Innovation & Entrepreneurship as Engines for Growth
CR 40 - This Friday @ 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
The story of the global economy over the last century has been one of incredible economic growth. One need look no farther than the latest annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation for evidence of the great strides made in eradicating poverty and disease the world over. A great way to visualize this is through the freely available GapMinder World application that contains historical data series for a number of health and wealth indicators. Just consider that the life expectancy on nearly everyone on the planet today, is higher than the highest life expectancy merely a century ago.
The tables above show life expectancy and income the world over between 1900 and 2012. Each circle represents one country
But where is this growth coming from and how is it sustained? If we rely on current long-run economic growth models, then the source of growth is increases in technology, where 'technology' refers to a broadly defined set of capabilities. But how does technology increase over time? We posit that both innovation and entrepreneurship are key components of increasing the technological stock of a country.
More importantly, if we talk about wealth creation, then we must understand what is required to spur innovation, and what ecosystems are necessary to encourage entrepreneurship. But we are not the experts, and so we're excited for a chance to meet some. Join us this coming Friday to hear from three great panelists whose experiences shape different perspectives on where growth comes from.
At the United States Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, LeAnn is an Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere on U.S. trade and investment policy in the Americas. In this role she is committed to working with senior government officials and private sector leaders from the hemisphere to work towards a level playing field for U.S. businesses overseas and increased competitiveness in the Americas. She is the U.S. representative to the Inter-American Competitiveness Network, and she has represented the U.S. to the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Lily BowlesAs Village Capital’s Global Operations Manager, Lily is committed to facilitating the organization’s growth through her work managing internal operations, leading investor relations, spearheading research initiatives, and supporting the organization’s development efforts. Prior to joining the VilCap team, Lily interned at the Aspen Institute, B Lab, and the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. In spring 2012, she earned a BA in Political & Social Thought from the University of Virginia, where she co-founded the University’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative, and was a Jefferson Scholar.
One of the co-founders of FabLab Egypt, Achraf has seen first had the challenges in spurring innovation in a context very different from most of us. Following the seeds of the Arab Spring, Achraf and his partners founded the Egyptian chapter of FabLab, a fabrication facility designed to spur creativity and encourage entrepreneurial thinking. Conceived at M.I.T. in Boston, the FabLab is a space designated to both teaching young thinkers, as well as testing new ideas. Much like a community center, it provides the support structure for a network of entrepreneurs.