(DETROIT – June 12, 2012) Lorraine Hariton, special representative for commercial and business affairs at the U.S. Department of State, will visit TechTown on Thursday, June 14, to meet with a select group of Detroit business leaders and TechTown startup entrepreneurs in celebration of Global Economic Statecraft Day. TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith will host the discussion.
A former Silicon Valley CEO and passionate advocate for women’s entrepreneurship and innovation, Hariton now heads the office that runs the U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program and works with the business community worldwide to ensure that commercial diplomacy efforts support U.S. foreign policy objectives. Hariton plans to discuss parallels between local entrepreneurial practices and global entrepreneurship, and, specifically, how Detroit’s lessons in entrepreneurship can be applied globally.
The term “global economic statecraft” refers to a two-pronged U.S. foreign policy approach: harnessing global economic forces to advance America’s foreign policy, and employing the tools of foreign policy to shore up U.S. economic strength. According to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship on April 27, 2010, the Global Entrepreneurship Program was established to “provide concrete support to new entrepreneurs, starting in Muslim-majority communities and eventually expanding to others worldwide.”
Clinton said, “Through this program, we will work with the United States private sector partners and local businesses, along with civil society groups, to help create successful entrepreneurial environments. We will help sponsor business plan competitions to identify and support promising ideas. We will work to expand access to capital so entrepreneurs with a sound business concept will have access to credit to enable them to put their ideas to work. We will facilitate partnerships between business schools in the United States and educational institutions worldwide to share knowledge and help strengthen business education. We will support mentoring programs so someone starting out can benefit from the experience of someone who’s been down that road before.”
Hariton’s June 14 visit to Detroit shines a light on TechTown as a tangible example of Clinton’s vision for “economic statecraft.” In November 2011, the GEP and Partners for a New Beginning – North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (PNB-NAPEO) organized a delegation of entrepreneurs and investors to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. NAPEO representatives from TechTown, Wayne State University, the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. State Department honored three North African entrepreneurs (one each from Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria) with the NAPEO TechTown Incubation Prize, and awarded them complimentary business incubation at TechTown and educational services at Wayne State.
Secretary Clinton has said that “the U.S.-North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity is building a network of public and private partners and programs to deepen economic integration among the countries in North Africa…[and] these people-to-people contacts have already helped lay the groundwork for cross-border initiatives to create jobs, train youth, and support start-ups.”
Entrepreneur Dr. Souad Rouis, the winner from Tunisia, will be among the TechTown entrepreneurs with whom Hariton will meet on June 14. Rouis, a college professor, founded BRP Biotech, the first of its kind in Tunisia to develop vaccines and diagnostic kits. TechTown is anticipating the arrival of the remaining North African honorees this fall.
Through NAPEO, TechTown and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center are also offering training, mentoring, and the sharing of best practices between North African and Detroit creative industries entrepreneurs through the Creative Ventures Program.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Global Economic Statecraft Day by hosting Lorraine Hariton, one of the nation’s most esteemed leaders, advocates and experts on entrepreneurship,” said TechTown President and CEO Leslie Smith. “Detroit is emerging as a hub for innovation, and her visit showcases this achievement. We are excited about her impending dialogue with the business leaders and entrepreneurs of our region, and hope to continue our important work with the U.S. State Department to transform the world through entrepreneurship and economic independence.”
CONTACT: Michelle Welsh – (313) 450-3883, firstname.lastname@example.org