U.S. Government Support for Entrepreneurship in America and Around the World

The United States is recognized globally for its culture of entrepreneurship, and GES is just one example of our commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide.  Entrepreneurship is a critical tool for promoting economic growth and job creation.  The United States promotes policies and programs that support the development of talent, an entrepreneurial culture, and capital for small and medium enterprises.

The United States promotes entrepreneurship through several mechanisms, including but not limited to partnering with U.S. companies, non-governmental organizations, and investor groups; advocating for free and open markets and strong intellectual property protections; and creating new initiatives and networks to promote connections and opportunities. 

Increasing women’s economic empowerment is a key element of the United States Government’s commitment to gender equality, as women’s participation is an important driver of global economic growth and security.  The United States supports pioneering initiatives to provide women with access to business networks and global markets, to promote women’s inclusion in the economy including global value chains, and to provide training for women entrepreneurs.

The United States Government supports a wide range of entrepreneurship programs for entrepreneurs in the United States and around the world.  Among the many programs are:

·         The Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP) – The Department of State’s GEP works to build direct partnerships that strengthen the overall entrepreneurial eco-system in countries around the world, ensuring that aspiring and current entrepreneurs, especially those who are looking to scale, are given an equal opportunity to do so.   GEP uses a bottom-up approach, leveraging the help of innovators and entrepreneurs to be advocates for free and open markets where they live and work.  Local entrepreneurs, particularly in emerging markets, are often best positioned to generate political will to address policies that hinder new businesses and job growth. 

·         The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), each year in late November in partnership with the Kaufmann Foundation, more than 250 U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide promote this weeklong celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare.  Since 2008, when the first GEW comprised events in 77 countries, GEW has expanded to more than 150 countries, engaging roughly 25 million participants through 115,000 activities. 

·         People-to-People Exchanges through the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) connect entrepreneurs from around the world with U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses so they can share best practices and expand their business networks.  Academic programs like the Fulbright Program give U.S. and foreign faculty and students the opportunity to study, teach, and conduct research on business and entrepreneurship.  Professional exchanges like TechWomen and the J-1 Internship Program allow participants to mentor with some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley.  Regional initiatives, such as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative, the Young Leaders of the Americas and the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program support current and emerging leaders, providing them with professional skills training and enabling them to build networks in their regions as well as in their own communities. Through follow-on support for international alumni of its exchanges, ECA fosters business development and trainings for entrepreneurs through small grants. 

·         The Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative reaches aspiring entrepreneurs in emerging markets to develop skills, build networks, find mentors, and access financing through a combination of in-country training, a global pitch competition, interactive online programming, and direct connections to U.S. experts. 

·         SelectUSA is a U.S. government-wide program created to facilitate investment into the United States.  It helps global companies of all sizes find the information they need to make decisions, connect at the local level, and navigate the federal regulatory system.

·         The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office leads efforts to develop and strengthen both domestic and international intellectual property protection, including IP protection in other countries.  The Global Intellectual Property Academy (GIPA) provides intellectual property training on a variety of different topics; primarily focused on enforcement, patents, trademarks, and copyrights. GIPA programs are conducted around the world.

·         Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) is a USAID-private sector partnership that aims to catalyze private-sector investment, including from U.S. venture capitalists and U.S. social investment funds, into small and growing businesses around the world. Working in partnership with more than 40 incubators, accelerators, and seed-stage impact investors, these partnerships are expected to leverage $150 million in combined public and private investments over their lifetime.

·         In emerging markets, seven out of ten small businesses cannot access the loans they need to grow. USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA) is designed to fill this funding gap and unlock local private capital for global entrepreneurs to advance and accelerate U.S. development efforts across the globe.  To do this, DCA issues loan guarantees to encourage local financial institutions to lend their own capital to entrepreneurs that support U.S. government (USG) development priorities. Since 1999, DCA guarantees have made possible $4.8 billion in lending across 76 countries.

·         USAID’s Grand Challenges for Development (GCD) engage entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers, and scientists around specific, well defined international development problems to identify innovative solutions to solving global development challenges. To date, Grand Challenges partners have committed more than $508 million in grants and technical assistance, including $148 million from USAID, to support more than 450 early-stage innovations on their journeys to impact.

·         The Small Business Administration (SBA) supports high-growth small businesses throughout the United States through the Office of Investment and Innovation and the Office of Women’s Business Ownership. SBA’s programs focus on using privately raised capital and SBA-guaranteed leverage, stimulating technological innovation through small businesses, and drawing attention to and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

·         The U.S. Department of Commerce houses the Economic Development Administration (EDA)’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) to foster innovation and the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes, and services. The Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program, is a catalytic national grant program for U.S. entrepreneurship ecosystem supporters.

·         U.S. Embassies and Consulates support entrepreneurs by advocating for improvements to business climates and by hosting hundreds of public events every year; from setting up mentoring connections, to workshops on angel investing, crowdfunding, or business incubation.

Entrepreneurship creates the means for individuals to improve their lives and drive innovation, which leads to economic security for communities, nations, and regions.  Entrepreneurs can access additional resources for launching their ideas by clicking here.