The Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

(from the left) Acting Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA) in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State Scott Ticknor; and Meridian President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday.

On November 20, 2017, Meridian convened the United States finale of the “Road to GES,” a series of signature events attended by influential dignitaries, industry executives and thought leaders in the U.S. and India in advance of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India. GES is the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering that convenes emerging entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from around the world to catalyze the creation of inclusive environments that empower innovators, particularly women, throughout the U.S., India and beyond.

Meridian’s “Road to GES” event brought together an international audience of 30 business executives, foreign ambassadors, government officials, civil society pioneers and university faculty. Notable attendees included Scott Ticknor, Acting Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs (CBA) in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Richard Rossow, Senior Adviser and Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS; Michele Schimpp, Deputy Associate Administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Yasmine El-Baggari, Founder of Voyaj, Inc.; Anthony Murfett, Minister of Industry, Science & Education at the Embassy of Australia; Kazuhiro Suzuki, Minister for Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Japan and many others.

The morning began with three roundtable discussions covering a wide range of topics impacting entrepreneurs today, including the digital divide for women entrepreneurs, challenges to emerging markets and the power of entrepreneurial exchange. Setting the tone for the morning dialogue, Meridian President and CEO, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, provided opening remarks emphasizing entrepreneurship as the key driver of prosperity. “Meridian views entrepreneurship as a critical tool for empowering women, developing youth, creating sustainable jobs, and creating wealth and prosperity for all.”

Following the roundtables, the event segued into an intimate panel discussion on the impact of entrepreneurial exchange with two alumni from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI): Indira Burke, Co-Founder of Loui Henri Media Services VBA; and John Pinter, Founder of John Pinter Consulting. Administered by Meridian in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, YLAI brings young entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States to participate in fellowships geared towards strengthening their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. During the discussion, Burke and Pinter shared the impact YLAI has had on their respective ventures and their understanding of business abroad. In line with this year’s GES theme of “Women First, Prosperity for All,” Indira also expressed her belief that entrepreneurial exchange programs can be a game changer for women, in particular. “Mentorship is the key to help women entrepreneurs to succeed.”

As we look forward to this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, Meridian is proud to have hosted the last stop on the “Road to GES” and we thank all of our partners for engaging in this unique opportunity to discuss the integral role global entrepreneurship plays to create more inclusive networks and pathways to success for all.

Project summary

The Road to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit
Number of Visitors: 30
Number of Attendees: 30
Regions: South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere, East Asia and Pacific, Near East and North Africa
Countries: United States, India, Australia, Israel, Mexico
Impact Areas: Entrepreneurship, Empowering Women and Girls, Business and Trade
Program Areas: Forums
Partners: Diplomatic Corps, Private Sector, Public Sector