In the early 1960s, a distinguished group of entrepreneurs, business leaders, and philanthropists, among them David Rockefeller, Sol Linowitz, and Frank Pace, saw the potential for American business leaders to provide technical and managerial advice to businesses in developing countries.
In June 1964, President Lyndon Johnson announced the creation of IESC in the White House Rose Garden.
“The preservation of the free world may well depend on our success in seeing economic development succeed,” the president said.
As an all-volunteer corps armed with experience, skills, and know-how in their toolbox for diplomacy, IESC complemented the efforts of USAID and the Peace Corps, both founded just three years earlier.
In 2014, we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We made this video to commemorate a half century of improving lives through private enterprise development.
IESC has changed a lot since that day in the Rose Garden. But some things haven’t changed. We are still dedicated to private sector solutions to reduce poverty around the globe. And we still focus on small and medium enterprises—the engines of innovation and jobs and strong community partners.
Over our long history and in 137 countries, we have adapted to shifting global dynamics and the often challenging environments in which we operate.
- In the 1970s, we strengthened young businesses during the “East Asian miracle”.
- In the 1980s, we broadened private sector participation in Latin America.
- In the 1990s, we helped to bridge a free-market transition in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
- In the 2000s, we supported Africa’s rapid growth and helped Afghanistan rebuild after decades of conflict.