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Staff
EO Global

As part of US Department of State initiative, 30 entrepreneurs from around the world visited Washington, DC, to engage in peer-to-peer learning and relationship-building.

Washington, DC, USA (28 September 2012) – When it comes to helping entrepreneurs learn how to successfully grow their businesses, nothing can beat the practice of tapping into the knowledge and experience of other business owners. A joint effort between the United States Department of State and nonprofit Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) aims to create a peer-to-peer learning environment for promising entrepreneurs from around the world. In selecting high-growth, high-potential entrepreneurs who are committed to growing their businesses and creating new employment opportunities in their communities, the program aims to enhance the visitors’ ability to impact their home economies in meaningful and lasting ways.

Now in its third year, “A New Beginning: Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation” identifies 30 new leaders and innovators from the entrepreneurial community each year, and then brings them to the United States for a three-week program of educational experiences, business mentoring and long-term relationship-building. The first stop of the 2012 program was Washington, DC, where delegates met with local entrepreneurs, government officials and leading academics to begin their journey of learning and relationship building.

“Our mission at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization is to help leading entrepreneurs learn and grow, and this program exemplifies the reasons we are so passionate about doing so,” said Adrienne Cornelsen, chair of the organization’s Global Communications Committee. “By creating an environment in which the visiting entrepreneurs can build relationships with and learn from their peers here in the United States, we have enabled them to make a lasting impact in their communities and, more broadly, on the world’s economy.”

The first two years of the program have already yielded significant results, having acted as a catalyst for improved economic ties, cross-cultural partnerships and job creation. There have been a string of extraordinary stories and successes to come out of this program in its first two years, including:

  • A delegate from Bahrain returned home to run for Parliament, and now holds one of only three parliamentary seats held by women.
  • A program delegate took lessons he learned in the program and has run workshops attended by hundreds to support and train and empower entrepreneurs in his home country of India, including one event featuring more than 300 attendees.
  • A delegate from Brunei decided to franchise her business throughout Asia, and was asked by the Brunei government to create and lead a Franchise Association to help support growth of the economy.

To facilitate the visitors’ transformation into seeds of change, the program boasts several key features, among them a proven educational curriculum based on EO’s Accelerator program, and mentorship and peer-to-peer connections between the delegates and leading American entrepreneurs. While in Washington, DC, the delegates engaged with leading government officials at the Department of State and sat down for curriculum-based sessions at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. They took breaks from the classroom to spend time with members of EO DC, some of the area’s leading entrepreneurs.

After visiting DC, the participants left to continue their tour with visits to Portland, OR; Denver, CO; Dallas, TX and, finally, New York City. A New Beginning is a response to President Barack Obama’s June 2009 pledge in Cairo and at the 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship to expand exchange programs and opportunities in entrepreneurship.

About the Program

U.S. embassies in 30 countries have selected high-growth, high-potential entrepreneurs who are committed to growing their businesses and creating new employment opportunities in their communities.  Selected delegates have all demonstrated high levels of interest in creativity and innovation.  They are forward-thinking, open to new ideas, and keenly interested in establishing and expanding business relationships with colleagues and peers in the United States.

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of International Visitors is sponsoring this initiative as part of the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).  The IVLP brings approximately 5,000 participants to the United States from around the world each year to meet and engage with their professional counterparts. 

The program’s overall planning and logistics are being administered by Meridian International Center (www.meridian.org) a non-profit organization that promotes global leadership through the exchange of ideas, people, and culture. Meridian’s mission is to create innovative exchange, education, cultural, and policy programs.

Bloomberg Government (about.bgov.com/) is a partner and sponsor of the program for the second consecutive year.

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