Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Risk takers, disruptors, change makers. Entrepreneurs can be described as many things, but in the end they are essential job creators. The United Nations has estimated that over the next decade more than 425 million new jobs will be needed to fully employ the world’s eligible workforce. Entrepreneurship is a critical driving force in generating employment opportunities as young people begin to shift their thinking from job-seeker to job-creator.

As the UN and citizens from around the world begin the task of tackling how to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals, one thing is clear – it will take all of us to ensure we meet this ambitious agenda. Entrepreneurship and creative, out-of-the-box thinking have the potential to propel progress on our biggest challenges, and it was with this thought in mind that the United Nations Foundation created the Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC) in 2011. 

The GEC brings together successful, high-profile entrepreneurs and thought leaders to help the UN and the UN Foundation catalyze entrepreneurial solutions to global problems, reach new audiences, and enhance public-private partnerships. Over the past five years, council members have focused their work with the UN Foundation on issues such as women and girls’ empowerment, supporting refugees, bringing citizen voices to the UN at scale, and broadening partnership opportunities with the UN.

Now in its third iteration, the 2016-2017 GEC is our most global and most diverse by industry. Joining the new Chair of the GEC, Ashish J. Thakkar, Executive Chairman of Mara Sokoni and Founder of the Mara Foundation, members include:

  • Ohood Khalfan Al-Roumi – Director General and Minister of Happiness, Prime Minister’s Office, United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Georgie Benardete – Co-Founder and Head of Strategy, Orchard Mile (USA)
  • Kat Cole – Group President of FOCUS Brands (USA)
  • James Irungu Mwangi – Executive Director, Dalberg Group (Kenya)
  • Alberto Chang-Rajii – President and Founder, Grupo Arcano (Chile)
  • Anna Ryott – Managing Director and CEO, Swedfund (Sweden)
  • Davis Smith – Founder and CEO, Cotopaxi (USA)
  • Preity Zinta – Actress, Founder of PZNZ Media and Co-Owner of Kings XI Punjab (India)

Next week, we will meet with the GEC members, and we want to hear from you about what we should discuss. What questions would you like to pose to our newest members? What issues would you like to see them tackle? Ask your questions on Twitter using #UNFGEC and we’ll answer as many as possible!