Could stimulating economic opportunities and entrepreneurship be the key to curing global unrest? Steven Koltai believes so, and he has outlined exactly how in his 2016 book “Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development.

A Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution and the Managing Director of Koltai & Co. LLC, an organization devoted to helping entrepreneurs, Koltai will visit Unity College on Tuesday, March 12, to discuss entrepreneurship and sustainable development as part of the College’s Lapping Lecture guest speaking series.

“To say that I’m looking forward to hosting Mr. Koltai here at Unity College would be a massive understatement,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “As we continue into the environmental century, it is increasingly important for all of us to look at entrepreneurship through the lens of sustainability. Mr. Koltai has a wealth of experience and knowledge in business and politics, which are key aspects in our curriculum to develop the environmental stewards of tomorrow. I can’t wait for our students, faculty, and staff to hear some of Mr. Koltai’s thoughts and ideas.”

For the past decade, Koltai has been encouraging entrepreneurship in tough spots – developing countries around the world and by extension, rural areas in the US far away from traditional startup hubs. In “Peace Through Entrepreneurship,” Koltai writes about both the value of nontraditional startups, including “no tech and low tech” businesses, as well as the myriad benefits of entrepreneurship for commercializing innovation, bringing people together, creating opportunities for those not born to privilege, and especially, solving some of the world’s most important problems.

“All of this drives toward understanding and exploiting entrepreneurial possibilities for projects that heal the planet while at the same time, creating sustainable businesses,” said Koltai. “In my Lapping Lecture, I’m going to not only talk about these macro themes, but also describe many real-life businesses in Maine, the US, and the developing world, that are all examples of the endless opportunities for creating sustainable startups.”

Koltai has more than 30 years of business experience, bringing success to many startups in his career including SES, the world’s largest commercial TV satellite system, and Events411, an online event management business he founded and sold in 2002. He has served as Senior Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development at Warner Bros., as a strategic planning consultant at McKinsey & Co., and as an investment banker at Salomon Bros. Koltai continues to be an active angel investor and mentor to entrepreneurs around the world, and he speaks regularly about using entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool.  

The Lapping Lecture occurs once every spring semester as a way to engage students, faculty, and staff with thought-provoking ideas and opportunities for action. Koltai will present from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, March 12, in Higgins Wing 212 at Unity College, and the Lapping Lecture will be held from 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at the Unity College Center for the Arts.