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Silicon Valley's Solution to Spain's Unemployment Problem

Salim Ismail speaks in Hamburg on May 28, 2013
Salim Ismail speaks in Hamburg on May 28, 2013Photograph by Sven Hoppe/AP Photo

Even though Spain’s two-year recession ended in the third quarter, about 27 percent of its workforce is unemployed. The best way to tackle the problem? Encourage and train the country’s best and brightest to launch ambitious tech startups. The ventures that succeed will eventually hire lots of Spaniards and teach them skills the euro area’s fourth-largest economy needs to bounce back and get ahead.

That’s the message from Salim Ismail, a serial entrepreneur and the global ambassador of Silicon Valley’s Singularity University. Ismail, whose last company was sold to Google in 2010, this week visited Madrid and Barcelona to promote the school and encourage Spanish brainiacs to apply to Call to Innovation, a competition for Spanish citizens that will award two scholarships worth $30,000 each to attend Singularity’s 10-week program this summer at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.