On July 23, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu to participate in the ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit in Bali, Indonesia. Secretary Clinton said:
"...I am delighted to participate in this first ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit. And I congratulate all of you, the entrepreneurs and investors, the government officials and development experts who are exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, creating new opportunities and even making investments. Now, Indonesia is the natural choice to hold this first summit. This is, as you know, one of the three largest democracies in the world in a dynamic region that is increasingly at the heart of global commerce and growth.
"Like so many other countries, Indonesia is also home to an enormous population of young people. Almost 75 million Indonesians are under the age of 18. Now, those young people are growing up in a world very different than the one I grew up in, and they are connected in ways that I could never have imagined even 10 years ago, let alone a long time ago when I was that age. And the jobs and opportunities that they need and deserve cannot and will not be created by governments alone no matter how large a public sector grows. And while traditional corporations and established industries are very important, the fact is they too are unlikely to create all the jobs needed for the future.
"So what we need to do is what you have been doing -- tap the creativity and innovation of citizens, men and women alike. I like to say that talent is universal but opportunity is not. We can begin to change that if we find ways to unleash people's potential, help good ideas take root and flourish. And potential entrepreneurs are all around us. They are anyone with the imagination to conceive of a new product, process, or service, the ability, persistence, and sheer hard work to turn that idea into something real."
Secretary Clinton continued, "...We're here today because we believe in the power of opportunity and entrepreneurship to transform lives and lift up communities. And we're committed in the Obama Administration to helping entrepreneurship grow further and faster all over the world, and this summit is evidence of that.
"But we need to tackle the obstacles. It's not enough just to bring together in one place experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders with young people with good ideas even who have already started their businesses. We need to tackle the obstacles that entrepreneurs face -- cumbersome government regulations, corrupt officials who demand a bribe before issuing a business permit, and for women like the woman I met in Chennai, cultural norms that might prevent her from handling money or owning land.
"The United States wants to work with you to bring down these barriers. That means reducing the time it takes to open a business here in this region. It means connecting entrepreneurs with investors, not only in their own countries, but outside them, as has happened here. Improving the business climate by protecting intellectual property rights; if you come up with a good idea, it should be protected so that you can then make the most of it and spin it off into who knows where it might go, and of course, making it easier for foreign investors to find local projects worthy of support.
"And we particularly want to encourage women entrepreneurs, because, as the minister said, no economy can thrive if it leaves half the population behind. In fact, a recent United Nations study estimated that in the Asia Pacific region, the untapped potential of women has cost the region more than $40 billion in lost GDP over the last decade. So we're supporting new microfinance projects, building peer networks, and offering mentorships with American businesswomen.
"This really builds on what President Obama emphasized in his 2009 speech in Cairo and that we reaffirmed at the entrepreneurship summit last year in Washington -- American became a global economic power by nurturing a culture of creativity and innovation, by setting the conditions in which entrepreneurs like my father could thrive and ideas could flourish. And we believe other countries can do exactly the same by embracing this model.
"That's why we created the Global Entrepreneurship Program and why we are supporting initiatives like Partnerships For a New Beginning, which recently opened a local chapter here in Indonesia. With a network of public and private partners, we are identifying promising entrepreneurs like all of you here, helping to train them, connecting them with mentors and potential investors, while advocating for supportive policies and regulations and always, always talking about what actually works in the real world. We have led delegations of businesspeople and investors to Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, where they met with entrepreneurs. And we are connecting entrepreneurs all over the world with Diaspora communities living in the United States who actually want to support projects back in their ancestral homes.
"I am pleased to announce that Indonesia is one of the five countries around the world in which the United States will work to foster angel investor groups and connect them with startups and entrepreneurs. And there is no shortage here in Indonesia, which is why we chose Indonesia. In the run-up to this summit, 500 Indonesians entered our business plan competition, running the gamut from high-tech innovators to more traditional brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs."
Secretary Clinton concluded, "...We want to see stories that are successes repeated here in Indonesia, across the ASEAN region, and around the world. Now, why would the United States be doing this? I think it's fair to ask. Why are we doing this? Well, partly because we really come from a culture that thinks if we can help other people do better, that's good for them and it's good for us. It makes for a more prosperous, peaceful, stabler, more secure world. If people are given the opportunity to live up to their own God-given potential, they are more likely to make a contribution to their families, communities, countries, and indeed the world.
"We're also doing it because we think it works. We think that our own experience demonstrates that. And we have seen over now 235 years, but particularly in the last 150 years, we have seen people come from many of the ASEAN nations to our country with nothing in their pocket except a big dream that they hope to be able to realize. And yes, they worked hard, but they had worked hard back home. What was different is they now had the opportunity to profit from their work.
"So when I travel around the world and I go to countries that are still not democracies, still putting up major barriers to women, still interfering with both men and women starting businesses, it breaks my heart because since I know people from practically every country on earth who have come to my own, I know that there are millions and millions more back where they came from who could be just as successful as that businesswoman or that doctor or that academic or whoever who came to the United States. And it wasn't that they worked harder; it was they had a chance to profit from their work.
"So we know this works, and we know too that free and open societies are more likely to benefit more people over a longer period of time than any other kind of society. And it's not only a chance to vote in elections, as important as that is. It's not only a free press, as critical as that is, or democratic institutions in a government that is transparent and accountable and produces results for people. It is whether there's a free market and an economy that works for people who get up every day and work hard.
"Now, not everybody is going to invent Google or Facebook, but they can be like my dad was. They can have their own small business, their own piece of that American dream or that Indonesian dream and they can do well for themselves and they can make a difference to the next generation. My mother never went to college. My father went to college on a football scholarship. He was a great athlete, not a great student. But because he could build a business, he was able to make our lives more and give us education and greater opportunity.
"So we may come from different places and we certainly have different histories, different cultures, ethnicities, religions, all the things that too often separate human beings. As opposed to making us more interesting to each other, it too often provides gaps or gulfs, even, between us knowing one another and working with one another. But if you really look at what many of us know to be true, that the power of the individual, that the person with the good idea who is willing to work hard can do much more than grow a business.
"As an entrepreneur, you literally can help shape the future, not only with your product or your service, but with your dream. So thank you for dreaming, thank you for being part of this first ever ASEAN Entrepreneurship Summit, and please know that the United States believes in you, believes in your dreams, and wants to do whatever we can, working with you to help you realize them for the betterment of yourselves, your families, your communities, and a country like Indonesia."