The Dominican Republic launched Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) activities last Monday, to coincide with the country's National Entrepreneurship Day (Nov 12th), with a major policy coordination milestone.
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MICM) held the first National Congress of Public Policies for Entrepreneurship during Nov 12-13, 2019 in Santo Domingo. Organized in two tracks, the Congress offered a series of workshops for policy advisors and program managers from more than 35 different state institutions, while Cabinet-level authorities gathered in parallel to discuss a declaration of commitment to strengthen the Dominican entrepreneurship ecosystem in a high-level Ministerial Roundtable.
In his welcome address to those at the Ministerial Roundtable, the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Nelson Toca Simó, stated that the gathering responds to a mandate provided by the 2016 Law on Entrepreneurship. "This activity reaffirms the importance of the role of government in catalyzing entrepreneurship as a path to economic development" the Minister stated.
Authorities who participated along Minister Simó included:
- Janet Camilo, Minister of Women's Affairs
- Zoraima Puello, Deputy Minister of the Presidency
- Luisa Fernández Durán, Executive Director of the National Council of Export Free Zones;
- Ignacio Méndez, Vice Minister for the Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
- Jose Checo, Director for Entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs
- Rienzi Manfredo Pared Pérez, Deputy Administrator of Subsidiary Companies of the Reserve Bank
- Marius De León, Executive Director of the Export and Investment Center
Other institutions involved in the discussions were the Agricultural Bank, the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development, the Export Bank, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the Center for Export and Investment, the Directorate General for Multilateral Cooperation, General Directorate of Internal Taxes, and the Ministry of Public Health.
Vice Minister Ignacio Méndez conveyed that with the signing of the joint declaration, the technical staff at the different institutions could take firmer steps in favor of public policies for entrepreneurship. “Today we take the first step of another road full of challenges that will test our vision and our ability to work together towards a common goal”, he stressed.
I was given the opportunity to present to the authorities the 2019 Index of Dynamic Entrepreneurship results for the Dominican Republic, showing the country's evolution across the 10 different dimensions of the Index since 2014. The data showed clearly that without the involvement of government offices beyond the Vice Ministry for the Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and its Directorate for Entrepreneurship, the country would struggle to improve several conditions necessary for dynamic entrepreneurship to flourish, such as the need to improve access to entrepreneurial skill training in schools.
Among the core initiatives in the joint declaration are the insertion of entrepreneurial education at all educational levels, and allocating resources to developing new programs to address barriers, such as financial instruments to support entrepreneurial development.
The signatory institutions made the commitment to establish concrete strategies to overcome these challenges and to evaluate national progress on the manifesto's goals by 2021.