Video: Strengthening Entrepreneurship for Stable Societies

Friday, May 5, 2017

Steven Koltai, who served as the senior advisor of U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program (GEP), recently sat down with WDI’s Amy Gillett to discuss practical ways in which entrepreneurship and the training of entrepreneurs can be effective foreign policy tools.

Koltai is the author of the book, Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development (Brookings Press, 2016). He is currently a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, and serves as managing director of Koltai & Co., which looks to build a global entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“Koltai’s ideas strongly resonate with our work,” said Gillett, vice president of the WDI Education Initiative. “His work and his book promotes principles we’ve been using in our entrepreneurship development work for years.”

The interview was conducted during Koltai’s recent visit to the University of Michigan, which coincided with the launch of WDI’s Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC). His argument – that entrepreneurship is a strong and oft-neglected means of building economies and stable societies – aligns closely with the EDC’s mission.

Watch the discussion below:


During the interview, Koltai and Gillett discuss strategies for developing entrepreneurship training and investment in emerging markets. Koltai also shared his Six + Six Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Model. This model, which outlines the six fundamental actions needed to build a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem, strongly overlaps with WDI’s own approach to developing entrepreneurs.

“Koltai’s work provides solid footing for the importance of doing what we do, and why we do it,” Gillett said. “I recommend his framework, and hope it continues to gain the hearing it deserves.”

Koltai has more than 30 years of business and entrepreneurship experience, including co-founding Coronet Television Satellite Company (now SES), the world’s largest commercial TV satellite system. He also has been senior vice president for Strategy and Corporate Development at Warner Bros., a strategic planning consultant at McKinsey & Co., and an investment banker at Salomon Brothers.

His March talk at the University of Michigan, as part of WDI’s Global Impact Speaker series, marked the second time Koltai has visited WDI. In 2011, he was the featured speaker at WDI’s Global Summit on Educating Entrepreneurs, an international gathering of development organizations, government agencies, entrepreneurship trainers, microlenders and academics.

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