As seen in Global Corporate Venturing, September 2015 issue.
When Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize-winning founder of the global microfinance movement, spoke at a June Silicon Valley Bank event, he delivered a short yet powerful message: Everyone is an entrepreneur.
Later in the month, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Dell Founder and chief executive (CEO) Michael Dell met at a San Francisco start-up incubator, along with other political and business leaders, to discuss how to scale entrepreneurship to create millions of jobs that the world needs. SVB CEO and President Greg Becker was honored to join the discussion.
If everyone has entrepreneurial instincts, and I agree with Muhammad Yunus on this, what can global leaders do to encourage an environment in which entrepreneurs thrive?
With the overarching goal of lifting one billion people out of extreme poverty by 2030, the UN has announced 17 specific sustainable development goals to get there. Dell and others have launched an initiative to support Goal 8, which is aimed at fostering entrepreneurship to create jobs. Other goals on the UN's sustainable development agenda include eradicating hunger and inequality, promoting peace, resource conservation and gender equity and ensuring access to quality education and healthcare. The agenda will be formally adopted by more than 150 world leaders meeting in New York in late September.
Yes, these goals are hugely ambitious. And the fact that entrepreneurship is getting attention from the United Nations and is the key message from a popular Nobel Prize winner underscores the growing world view of how critical it is for human progress.
How will it work? Supporters of Goal 8 aren't talking about creating Silicon Valley clones, but rather how to promote "inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work." They point out that between 70 and 90 percent of global jobs are not created by big business.
Organised under the banner EnterpreneursUNite.com, supporters envision a roadmap for every country on "how to enhance entrepreneurship through laws, regulation and market access." Even in the US, 80% of new businesses fail in the first 18 months, with poor policies and planning often to blame, they say. The private sector, too, will need to play a critical role in job creation, entrepreneurship, economic growth, capital formation and technology transfer.
Goal 8 has a big megaphone in Michael Dell, who in addition to his day job serves as the global advocate for entrepreneurship at the United Nations Foundation, a charitable arm of the UN. Dell is leading the effort to collect 100,000 signatures from entrepreneurs in support of Goal 8. SVB is supportive of this goal and has encouraged others to check out this initiative.
Among specific provisions in Goal 8:
- Sustain at least 7 percent GDP growth in the least-developed countries.
- Encourage growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises including through access to financial services.
- Achieve full and productive employment for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.
- Take immediate and effective measures to secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor and eradicate forced labor.
- Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all.
For more information about Goal 8 and the Global Entrepreneurship Call to Action petition, visit www.EntrepreneursUNite.com.