President, Global Entrepreneurship Networkheadshot_JO
Co-chair, Spark Global Entrepreneurship
President, The Public Forum Institute
Senior Fellow, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Jonathan Ortmans serves as president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), a year-round platform of global programs and initiatives created by the communities that celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week each November. Aimed at creating one global entrepreneurial ecosystem, GEN helps people in 160 countries unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world. Programs and support organizations include:

  • Global Entrepreneurship Week – 30,000 events, 160 countries, 1 week each November.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Congress  – an annual gathering of thousands of delegates looking to build and strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Startup Nations – a collection of startup savvy policymakers and startup community supporters exploring different regulatory changes and other policy ideas to help accelerate new firm formation.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Research Network – a working coalition of institutions dedicated to advancing research in the field.
  • Global Business Angels Network – a global community of angel groups and networks bringing greater public awareness and engagement to the role that business angels play in helping new firms start and scale.

Ortmans was tapped by U.S. President Barack Obama to chair the SPARK Global Entrepreneurship initiative that has helped generate more than $1 billion in private investment for emerging entrepreneurs around the world.

He is a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and serves on the boards of several non-profits including the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow.

Trained as an economist, with two startups and exits under his belt, Ortmans blogs weekly on high-growth entrepreneurship at and has emerged as a chief global strategist in building startup ecosystems around the world. Ortmans lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three young children.


Jonathan Ortmans has dedicated his professional career to stimulating informed dialogue and deliberation around the issues that matter most–at local, national and global levels.

Most recently, he has focused on developing a global engagement project called Global Entrepreneurship Week on behalf of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he has worked to align 140 countries to inspire, connect, mentor and engage the next generation of entrepreneurs. In doing so, he has helped assemble an informal coalition of roughly 8,000 organizations dedicated to stimulating entrepreneurial activity. Each November, millions of people participate in 20,000 activities.

It is in his capacity as president of Global Entrepreneurship Week that Ortmans serves as the chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, an annual gathering of startup champions dedicated to building entrepreneurial ecosystems in communities and countries around the world. The GEC originated in Kansas City at the Kauffman Foundation and has since been hosted in Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool and Rio de Janeiro. Speakers have included famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Marc Ecko as well as startup champions like Brad Feld of TechStars and Dave McClure of 500 Startups mixing with government leaders like Alexei Komissarov. Komissarov is a former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year who is now leading Moscow’s drive toward entrepreneurial growth. Moscow will host the next Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

Ortmans brings a wealth of experience to the field, serving as a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation where he advises the Foundation on its global footprint and its interface with policymakers through the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship, a public policy initiative to focus attention on the importance of entrepreneurship to the economy and society. Based in Washington, DC, Ortmans also serves as an interface between new research and initiatives to advance entrepreneurship at the Foundation and the questions and concerns that arise from policymakers in the nation’s capital.

In addition to his work in the field of entrepreneurship, Ortmans also serves as president of the Public Forum Institute where he has more than 20 years experience in engaging citizens, experts, community leaders, and elected officials in substantive discussions. These discussions counter the growing trend toward sound bite education by helping citizens develop a deeper understanding of the issues facing their communities and their nation. In this role, Ortmans has created a number of national initiatives with government agencies, corporations, foundations and other entities which have engaged millions of citizens at public forums in all fifty states. For example, since 1992 he has chaired and facilitated more than 300 public forums on health care policy issues throughout the United States including Americans Discuss Health—roughly 125 congressionally-chaired forums—and the Citizens Health Care Working Group which convened forums enabling real public input into policy currently being debated in the 111th Congress. With the Genetics & Public Policy Center of Johns Hopkins University, Ortmans has facilitated two national series of interactive town halls on advances in and the use of reproductive genetic testing and in 2007 that explored public perceptions of the feasibility of national a human bio-bank.

Ortmans has a background as an entrepreneur –being part of his first startup team at the age of 19 in his native United Kingdom and starting PFI at 34 after a career on Capitol Hill working for the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee focusing on trade policy. He blogs regularly for the Policy Dialogue on Entrepreneurship as well as Global Entrepreneurship Week. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect with him via LinkedIn or Facebook.