UN agenda may support entrepreneurs

As the world prepares to create 600 million new jobs by a deadline of 2020, Dell entrepreneur in residence Elizabeth Gore is trying to put entrepreneur support on the UN’s official agenda for the next 15 years.

She says almost all of those new jobs will be generated by entrepreneurs instead of existing corporations or government agencies. In fact, 70% of job creation in the U.S. comes from entrepreneurs and new businesses, and 90% of new jobs come from the same source globally, according to Gore, who also chairs the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council.

But Gore says necessary resources are lacking to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and add jobs. “We looked at the fact that there was really no global roadmap for policy makers on entrepreneurship,” she says. “What do they need to scale?” So Gore helped develop the Entrepreneurs UNite initiative with Dell and the UN Foundation to generate buzz around the idea of fostering entrepreneurship and getting it on the global agenda.

Her efforts have started to pay off. The UN has added entrepreneur support to its Sustainable Development Goals agenda for September in the form of SDG8. The General Assembly will vote on Sept. 25 whether to include SDG8 and 16 other goal proposals in its next round of SDGs, which are updated every 15 years. Nancy Pelosi, Aaron Levie, and Sean Parker are among those supporting Sustainable Development Goal 8 to foster entrepreneurial growth worldwide.

Since the UN acts as a global recommendation for countries on which laws and initiatives to pass, Gore hopes SDG8 makes supporting entrepreneurs a global initiative. And executive supporters of the goal include entrepreneurs like Aaron Levie, Sean Parker, Alison Pincus, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, Ted Turner, and more.

Through her work liaising with entrepreneurs and organizations like the UN and now Dell, Gore says she noticed overregulation and ambivalence were common problems hindering new business owners. They’d either rub against restrictive policies and fail, or they’d experience total lack of support from their communities. Furthermore, conversations about entrepreneurs’ needs tend to erupt only in emergency situations.

“There is an intimidation or even a lack of understanding of how to engage with policymakers, how to communicate which policies and laws are a positive-negative, until there’s something bad happening. You’re bumping up against something, and your business is not going to scale because of it. There are extreme examples like an Uber or a Lyft, but there are examples every single day of entrepreneurs all over the world who are having trouble here,” Gore says.

Companies like Uber and Lyft have long been at the forefront of policy fights for their businesses, hiring policy heads to liaise with government agencies. Airbnb made headlines this week for hiring its first policy head, Chris Lehane, a former Clinton aide.

Gore wants to create ecosystems that foster entrepreneurial growth everywhere and says that if passed, SDG8 will challenge governments at all levels to push for new business with federal appropriations, tax incentives, immigration suggestions, and more. So far, the Entrepreneurs UNite campaign has reached about 74 million people through social media and garnered 27,000 signatures for its petition.

“This is something that we think is critical, and it’s going to be the first roadmap that will help entrepreneurs scale,” Gore says. “We are very happy that we have a White House here that really understands us and is going to support it. But this is a global policy, so we need as many folks from as many countries to be looking at it.”