Entrepreneurship as an Engine of Prosperity and Stability | An IVLP Initiative

In August of 2022, Meridian implemented the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Initiative titled "Entrepreneurship as an Engine of Prosperity and Stability" in partnership with the U.S. Department of State. Over 100 participants traveled from 67 countries to network and share best practices in small business development and creating a viable startup ecosystem. Six separate cohorts were arranged representing various regions and one multi-regional project. The program began with Washington, DC with an opportunity for all participants to become acquainted with each other and the schedule. Mei Xu, Chair of the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy, provided an inspirational keynote presentation to encourage the group to seize their opportunities. After federal panel session and regional breakouts, the DC program wrapped up with an action planning session from Terra Winston, a leadership consultant and executive coach that encouraged participants to set challenges to achieve in the days ahead.

After DC, the cohorts traveled to separate cities to examine how each community supports small businesses as a catalyst for economic growth and development. The multi-regional project journeyed to Des Moines, Iowa where they met with local community development organizations, incubators, and state government. Participants were impressed with the methods used to attract foreign direct investment to Des Moines, and found common ways that would be helpful in developing smaller communities in their own countries. Mr. Ion Lupan of Moldova cherished the opportunity to see ordinary people do ordinary things, and discovered the you do not need to be a revolutionary to create change in society.

The separate groups reconvened in Chicago, Illinois to conclude the program. Each group first visited various local universities, colleges, and chambers of commerce to explore the qualities needed for a workable startup ecosystem and the initiatives provided to new entrepreneurs. The program wrapped up with the return of Terra Winston for a synthesis session where participants reflected on the goals they had set in DC, and planned how they would leverage their new networks in the future.


Sponsors & Partnerships

U.S. Department of State
International Visitor Leadership Program, U.S. Department of State
Iowa International Center
Global Ties ABQ
Cleveland Council on World Affairs
Global Ties Akron
San Antonio Council for International Visitors
International Visitors Council of Los Angeles

Project summary