Bill Clinton Shares on His Support of Global Entrepreneurship
Since leaving office as President of the U.S, Bill Clinton has steadfastly shown his support for entrepreneurship, unlike his predecessors and successors. He has achieved this through the Clinton Foundation as well as the Clinton Global Initiative. Both of these have created programs to provide funding and mentoring to hundreds of entrepreneurs globally. In an interview, Mr. Clinton goes ahead to share his vision and priorities for business leaders in the 21st Century.
The Clinton Global Initiative Mission on Entrepreneurship
When asked how support for entrepreneurship fits into the broader CGI mission, Mr. Clinton went ahead to state the status quo. When starting the initiative, Mr. Clinton, and his team noted that people go to many meetings, discuss problems and their solutions, but fail to implement the solutions. For CGI, for one to come back the following year, one had to commit to doing something. For the first few years, a vast majority of the commitments were made by foundations, NGOs, and stand-alones. However, as of 2008, and since then, 90% of the commitments were being made by partnerships. The success rate also went up from 86% (for stand-alones) to 101% (for partnerships), exceeding their goals as a result of working together.
When talking about entrepreneurship in the context of CGI, Mr. Clinton stated that diverse partnerships come up with better decisions when dealing with new problems and challenges. These collaborations have proven successful and has become a routine for CGI.
At CGI, they realized that partnerships have more success, thus they do their best to promote collaboration. After collaboration, they go ahead to ensure that one has access to technology and finance.
CGI’s Partnership with Kiva
On this, Mr. Clinton went ahead to give examples of the success of Kiva. Kiva works by providing people who are socially conscious an opportunity to invest in a business in a developing country, as little as $25. When CGI made the commitment to partner with Kiva, they had put out loans worth $1.7 million in America, and are currently at $10 million in business loans to small American businesses.
His interest in Kiva was sparked after Bill’s encounter with Muhammad Yunus in the early ’80s. Mr. Yunus inspired the first urban microcredit bank in America, South Shore Bank, later called ShoreBank. The bank made gave loans to Croatian electricians and African American carpenters, experiencing runaway success.
About Kiva City Initiatives
Kiva moved into 11 cities, getting them to $10 million in loans. They helped Kent Walker, who hails from Little Rock, to become the largest cheesemaker in his state. Mr. Walker started making cheese in his church in a vat. When he got his loan from Kiva, he expanded his business, Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, to enjoy great success.
Kiva also helped a woman in Washington D.C. who saw the need for providing charging stations for all-electric cars. She did this by renting parking spaces on parking lots at retail or commercial office buildings. After renting the space, she would put up a little sign. Kiva provided her with a $5,000 loan, enabling her offer reasonably-priced recharge services for electric cars at various spots all over the D.C. area.
Opening of GPS Technology and Broadband to Civilian Use
Clinton pointed out the dominance of South Korea’s broadband in the world. He went on to point out the net neutrality debate and how to handle it. The debate arose from the way the infrastructure is financed. In South Korea, the infrastructure is developed by the government, as opposed to private companies, and opened to the public market.
This is what Mr. Clinton did with GPS. He terms it as a fabulous idea, which provided entrepreneurs with low barriers to entry, enabling them do unbelievable things. He goes ahead to voice his support for net neutrality and its importance for entrepreneurial access. Small businesses are to benefit more than big businesses from having a rapid global broadband.
Entrepreneurial Activity in the ’90s and Now
With a decrease in firm formation and entrepreneurial activity, Mr. Clinton thinks that Small Business Administration should be more aggressive. He also believes that there should be a critical look at the impact caused by Dodd-Frank on legitimate community banks.
Politics vs. Entrepreneurship
When asked about why politicians fail to fulfill their promises and pledges on small businesses, Mr. Clinton clearly stated that it was fear. These politicians fear that after a crash, anything bad that happens will be held against them. He gives an example of all the trouble that followed him after signing the bill that brought an end to Glass-Steagall. A study done later on proved that unified banks are less likely to fail compared to commercial or investment banks.
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