The 3rd Global Entrepreneurship Summit has officially opened in Dubai, to an audience including a plethora of the region’s foremost business leaders, several members of the Dubai royal family and a video message from the President of the United States.
The summit, in partnership with Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia, aims to bring the MENA region’s most prominent names in business together with SMEs and entrepreneurs that, as Barack Obama said in his pre-recorded message, “could be behind the next big private companies for their cities and their countries.”
The majority of keynote speakers over the two day conference, and the business names in attendance, are from the United States or MENA region.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum addressed the hundreds of attendees at the opening ceremony, as did HH Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs.
Francisco Sanchez, the U.S. under secretary for international trade, addressed the audience before introducing Barack Obama’s message.
“As you all know, roughly 50 to 100 million new jobs are needed in this region. Our partnerships will never reach their full potential if so many people are finding it difficult to find work and escape poverty. So we must address this challenge,” said Sanchez.
“One essential component of the solution is new startups. That’s because the startups of today will become the big companies of tomorrow. We fully support this growing prosperity, both here and across the Middle East.
“That’s because when a young person has an idea, they need to be able to pursue that idea. And if they are able to turn that idea into a business, then workers will be hired. A MENA region that is economically stable is an important pillar of President Obama’s approach.”
The United States president then spoke in a recorded message about his hope for the region’s entrepreneurs and SMEs to be given the best chance to become leaders of the next generation of the private sector.
Some of the speeches and discussions taking place on day one include ‘the 100 million jobs challenge’ – tackling the issue of unemployment in the MENA region. The rate of youth unemployment in the MENA region stood at 24 per cent in 2009.