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Delegates from 20 Countries Participate in the First Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, co-organized by the OAS

  April 1, 2014

Representatives of 20 countries in the Americas are taking part beginning today in the First Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, an activity co-organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United States Government, through the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) to exchange successful and innovative experiences and good business practices among the countries of the Hemisphere.

The First Exchange will consist of visits from today until Friday, April 4, to centers of advanced technology and innovation in urban and rural areas of the states of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, as successful examples of investments and public-private partnerships, including research and development centers in the medical, agro industrial, manufacturing and automotive industries. Among the cities to be visited are Atlanta, where the first visit took place today, Greenville, Conover, Kannapolis and Charlotte. Several of the projects to be visited were presented as part of the experiences in the Signs of Competitiveness of the Americas Report of 2012 and 2013 of the RIAC, for which the OAS serves as technical secretariat. The itinerary of the visit, biography of the participants, cities, and experts of the exchange are available here.

The Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross took part in the inaugural reception for the event, as did Walter Bastian, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Tom Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration; U.S. Congressmen Filemón Vela and Beto O'Rourke; Jorge Fernández, Vice President of the Global Commerce for the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; and Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA, the U.S. government agency responsible for promoting investment in the country.

In her address, Executive Secretary Tross recalled that "innovation and entrepreneurship have the power to transform our economies and societies, opening new frontiers for growth and competitiveness, improving efficiencies and strengthening productive capacity. At the same time, innovation and entrepreneurship can be powerful tools for inclusion, opening up possibilities and opportunities for larger segments of the population."

With this intention, Tross said, in 2007 in Atlanta, the Americas Competitiveness Forum was launched, which will hold its eighth edition this year in Trinidad and Tobago, from October 8-10 under the theme "Human Imagination in Action: Promoting Competitiveness, Empowering Innovation." Out of the forum the Inter-American Competitiveness Network (RIAC) was developed, which is managed by the OAS and "has become a well-established and recognized hemispheric platform to facilitate public policy dialogue and implement valuable cooperation initiatives, which are helping countries move forward their development agendas.”

The OAS official said the Exchange for Competitiveness which launched today is part of this task of facilitating dialogue and defining public policies, because "all countries have something to offer and this kind of innovation and entrepreneurship diplomacy creates win-win solutions.” “All these experiences in the United States and the Americas, have changed paradigms and ways of doing business in our countries, transformed public-private partnerships and encouraged the creation of new businesses and entrepreneurs." “Many of the leaders shaping regional economic development and directing innovation centers in 20 countries of the Americas are part of this Exchange. This is an excellent opportunity to promote high-value regional development, building on mutually beneficial cooperation opportunities," she added.

The activity is part of the 2014 RIAC Work Plan, which aims to further develop the interchange and deepening understanding gained from more than one hundred successful experiences that Member States of the OAS have shared through the RIAC. The event is made possible by the financial support of the United States government through the Department of Commerce and Department of State and the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-124/14