REVIEW: Article

IN3 - Incubating a New Spain through the Promotion of Entrepreneurship

Helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their full potential is in the interest of anyone who wants to foster prosperity worldwide—that’s why it’s an Obama administration priority. Growth anywhere does some good everywhere, and the fact is that entrepreneurs create jobs and drive economic growth both at home and abroad. In the United States, 40 percent of our $17 trillion economy is generated by companies that did not even exist 20 years ago. Two-thirds of our 65 months of consecutive job growth is driven by small businesses. The owners of those businesses—28 million and growing—employ over half of America’s workforce.

As our missions work to expand the global economic recovery, one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal is the promotion of entrepreneurship—a quintessential American value. By deepening the connections between the entrepreneurial ecosystems of the United States and our partners overseas, we can grow our economies, create jobs, and support businesses that will have lasting impact and create prosperity. The good news is that this is easy to do, because the world is more interconnected than ever before. We benefit from unprecedented opportunities to help entrepreneurs access the capital, resources, and networks they need to succeed. We also have the strong support and leader­ship of President Obama, who is personally committed to promoting entrepreneurship worldwide. 

Spain is a country with a strong and growing entrepreneurial spirit, a plethora of talent, and solid business networks. Although it is starting to emerge from economic crisis, there is still much work to be done to ensure Spain’s continued recovery. The United States Mission is doing its part to consolidate the country’s economic progress by helping a new generation of entrepreneurs achieve their full potential, and generate jobs and eco­nomic growth. We have established a strong partnership with TeamLabs, an organization that teaches the concept of entrepreneurship and engages with thousands of high school students across all regions of Spain. We have produced animated videos for youth called You®Company which tell real life stories of Spanish and US entrepreneurs while exploring the values of motivation, innovation, corporate social responsibility, failure, and critical thinking. We have also organized an Alumni Mentoring Program that we use to link up business leaders, prominent entrepreneurs, and alumni of United States Embassy exchange programs to coach aspiring entrepreneurs and help them build their network of contacts. 

This past June, we took our entrepreneurship programs to a new level with the launch of IN3 (IN-cubed)—Innovators, Investors, and Institutions—in partnership with Google and Chamberi Valley, a Spanish entrepreneurship association. Aimed at promoting entre­preneur­ship and investment in Spain, IN3 was the first community event hosted at Campus Madrid, one of only a handful of Google spaces around the world where entrepre­neurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world.

In August 2015, the International Monetary Fund released a report stating that Spain has more obstacles to entrepreneurship than any other European country. IN3 directly addressed these challenges by bringing together Spanish and American innovators, investors, and institutions to discuss common challenges and solutions for scaling-up interna­tional companies. The event provided Spanish entrepreneurs the opportunity to hear from leading US counterparts and tech investors on how to overcome institutional and investment challenges that inhibit business growth. It also offered US entrepreneurs the chance to explore areas of potential collaboration with their Spanish counterparts and learn from their experiences expanding into other European and Latin American markets. It provided a forum where entrepreneurs and policymakers exchanged ideas on the best ways to promote the creation of new businesses and help successful companies grow. Finally, it allowed US and Spanish innovators the opportunity to discuss their experiences with senior Spanish government officials. Through these interactions, IN3 helped to equip entrepre­neurs with the tools they need to overcome the challenges of expanding their businesses—from finance, to mentorship, to regulations.

I was honored to be joined at IN3 by the Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration Maria Contreras-Sweet, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, and leaders from the Spanish government. With their support, we elevated the importance of entrepreneurship and the crucial role entrepreneurs play in driving growth and creating jobs in Spain. Our message reached an audience of 53 million people in Spain through local media exposure, another 3.25 million on Twitter, and became a top-trending topic on US social media. Not only did the conference promote entrepreneurship and bilateral investment opportunities to a diverse audience, but IN3 generated real investment and new business growth for Spanish and US firms. For example, Opinno, the consulting and events firm that produced IN3, established new ties with US design thinking firms and academic institutions and plans to partner with these organizations to propel their international expansion. Several new investments were made in small and medium-sized Spanish companies, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the Embassy continues to hear of additional business sparked by the conference. 

It doesn’t stop there. The United States Mission to Spain is planning a series of smaller IN3 events around the country, and in the United States, leading up to next year’s anniversary of IN3. As the American experience proves, entrepreneurship is a vehicle for spurring economic growth and we are committed to supporting and promoting it. 


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United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain