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Entrepreneurs May Solve Global Poverty


According to the global entrepreneurship GEDI index, for the past 30 years almost half of all new jobs in the United States alone were created by businesses that are less than five years old. Globally, 65 million entrepreneurs each plan to create 20 or more jobs in the next five years.

Many of these start-up businesses offer products that are new to the market, according to a GEM report.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is sort of raise entrepreneurship to the level of the public policy agenda,” said Michael Dell. “If you look at what’s going on in the world today, in terms of where jobs are being created, we need more entrepreneurs. We need more risk-taking. High-risk entrepreneurs and bureaucratic U.N. officials might seem like a strange combination, but applying the problem-solving of a startup culture to global development is the idea.”

Around the world, over 565,000 small businesses start each month, and the products and profit they provide could be key to the recovery of the world economy as they create jobs, more global disposable income and new products. However, only 15 percent of entrepreneurs say that their country’s culture supports entrepreneurs, according to ey.com.

“Technology has enabled undeserved communities to get out of poverty,” said Ruma Bose, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. “In the slums of India we saw a lot of hope and magic, there are thousands of new businesses there, and factories that generate millions in revenue and provide clean water. Even in the worst conditions the entrepreneurial spirit exists.”

Around 63 percent of women in the non-agricultural labor force are self-employed in the informal sector in Africa, a number which is twice the worldwide rate, according to the World Bank’s data — data which also shows that necessity is the main driving force behind female entrepreneurship in poor countries, not opportunity.

“Traditionally women would sit at home and wait for the man to return home with a bag of groceries, but this has been changing over time as women’s dependence gradually reduces,” said Thomas Bwire, an economist with Uganda’s central bank. “In a sign of the times, Ugandan women now even work at road construction sites.”

A report released earlier this year by Goldman Sachs stated that women’s “increased bargaining power has the potential to create a virtuous cycle” as women begin to spend more, thus fueling economic growth in the years ahead. According to the International Finance Corp. of the World Bank, an estimated $300 billion credit gap exists for female-owned businesses.

Other entrepreneurial companies, like Popinjay, have aided the advancement of many people around the world. Popinjay employs around 150 women who work four hours a day and at $3 an hour. “When I started Popinjay, my goal was really to get women to sustain themselves, but what I realized over time is that it wasn’t just about the money,” said Saba Gul, CEO and founder of Popinjay. “It was also about the fact that they gained so much dignity and pride in knowing that they were creating something with their own hands.”

— Monica Newell

Sources: Deseret News National, Epoch Times
Photo: Tadias