Madrid: Fostering Connections between Entrepreneurs on the #RoadtoGES

Entrepreneurship — an engine of growth, technological innovation, and job creation — continues to be a priority for the United States, both at home in our own market, and abroad, including Spain where we have strong economic ties, and where we see potential for deeper engagement. One example of the Trump Administration’s commitment to continuing U.S. engagement in entrepreneurship world-wide is the continuation of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit — GES — which the United States and India will co-host in Hyderabad, India from November 28–30. Focused on supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering economic growth globally, the eighth annual GES will inspire innovative initiatives, forge new collaborations across countries, and increase economic opportunities, particularly for women, in support of the theme “Women First, Prosperity for All.”

Here in Spain, we were excited to help set the stage for GES by partnering for the third year in a row on a unique technology-focused entrepreneurship, investment, and networking conference series. Known as “IN3” (IN­-Cubed) because of its focus on bringing together INnovators, INvestors, and INstitutions from a range of sectors, this event facilitates the one-on-one interactions that give nascent companies the tools they need to scale up, in order to break into international markets, to grow.

The bilateral economic relationship between the United States and Spain is one of the clearest beneficiaries of IN3. As Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Benjamin Ziff, explained while opening the event, “As the United States government has worked increasingly on facilitating innovation economies and entrepreneurship, we’ve learned from representatives not just from Silicon Valley, but from the dozens of innovation clusters in the United States — like Boston, Charlotte, Silicon Alley in New York City, and the biotech hub in Maryland — that a key element of the secret sauce that makes an innovative ecosystem successful is an environment that fosters connections between entrepreneurs in the trenches. This is the network for sharing successes, dusting off from failures, and building economies of scale.”

Spain is the fastest-growing and one of the most dynamic economies in Europe. It not only exited its recession in 2014, it has now completed three years of solid growth, with the International Monetary Fund and many private sector economists predicting Spain will surpass the government’s official forecast of three percent growth for 2017. As Chargé d’Affaires Ziff noted, “Now is the time for Spain to grow into a global economic powerhouse.” Many U.S. business leaders, serial entrepreneurs, academics, and even one NASA scientist clearly agree with this sentiment, as they traveled from the United States to participate at IN3. The relationships built as a result will strengthen the strong economic ties across the Atlantic.