Since it was launched in 2008 by the Kauffman Foundation and Enterprise UK, more than 18,000 partner organizations joined the global movement to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs. In its still short life, GEW has established a solid and ongoing presence in more than 100 countries — and counting. During the same time period, over 10 million people around the world have participated in GEW activities and 2010 promises to boost that total to tap even more human capital and breathe life into new startups.
While the majority of nations this year will start Global Entrepreneurship Week on November 15th, some countries are conducting their celebrations a week or more in advance due to an important Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha, falling on November 16th. For example:
- The Young Arab Leaders’ (YAL) Regional Entrepreneurship Summit under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is a Summit of 400 leaders from private industry, government, academia and non-governmental organizations that generates new ideas, partnerships and business opportunities around the theme of “Bridging the Divide: Entrepreneurship for the Arab Future.” Aspiring young entrepreneurs from throughout the Arab world get access to role models, mentors, partners and venture capitalists.
- The Legatum Institute and the Dubai School of Government are hosting the second annual Best Practices in Entrepreneurship Policy (BPEP) conference in Dubai. The purpose of BPEP is to help identify and create a policy environment that facilitates the launch and success of startup companies. Conference roundtables include country-specific and issue-specific groups of practitioners and scholars. The countries covered during the conference are Saudi Arabia, Syria and UAE, with follow-up meetings in these and other countries during the forthcoming year.
- Wamda’s Celebration of Entrepreneurship (CoE) in Dubai. Today and tomorrow, Wamda, a platform created by Abraaj Capital and its subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), will facilitate entrepreneurship in the MENASA (Middle East North Africa & South Asia) region. CoE will include training workshops, inspirational talks and one-to-one meetings with some of the most powerful mentors in the region, all delivered in a highly-charged environment designed to produce tangible results. The event is being streamed live today on wamda.com.
- The Tour of the Entrepreneurship Flame: Under the high patronage of His Excellency the President of the Republic Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Center of Youth Entrepreneurs (CJE) of the Arab Institute of Business Leaders (IACE) celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Tunisia during the week of November 7th to 14th, 2010. As part of this national event, the Arab Institute of Business Leaders (IACE) has prepared a rich program in which the tour of entrepreneurship flame is one of the most important events. The entrepreneurship flame tour will run from the north to the south throughout the week with an official departure in the presence of the Prime Minister today Monday, November 8th and returning Saturday, November 13th. In each region, the flame will be carried by personalities who have a symbolic significance to entrepreneurship and will visit the main activities hosted by GEW/Tunisia’s partners around the their country.
- On November 11th, Malaysia’s MAD TechVentures Conference will feature startups under different categories, demo-ing their products in hopes to receive venture capital or angel investor attention, publicity and awards. MAD Incubator hopes that MAD TechVentures will be a premier platform to cultivate new ideas, promote innovation, identify new promising startups, create new technopreneurs and subsequently create world-class startups. The conference will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
- Nov. 11-13: Jordan’s Ideas Festival which I will attend is an innovation campaign that targets university students and young professionals with a raw idea under six themes: Business, Science and Technology, Social Development, Environment, Design and Random. The Ideas Festival event will exhibit their ideas to the visitors of the event. Awards include money to develop their ideas and mentorship opportunities with theme specific professionals.
- In Egypt, this week, the Middle East Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (MCSBE) is facilitating the Weeks’ activities with the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Modernization Center (IMC), the Egyptian Junior Business Association (EJB), the Social Fund for Development (SFD) together with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the Ministry of Investment’s GAFI. Additionally, a wide range of International Organizations, NGOs and private sector partners are engaged in the Week’s activities as highlighted in the next section bringing together a broad spectrum of services and support for potential entrepreneurs.
Overall, GEW will offer to the world 40,000 events and activities designed to help its participants develop the knowledge, skills and networks to start and grow innovative enterprises. Here’s a (by no means comprehensive) sample of some major global happenings for GEW:
- The Global Cleantech Open Ideas Competition will have participation from 22 countries.
- The Regus Speednetwork the Globe—which will reach more than 50 countries with speednetworking events designed to connect aspiring entrepreneurs with potential collaborators and investors.
- Startup Weekend sessions in 24 cities around the world will gather startup enthusiasts for intense 54-hour events designed to unleash ideas and launch new ventures.
- Global Student Entrepreneur Awards where 30 “dorm room entrepreneurs” from across the globe compete at the Kauffman Foundation for $150,000 in cash and support services.
- 24 finalists for Your Big Year will compete in a series of challenges during Global Entrepreneurship Week for the grand prize of a one year, all-expenses-paid trip around the world.
- Startup Open, a competition in the US to uncover the ‘GEW 50’—the most promising entrepreneurs who launched their startups during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
- Global Innovation Game – a new Facebook game that is a competition of ideas and strategy – connecting GEW participants from around the world, encouraging them to collaborate, share, mentor, and compete with one another.
- EO24 ‘Creating an Entrepreneurial Wave Across the Globe’ with events over a 24-hour period designed to positively impact the entire entrepreneurial continuum
- The Creativity World Forum, bringing together the world’s most respected thinkers on creativity and others from 12 ‘creative districts’ around the world to better understand the creative process and how leveraging that insight can unlock new solutions and push innovation into the marketplace.
- In Israel, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu will award the new “Prime Minister’s Prize for Initiatives and Innovations” during GEW / Israel in order to encourage innovational thinking, imagination and creativity.
- In Netherlands, Meet the Dragons puts aspiring entrepreneurs in front of potential investors
- In France, La Fete de l’Entrepreneur celebrations in French universities and business schools throughout that nation on the opening day of GEW
- More than 1,000 Russian entrepreneurs are visiting schools and addressing student groups throughout the Week
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Bicentennial Year inChile – held outside of the Plaza de La Constitucion – brings national and international authorities, leaders, entrepreneurs, businessmen, civil society, academics and students together to discuss the creation of innovative social programs and accelerate the inclusion of business, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in developing humanitarian solutions with sustainable business models.
- The Great Canadian Mentoring Challenge collects thousands of pieces of advice and tips from entrepreneurs across Canada via the web and Twitter.
- In Italy, David Thorne, U.S. Ambassador to Italy; Mario Moretti Polegato, founder and chairman of Geox; and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn discuss the positive side of failure.
- The Global Enterprise Experience (GLEE), a partnership between GEW host organizations in Singapore, Germany and China, offers aspiring young entrepreneurs the chance to solve real-life business challenges for cash prizes and internship opportunities.
- GEW in Ghana, plays host to policymakers, movers and shakers of the private sector, academia, the civil society and international development agencies in Ghana for the M’asem Presidential National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship.
For more information on a wide range of other activities and events in more than 100 countries, get updates from the global GEW website where you can sign up for a daily newsletter or also stay tuned to my reports from the countries I will be visiting in the next few days.
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Jonathan Ortmans is president of the Public Forum Institute, a non-partisan organization dedicated to fostering dialogue on important policy issues. In this capacity, he leads the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, focused on public policies to promote entrepreneurship in the U.S. and around the world. In addition, he serves as a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation.