MANAMA, 3 November – Experts and entrepreneurs from over 90 countries gathered at the World Entrepreneurs Investment Forum (WEIF) 2017 in Bahrain this week. The Forum focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through promoting entrepreneurship and innovation; it was organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) in Bahrain under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of Bahrain.
The Forum concluded with the strongest support for entrepreneurship and innovation as drivers of job creation, economic growth, and the realization of social gains. The international community was urged to incorporate entrepreneurship and innovation in all economic and social dimensions as key strategies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially at a national level.
The key role that entrepreneurs can play in bringing more jobs and prosperity to the Belt and Road Initiative - the modern-day successor to the ancient trade routes linking Europe and Asia - was also highlighted during the Forum, as well as the importance of global impact investment.
“Women in Industry” was another key theme of the Forum; over 60 per cent of participants were women, this further highlighted the importance of the role of women in entrepreneurship for development. “We are united in our belief that the empowerment of women at all economic levels is crucial in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through innovation and entrepreneurship;” read the Forum’s outcome declaration.
Entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur bılateral meetıngs were also a core component of the Forum programme. The importance of “strong partnerships between entrepreneurs, women and men alike, to share best practices in line with linking financial to non-financial services towards the development of entrepreneurs and MSMEs;” was also highlighted in the outcome declaration.
Finally, the Forum called upon governments, the private sector, academia, civil society, media, and international organizations to facilitate the promotion of entrepreneurs and innovative enterprises by developing economic infrastructure and incubation management systems to ensure inclusive and sustainable development.
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Please find the Joint Declaration here.
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Investment and Promotion Division, UNIDO, Bahrain