THE HAGUE, Netherlands–Proactively promoting entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic freedom continues to be a critical pillar of U.S. engagement with the world.

One sign of this is the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which the United States co-hosts this week with the Netherlands. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte opened the 2019 summit Monday at The Hague.

“[T]hroughout the free world, 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,” Pompeo said.

The annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit is a U.S.-initiated gathering of start-up and scale-up entrepreneurs, together with business leaders, investors, academics, and policy makers.

For this ninth annual summit, the organizers have focused on showcasing entrepreneurs and investors from around the world who are creating new opportunities for investment, partnership, and collaboration while connecting American entrepreneurs and investors with international counterparts to form lasting relationships.

The summit also highlights entrepreneurship as a practical means to address some of the world’s most intractable challenges.

Both Pompeo and Rutte underlined the importance of innovative entrepreneurship to improving the lives of people all over the world.

Elaborating the principles that foster entrepreneurship and why government needs to get out of the way so that entrepreneurs can be truly empowered to pursue greater innovation, Pompeo said:

We’ve got more than 1,000 of the most promising entrepreneurs from 140 different countries who have joined us at this summit. You are, indeed, living proof–living proof of markets, of how innovation is driven by competition and not by government diktats. Yeah, government leaders can … bring values to entrepreneurs if, and only if, we are capable of creating a necessary environment … in which you can thrive.

The Dutch prime minister also emphasized that strong societies are built on entrepreneurship and the principles of free trade. Rutte pointed out that “entrepreneurship and the rule of law feed into one other,” while “fair competition and the protection of intellectual property benefit us all.”

Indeed, as The Heritage Foundation’s annual, data-driven Index of Economic Freedom has shown over the past 25 years, nations with higher degrees of market openness and regulatory efficiency, sustained by the rule of law and limited government, thrive measurably more because they capitalize more fully on the ability of individuals to innovate and prosper.

Free-market capitalism facilitates and amplifies a dynamic entrepreneurial environment that maximizes the choices available for work, investment, production, and consumption.

Freedom itself is an important value, and economic freedom has proven to be a vital engine for generating the wealth that makes possible the wide range of important economic and social achievements.

As the Index of Economic Freedom has shown since 1995, economic freedom that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation has enabled countries to grow, develop, and prosper.

Since 1995, the Index of Economic Freedom has charted how economic freedom that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation enables countries to grow, develop, and prosper.

No other systems—not socialism and not communism—have come close in providing broad-based prosperity. It is free-market capitalism that has allowed entrepreneurial capacity to flourish and prosperity to thrive.

Let’s not forget about that fact. As Pompeo summed up in his speech at the summit’s opening: “Let’s everywhere in the world make entrepreneurship great.”

We do that by advancing economic freedom.