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The Power of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the World Bank Group

With 189 member countries, staff from more 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership. A unique partnership I was honored to be part of. There I stood in the Executive Board Room, where usually negotiation and bilateral meetings between Finance Ministers take place… and I had the opportunity as an entrepreneur to share my experiences and best practices for how we as a global community can find and create innovative tools to support the twin goals of this international organization. Ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the most sustainable way starts with empowering women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

The event kicked off a series of panels organized by the Youth2Youth Community of the World Bank Group and was a timely launch, just days after the World Bank Group president urged entrepreneurs and anyone with a passion for social impact on his LinkedIn post to, “Only by harnessing the power of the private sector in new ways can we overcome those challenges and ensure there is stability and opportunity for all.”

Fintech Entrepreneur Chris Duffus, Charlie Kiser (CEO of Griot) and Claudia Koerbler (TEDx Speaker and Communication Specialist at the United Nations) and I joined forces to educate the Youth2Youth Community about what it takes to change the narrative of international development and create social impact.

Below are the key topics I spoke about:

I often ask audiences to close their eyes and tell me what they envision when I say the word “entrepreneur.” More often than not, they see a nerdy Caucasian man in a hoodie. That may be an image the media glorifies, but that is not the true face of entrepreneurship. We, the smart people with good ideas, are.

Many people believe that they have to create a new technology to be an entrepreneur. You do not. Innovation can happen when you apply an existing technology to a new problem or niche. That is exactly what I did when I build my first company, Relieving yourself of the burden of creating new technology can open the opportunity to become an innovator. The most important phrase to remember in business is that People, Products and Customers are King.

A small adjustment to our mindset fosters innovation. Problems are opportunities in disguise. The problems we face in our jobs and personal lives, are opportunities to create solutions and bring about positive change! Fostering a culture of ideas, and idea-sharing is critical to innovation within a large organization.

In a recent study by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women entrepreneurs in emerging markets invest 90% of their income back into their families and communities, compared with 30% -40% percent for men entrepreneurs. Based on this data, if you have ideas or opportunities to help women entrepreneurs, I strongly encourage you to foster them. I believe women entrepreneurs are the solution to ending poverty and inhumanity in the world.

Claudia and I were examples of women of change on this panel. We brought not only a female but also global perspective to the table. Austrian-born global citizen Claudia will give you her recap of the event and how she defines the United Nations of I.

I loved being on this amazing panel of experts and felt honoured to have shared it with you. What really struck me was how engaging and interested the audience was. Intrapeneurship, Entrepreneurship and Meaningpreneurship are burgeoning in the world of global development in the last couple of years. You could see that youth in particular holds the power to be the change agent of tomorrow and to me this is what the United Nations of I is all about and to me this is where the beauty of global engagement lies. It is about finding this one vision for yourself that contributes to a common mission.

In my work for the United Nations, I have realized that making an impact and creating the vision of the world you want to live in really starts WITH YOU and the power of YOUTH! Millennials, now more than ever hold the untapped “killerpotential” to eradicate extreme poverty and be the SOLUTION to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and disruptive technology only supports game changers in making the world a better place. So the United Nations of I , is really finding out which of the 17 Sustainable Goals you already are contributing to and how you can enhance your talent to maximize the impact you are making. To find out how to get there, check out: 11 steps to be an effective voice of change

Regardless of where you work and what your job title is, you can and should strive to be a vehicle for change. Identify what your personal passions and skills are, and find ways to utilize them in your career. Innovation is the key to solving the problems you face within your job, and problems you are tasked to solve for the world.

To watch the World Bank Group panel, view the video below or use this link.

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