Mike Pompeo speaking at lectern with GES logo in background © Phil Nijhuis/AP Images)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the ninth Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague, Netherlands on June 3 (© Phil Nijhuis/AP Images)

Take a risk, says the U.S. secretary of state.

“The progress of nations is driven by those who are willing to take a big risk, to put their own capital out there, to fail sometimes and then fail again until one day success follows you,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told 2,000 entrepreneurs, innovators, and business leaders at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in The Hague.

GES advances global entrepreneurship and is the world’s premier event of its kind.

In opening remarks to this year’s event, themed “The Future Now,” Pompeo, a co-host along with Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, praised the role of innovators in advancing free and open societies.

Property protections, rule of law, and a business environment that rewards risk-taking are vital building blocks for entrepreneurship, Pompeo said.

Investment-ready entrepreneurs at GES will get a chance to promote their startups to over 300 global investors — including Japan’s SoftBank and Bank of America — and to network and share ideas with one another. Business executives and government ministers will discuss strategies to spur innovation across five focus sectors: agriculture, connectivity, energy, health, and water.

On June 4 and 5, Global Innovation through Science and Technology, a U.S. Department of State initiative known as GIST, will pit 30 entrepreneurs against one another in a pitch competition to win $650,000 worth of startup support.

U.S. officials joining Pompeo include representatives of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Transportation, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

On the Dutch side, Rutte is joined by Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Foreign Minister Stef Blok, and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag.

Pompeo, who travels to the United Kingdom June 3 to join President Trump, lamented the brevity of his stay in the Netherlands and affirmed the strong ties between that country and the U.S. “Our two countries share an abiding belief in this very power of entrepreneurship. It is the Dutch, after all, that brought the spirit of entrepreneurship to the Americas.”