What’s up with that Egyptian entrepreneur program Obama talked about?

inally, during the third presidential debate, President Barack Obama talked about entrepreneurship—specifically, his administration’s efforts to educate young Egyptians in starting companies. It’s a topic we know well at the Upstart Business Journal.

In talking about how the U.S. government handled the political changes in Egypt, Obama said that among the steps the administration had done was “for example, organizing entrepreneurship conferences with these Egyptians to, to give them a sense of how they can start rebuilding their economy in a way that’s noncorrupt, that’s transparent.”

GOP nominee Mitt Romney also gave our audience a couple of shout-outs.

“We can’t expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their companies’ money and invest in America if they think we’re headed to the road to Greece,” Romney said in response to a question about the U.S. role in global affairs as he talked about the need to get a balanced federal budget.

Of the three debates, tonight’s faceoff was the best by far. Obama and Romney had a tough, spirited and genuine discussion about the big issues affecting the nation and world. And to get talk about entrepreneurs mixed in—and to have an Upstart connection to the conference Obama spoke about—was an added bonus.

That Egyptian program had a group of young and successful, and older and more successful, U.S. entrepreneurs spend a week in June 2011 in Egypt to mentor local, fledgling business owners and hear their business pitches. The program was sponsored by both the U.S. State Department and the government of Sweden, both of which had representatives take part in the economic development sessions.

Also on the trip were Scott Gerber, founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council and an Upstart contributor, and Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group and author of the Upstart column “Ask Shama.” Shama kept an online journal of her experience. Read them by clicking here and navigating through the days.

Gerber provided Upstart with video taken during the delegation’s trip. That video can be viewed below.

I have to say. It’s a real kick to hear about a story we were one of the few to cover when it happened surface during a presidential debate. And it helps validate my long-held belief that there’s real political value in talking about entrepreneurship, rather than just discussing small business.

Obama’s administration has done a lot over the last two years, in conjunction with the private sector, to boost entrepreneurship domestically and promote it internationally. But the president hasn’t talked much about this record, and that’s a mistake.

Election Day 2012 is now just two weeks away. There’s not much time left to hear either Obama or Romney really speak to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. An editor can dream.


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