US-led Initiative Highlights Morocco’s Role as Trade & Investment Platform
After a flurry of meetings in late August and early September, the US and Morocco launched the overall outline of the program for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to be held in Marrakech, Morocco November 19-21. The GES website provides the breakdown of the sessions and themes while speakers are still being invited.
It is expected that Vice President Joe Biden will head the US contingent, which will include members from the State, Commerce, and Education Departments, and from other agencies with a remit focusing on employment and entrepreneurship programming. Under the theme of “Harnessing the Power of Technology for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” some 3000 entrepreneurs, heads of state, government officials, and leaders of businesses ranging from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to multinational corporations will be on hand to discuss how “Technology creates opportunities and enriches the human capacity for dynamic collaboration. It builds social capital, promotes human development and facilitates the exchange of information and ideas.”
On November 19th, the featured program will be a “Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Celebration Lunch” as delegates gather for meetings, sessions, side-bar events, and opportunities to promote their ideas, projects, and experiences in entrepreneurship. The conference will reach beyond technology applied to ICT and examine its role in promoting water management, alternative energy, sustainable agri-business, and business development, among other areas.
Among topics to be addressed on November 20-21: lessons learned moving from talent to entrepreneurship; regional connectivity to promote business across boundaries; the importance of smart cities in adapting technology to human development; social entrepreneurship; innovations in entrepreneurship and financing; and the central issue of building and sustaining an ecosystem to support entrepreneurs.
Making Contacts for Building Business
With a strong emphasis on allocating time for B2B meetings between entrepreneurs and potential investors and government officials, GES will host an online MARKETPLACE module to encourage participants to spend time meeting with their peers and specialists to discuss common interests and “opportunities for technology transfer, investment, mentoring and growing and scaling businesses (expertise in certain sectors, with certain technologies, regions and countries, potential investment offers, training and so on) as well as request help in areas they need (on-the-ground support in countries, potential partnerships and so on).” The MARKETPLACE will be an ongoing legacy of the Summit to facilitate follow up and continued interactions among participants.
According to a story in the Business Standard, “the selection of Morocco as host country reflects the active role it plays in the overall economic development of the African continent, the kingdom’s leadership in supporting entrepreneurship and the integration of youth and women into the economy.” The article mentions that a key goal for Morocco at the conference is to promote concrete steps by global investors to “finance start-ups and new ventures with a strong emphasis on financing ventures for women entrepreneurs.”
Consistent with its own efforts to stimulate economic growth through a myriad of programs and partnerships with the private sector, Morocco is making a statement about the need for sustainable and inclusive growth touching all sectors of society.