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Britain to Host Global Entrepreneurship Congress March 2012

Jonathan Ortmans, President, Public Forum Institute

The United Kingdom remains a fierce competitor in the global race to develop the best startup ecosystem in the world. As noted in previous posts, Prime Minister David Cameron is keen for an economic recovery led by new firm formation introducing both policies and initiatives like Startup Britain to accelerate efforts nationwide.

The country’s Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk, who I met with here today in London, has not wasted any time in leading efforts at enterprise education at schools. The government is working with the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) to create student-led enterprise societies in every university and most colleges across England. Cameron also has shown great support for the continuing ambition for London’s East End to become a world-leading technology city to rival Silicon Valley.

The United Kingdom also did a great job at mapping its entrepreneurial ecosystem during MGlobal Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) last November - literally. Through social media, requests for help from entrepreneurs and offers of support were fed into an interactive map. The GEW campaign here reached out to 213,000 participants, through 2,300 events and 914 partner organizations.

Britain is not only stimulating enterprise locally and providing resources for entrepreneurship education, but also figuring out how to attract the world’s best sustainable, early-stage companies and entrepreneurs. A Global Entrepreneur Programme within UK Trade & Investment, for example, offers networks and mentorship to help international entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom accelerate into global markets. The government also announced last April new fast track visa arrangements for high-value investors and entrepreneurs to settle permanently in the UK faster.

But today’s meeting of about 60 leaders in Britain’s startup space I joined was an indication of something even more significant. From March 9-16, 2012, the city of Liverpool will host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC), with delegations of startup leaders arriving from more than 100 countries all gathering in an effort to find the fastest path to creating an effective entrepreneurship ecosystem in their country. Following the success of the GEC in Dubai in 2010 and Shanghai in 2011, this annual Congress has expanded into an even more significant global gathering for entrepreneurship talent by now adding the world’s smartest economic researchers and the best players—including household names in entrepreneurship—from successful startup ecosystems. This year, the GEC in Liverpool will offer an even larger global Festival of Entrepreneurship. A Startup Weekend event will kick off a series of nearly 40 event options for participants. This Congress will be a sure stop for the growing wave of startup campaigns around the world and a big boost to Britain’s 2012 startup fever. I will be there and hope you will too.

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