Remarks by DCM Mark Johnson in the Global Entrepreneurship Week Inauguration Event

DCM Mark Johnson
Monday November 13, 8:30 AM, FUSADES

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.  

This week we celebrate entrepreneurship globally because we recognize the central importance that this business model has as the main driver of economic growth in all countries.

The truth is that in many cases we focus on large companies, and the names we all know, but in fact all over the world, are small companies that move the land, create jobs, and grow economies. This week we try to recognize your contributions and promote new initiatives. And nowhere does this sector have more importance than here in El Salvador

A few months ago I had the opportunity to meet Sandra, a young entrepreneur who became pregnant and lost the support of a great part of her family, who told her: you will not be able to succeed.

But Sandra did not believe the skeptics. She decided not only to continue studying, but also launched her footwear company, with an “eco-footwear” line, which is created using only recycled materials.

That perseverance, that willingness to move forward despite obstacles, innovation and social awareness, are all characteristics of entrepreneurs. And they need these qualities, because an entrepreneur faces difficulty and risk everywhere and every day, in many cases these are situations and difficulties that do not affect large companies.

Large companies or foreign investors can hire consultants, lawyers and experts whose only job is to deal with the “tramitologia”. In contrast, an administrative obstacle may be insurmountable for a small business. Aspiring entrepreneurs who feel discouraged by bureaucracy may not become entrepreneurs at all.

Any good business idea that is not realized is a missed opportunity, not only for the employer, but also for employees not hired by the company, investments not made in the community and, well, even taxes not paid to the government.

But it is also the loss of an opportunity to improve the quality of life. For Sandra, having her own company means the opportunity to maintain and provide a dignified life to her family. And just as it is for Sandra, it can also be a way of life for many other Salvadorans.

This week is a call then, so that governments can understand how to support SMEs and innovate in providing them with the services they need and an environment that supports their creativity. It is a call for investors and banks, to take calculated risks to support small businesses that have good ideas and well thought out plans, with seed capital or with loans. It is a call for private companies to seek alliances with small businesses. It is a call for educational institutions to encourage innovation and develop human capital in a way that meets the needs of the labor market.

A call to approach these problems strategically, looking beyond the domestic market. Because now with technology, attracting the global market is an immediate possibility, and not part of a 5-year plan. Who knows if within 5 years I will be able to buy an eco-shoe from Sandra in a store in my state of New York.

The fact that this is the week of “global” entrepreneurship is a sign of how small the world has become. Because the reality is that we need more “Sandras” in the world, and the result of conferences like these should be focused on how the ideal conditions can be fostered so that people like Sandra can turn their projects into reality.

This is the commitment of the United States – to be by El Salvador’s side when taking steps supporting entrepreneurs. Because we all need them.

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.