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Sherrell Dorsey headshot

Michael Dell, U.N. Join Forces to Advance Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries

By Sherrell Dorsey

More risk taking, more startup culture, and more genius ideas turned into jobs that solve the perils of global poverty. These are the goals behind a newly minted partnership between Michael Dell and the United Nations to spur innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in the least likely of environments.

Dell will serve as the foundation’s Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship. In this role, he will lead a strategic plan that will focus on four key areas: access to capital, to markets, to talent, and to technology. In short, Dell’s mission boils down to creating Silicon Valley-esque climates in countries and cities that have yet to adopt entrepreneurial cultures but are fertile for growth and opportunity.

At the age of 19, the American businessman turned $1,000 into a venture that to date employs over 100,000 people. As a global entrepreneurship advocate, Dell offers a credible voice for small business ventures that wouldn’t normally have access to a global platform in front of experts, governments and policymakers.

"At this time of economic uncertainty and global challenges, it's more important than ever that the business community work closely with organizations, elected leaders and policymakers to help our global economy grow and prosper," said Michael Dell in a press statement. “I’m honored to accept this position and look forward to championing the growth of entrepreneurs globally.”

Entrepreneurship has always served as a critical function for job creation and prosperity—not government and big business. In fact, in the U.S. alone, small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs. Pair this statistic with the rise in social impact-based entrepreneurship and we have a recipe for not only job creation, but also for risk-taking entrepreneurs who are betting the advancement of entire social structures on models that produce profits while simultaneously solving major challenges.

Dell’s goals, and the U.N.’s for that matter, aren’t entirely revolutionary—they’re advancing a conversation that has been in effect for quite sometime.

Take for instance Kiva, the world’s very first micro-lending platform that in 2005 leveraged online technology with micro-finance institutions to provide crowdsourced loans to small-scale entrepreneurs with the goal of alleviating poverty.

Similarly, Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, since 1980 has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.

Defining leadership within the context of the Dell/U.N. partnership will solely rest in their ability to connect to the forward-thinking programming and solutions defined by organizations putting their values into practice, while simultaneously raising the level of consciousness across global governments to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurial advancement and development. We have no doubt that both parties are up to the task.

“Michael has been a risk taker and change maker from the day he built a global company from his college dorm room. Now his company Dell Inc. affects lives of people around the world. We know Michael will bring this same drive and passion to his new role for the U.N. Foundation. He will work to maximize the power of entrepreneurship by helping people support international development and global priorities for growth, prosperity and peace,” said Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the U.N. Foundation.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sherrell Dorsey headshot

Sherrell Dorsey is a social impact storyteller, social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social and economic equity in underserved communities. Sherrell speaks and writes frequently on the topics of sustainability, technology, and digital inclusion.

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