Tufts alum Robert D. Hormats (A’65), United States Under Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, recently penned a blog post on the US Department of State official blog. Hormats’ post talks about entrepreneurship as means of creating jobs and promoting “economic democracy,” and discusses how high unemployment rates among educated youth in countries like Egypt have led people to take action in changing their economic circumstances. He writes:
Entrepreneurship, a cornerstone of America’s economic success, represents one of the brightest hopes for expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs in emerging markets, and can provide a big economic boost to the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region. While by no means a panacea, entrepreneurs have consistently proved to be a key engine of growth and, critically, job creation. In the United States, from 1980-2005, firms less than five years old accounted for nearly all net job growth. We believe that a focus on entrepreneurship in emerging economies can produce similar results. Moreover, because entrepreneurs create jobs and promote innovation from the bottom up, they are a key force for opening up the economic systems of their countries to groups that have previously been marginalized. In this way, entrepreneurship can be an important component of promoting “Economic Democracy,” whereby greater numbers of people can participate productively in the economy and thereby have the skills and energy to improve their own lives and contribute to their country’s economic advancement.
Hormats also talks about the State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), which brings together private sector partners from America and local communities abroad to create an “integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem.” Days before the protests began in Egypt, the GEP completed its first Entrepreneurship Delegation in Cairo.