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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 States, visit gewusa.org. If you have any trouble, post a comment on this blog and we will help you.

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