Ambassador Wayne’s Opening Remarks at MUSEIC

It is a great pleasure to be here in Monterrey at the third MUSEIC Council Meeting. Having worked on MUSEIC since its inception in May of 2013, I’m particularly pleased to participate in this meeting alongside Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM) President Enrique Jacob Rocha and Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores Under Secretary Sergio Alcocer, as well as all of the MUSEIC council members and subcommittee co-chairs.  Thank you for your on-going support and efforts to advance entrepreneurship and innovation between our two countries.

Two weeks ago I traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the High Level Economic Dialogue and meetings between our two presidents.  During the discussions between President Peña Nieto and President Obama, as well as conversations between Vice President Biden, Secretary Videgaray, and their cabinet members, the topic of supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in our two countries was raised more than once.  It is clear to me that MUSEIC continues to be the vehicle to deliver precisely what our Presidents seek: greater collaboration on entrepreneurship and innovation between government, academia, financiers, incubators, entrepreneurs and innovators to enhance North American competitiveness.

I am happy to announce that the U.S. government through USAID has agreed to provide funding to GreenMomentum to support MUSEIC activities.  The idea of this small grant is to provide some administrative support for MUSEIC specifically by providing useful  information and services to MUSEIC members and INADEM and helping us find a path forward to create a sustainable mechanism that can continue after USAID support ends.  This grant came about as the result of the discussions during the previous council meeting that identified the need for additional coordination and technical support for the work of the subcommittees.  We will discuss the details of the grant further during the upcoming working sessions.

MUSEIC has made significant strides in advancing our shared entrepreneurship agenda during its short existence.  The seven MUSEIC subcommittees have led the implementation of a series of impressive projects and initiatives. Some examples include: 1) the launch of the Innovation Corps project that will link academic researchers with entrepreneurs and bridge the gap between the laboratory and marketplace; 2) strengthening the connection between the United States and Mexico as part of the Small Business Network of the Americas; 3) expanding training of young entrepreneurs around the country; and 4) organizing an intelligent manufacturing conference where? last November.

Congratulations are certainly in order for the impressive accomplishments of those in this room.  I realize that many, if not most, of you volunteer your time to this cause.  This speaks to just how impressive the accomplishments to date of MUSEIC are.  However, in addition to taking stock of past and future projects, we should take this opportunity discuss our vision for MUSEIC’s future.  MUSEIC’s current structure consists of the council that oversees the activities of the seven subcommittees in Legal Framework Supporting Innovative Entrepreneurship; Women’s Entrepreneurship; Participation and Collaboration of the Latin Diaspora; Promotion and Integration of the Support Infrastructure for Small and Medium Enterprises; Access to Capital, Technology Commercialization; and Innovative Clusters.  Some questions before us include whether we should add an additional subcommittee on energy given the historic changes that are taking place in the energy markets in North America.

Additionally, we need to have a conversation about whether institutional changes are required to sustain MUSEIC in the coming years.  Should the council be an independent institution presumably with greater resources and staff?  Should we continue with the council’s existing structure with added administrative support to make it more efficient? What should the Council’s role be in the future?

These are significant questions and we have limited time to address them.  Therefore, I hope that the upcoming sessions provide a rich dialogue amongst us about how MUSEIC can continue to evolve and add to our already significant economic relationship and I look forward to working through these issues this morning.

I would like to close by reminding everyone about the importance our political leaders place on the work of this council and thank all of you on their behalf once again for your sustained efforts.