The 'Global' in Global Entrepreneurship Week
Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute
In two weeks, Global
Entrepreneurship Week kicks off with more than 40,000 events spread out over
a seven day period in 123 countries. At competitions like Startup Open for the
most promising new startups in 60 countries, to tournaments for cleantech ideas,
at stadiums where entrepreneurship will meet music and sports, from heads of
state to high school competitions, Global Entrepreneurship Week has become a
movement for the next generation of startups and entrepreneurs inspired by the
possibility of human endeavor for the benefit of all.
Why do nearly 10 million people across the globe turn up at these events with
millions more engaging on-line?
From a practical perspective for the curious individual, Global
Entrepreneurship Week offers a chance to look inside ourselves and “try it out”
risk-free. While some activities may have more drama and fun than others, the
most you can lose is a little of your time. It offers citizens across the globe
a chance to learn that new firm formation is a team sport enabled by informal
networking--and provides them with an opportunity to meet potential
collaborators, mentors and even investors. It offers us the chance to explore
whether at some point in our career, we too might give birth to an idea and
perhaps even make a job for someone else. It gives everyone a glimpse of
themselves controlling their destiny and being a little closer to achieving that
common human desire to do well and good in the world.
Another vital reason Global Entrepreneurship Week is so widespread has been
the encouragement from so many of each nation’s respected governmental, cultural
and educational institutions. Some new countries to GEW this year, like
Ethiopia, have already joined the ranks of the nations with their Head of State
at the pulpit. These leaders see that not only are young firms the source of
most new jobs, they also keep older firms vibrant and provide the greatest
promise for innovating our way through the world’s toughest challenges. They are
not only the greatest source of new wealth for our economies, but since all
boats rise on an incoming tide, they offer our greatest hope in the worldwide
quest for poverty reduction.
Above all, what excites me about Global Entrepreneurship Week is how it has
become truly global. While we know innovation itself is blind to national
borders, Global Entrepreneurship Week is showing us that the innovators too seem
to have more in common with each other than their own elders. They now form a
gloriously messy cacophony of informal startup networks fueled by the challenges
of a less predictable and more decentralized world.
The world needs Global Entrepreneurship Week, because, despite all the recent
startup fever, the planet still needs more entrepreneurs. I hope everyone who
follows this blog will check their calendars for the week of November 14 - 20
and wherever you are planning to be in the world that week, find a GEW event or
activity and encourage someone else to join you.
To find out more about the global movement, see
unleashingideas.org or to find something specific to do in the United
gewusa.org. If you have any trouble, post a comment on this blog and we
will help you.