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CR May-June 2013

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The BCLC Report Diplomatic Entrepreneur Why startups are America's new embassies. By Richard Crespin "Even if you don't buy that global development is a good idea, even if you don't buy that we need to create new markets for our goods, you should buy that when we go into developing countries we're creating communities around the world that are modeled around American principles of free enterprise, an American sense of decency, an American appreciation for doing well while doing good." That's what the Kauffman Foundation's Jon Ortmunder told me when I asked him why Americans should support international development. Through innovative public private partnerships and government support for entrepreneurialism, he continued, "we're now coming in with a lower start-up guys and entrepreneurs. These guys are a lot more flexible, lower-profile, lower-overhead. They move quickly, and they immerse themselves in the locale to figure out how to solve a problem." There was more. "We're now coming in without the cowboy hats . . . with experimentation, teamwork, collaboration. And when we come in as entrepreneurs and start-ups, backed by the U.S. government and its international development programs, but without an explicit goal of [26] CR MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2013 creating democracy, we're nonetheless actually exporting the American way of doing things, and that creates the infrastructure in the society that supports it. Not through some developed national strategy, but organically by a melting pot of people going in and just immersing themselves in the problems of the nations they're working in." Ortmunder and I were participating, along with about 150 of our closest friends, in what I'm sure was an unprecedented program: "UnReasonable@State." Together with the UnReasonable Institute, Semester-At-Sea, and the Stanford, the Global Partnership Initiative at the U.S. State Department hosted about a dozen entrepreneurs as they pitched their for-profit innovations for solving some of the developing world's most intractable problems. Want to cook dinner for your family in a developing country? Not without literally burning through much of your household budget and putting lives at risk. Most of the world's poor cook their daily meals on cook-stoves inside their homes. These stoves use "dirty fuels"—like charcoal or animal dung—throwing off clouds of smoke that lead to lung cancer and all kinds of other health problems. Moreover, the

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