Experienced Foreign Service Officer speaks on how the state department helps entrepreneurs

Jasmine Grillmeier
December 11, 2015

Randy Fleitman, director of Textile Trade in the office of the U.S. Trade Representative spoke to Ohio University students and faculty about innovation around the world on Nov. 16 in celebration of the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The event was hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between the College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Fleitman has 29 years of experience as a Foreign Service Officer and has served as Deputy Director of the Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic Affairs, where he focused on the promotion of innovation and technology transfer. Fleitman’s experiences exposed him to innovation around the world and provided him with insight into the role entrepreneurship plays in achieving a more prosperous world.

“Entrepreneurship is a spark for prosperity,” Fleitman said.

According to Fleitman, 75 percent of global economic growth since World War II has been due to innovation. In addition, intellectual property intensive industries accounted for $5 trillion in the U.S. (approximately 35 percent of U.S. gross domestic product) in 2010, as well as 40 million American jobs (approximately 28 percent of all employment). This data suggests the importance of entrepreneurship for economic growth in the U.S. and the world.

Currently, Ohio University is a leader in technology transfer of intellectual property within Ohio, as well as the United States. According to the 2013 President’s Annual Report, Ohio University ranks first in the state for licensing revenue generated from research discoveries and fourth in the U.S. for percentage return-on-investment of research expenditures.

Commercialization of intellectual property plays an important role in entrepreneurship by moving early-stage technologies developed within a university to the market. Ohio University’s excellence in this sector displays promise and provides economic growth to the region.

As mentioned by Fleitman, those interested in economics and entrepreneurship can utilize the following U.S. government, state department and non-U.S. government resources: 

U.S. Government and Department of State resources

BusinessUSA – An online platform, derived from a White House initiative, which quickly connects businesses to U.S. government information, services and assistance.

The Office of Commercial and Business Affairs – A U.S. Department of State organization that engages U.S. government resources to assist and promote U.S. business interests overseas, and ensures that private sector business concerns are fully integrated into U.S. foreign and economic policy.

The Office of Commercial and Business Affair’s Global Entrepreneurship Program – A U.S. State Department-led effort to promote and spur entrepreneurship by assembling and coordinating private sector and U.S. Government programs to support entrepreneurs around the world.

Investment Climate Statements – Annual reports released by the U.S. Department of State that provide country-specific information and assessments on investment laws and practices prepared by U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions abroad in those countries.

Non-U.S. government resources

World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report – A yearly report, published by the World Economic Forum, that ranks countries’ economies based on their “competitiveness,” defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of an economy, which in turn sets the level of prosperity that the country can achieve.

World Bank Group’s Doing Business Report Series– A series of annual reports, published by World Bank Group, that provide objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 189 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

Transparency International’s Reports – Reports (including the Corruption Perceptions Index, Global Corruption Barometer, Global Corruption Report, Bribe Payers Index, and more) published by Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption.