited Silicon Valley last fall, I heard him speak about the need to bring together the best minds in India and the United States to solve our two countries’ – and the world’s – biggest challenges. He encouraged all of us to look at ways to harness our great networks of entrepreneurs and innovators to improve the lives of ordinary people.
Global Entrepreneurship Summit
One of the ways that the U.S. Government is harnessing the efforts of entrepreneurs and innovators from across the global is through the annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit. This is a multi-day event at which we bring together entrepreneurs, government representatives, financiers, and other key players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. GES, as the preeminent global forum on entrepreneurship, is a shining example of how governments, educational institutions, and private sector stakeholders can work together to foster the kind of entrepreneurial ecosystems that encourage economic growth, business-friendly environments, job creation, and secure communities.
By offering to host the next GES, India has clearly demonstrated that it is wholly committed to entrepreneurship and innovation. And we couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with the Government of India to co-host GES 2017. GES 2017 will be an important opportunity for India to advance ease of doing business efforts, highlight skills and entrepreneur development, and encourage more private sector investment. I know the Indian government is developing an ambitious vision for this one-of-a-kind event which demonstrates that India is open for business and that it is a global leader when it comes to innovation and entrepreneurship. And I can assure you that our governments are working together to nurture this culture of innovation and ensure there is an ecosystem in place to support innovators, their ideas, and marketization.
We are confident that the Indian gathering can improve upon the notable success of this year’s Summit, which was held in Silicon Valley. That event convened 700 entrepreneurs from 170 nations. It also brought together more than 400 participants from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, including mentors, angel investors, and venture capitalists. The gathering catalyzed meetings that led to investors pledging billions of dollars to support myriad nascent businesses, and, more importantly, the sharing of practices and the forming of bonds that have helped create a worldwide community of entrepreneurs.
To promote this growing entrepreneurial summit, we will launch an entrepreneurship knowledge hub and business incubator. This facility – which we hope to inaugurate early next year and housed in part right behind this wall – will work with entrepreneurs to help them learn how to turn their ideas into enterprises. The incubator, which will be managed by the University of Texas’s prestigious IC² Institute, will also work with companies to help connect them with the investors who can move their concepts off the drawing board and onto the store shelf, and will work with other players in the Indian entrepreneurial universe to help foster a vibrant, cohesive and collaborative ecosystem.
You will be hearing more about the incubator in the months to come, but for now let me just say that we are extremely gratified to be able to play a role in the growth of this development, and also to be in a position to witness and learn from the innovative developments being brought to the fore by Indian entrepreneurs. It truly is an incredibly exciting time to be participating in the Indian entrepreneurship sector.
With that, please allow me to welcome to the podium Special Secretary Mr. Malik.