Imagine if all the entrepreneurs in the world were united for one week to exchange ideas, network, and expand their networks across the planet. This month’s Global Entrepreneurship Week aims at doing just that. Kicking off Nov. 17 and running until Nov. 23, GEW will host activities on a local, national, and worldwide scale with the sole purpose of celebrating the innovators who drive economic growth and spur business from every single field inlcuding fashion, entertainment, technology, and beauty. “Entrepreneurship is more than just the latest collection of mobile apps targeted toward consumer convenience and entertainment,” says Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “It is an increasingly global phenomenon with new and young firms driving innovation and solving real-world challenges regardless of where they are located.”
Sponsored by Dell and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a nonprofit working to use educational advancement to build economic independence, GEW began in 2008. Today, it spans 150 countries with an assorted list of events and contests like its “GEW 50.”
The startup competition boasts 50 finalists vying for a chance to win an expense-paid trip to Milan to present their business to entrepreneurs gathered at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2015. Innovators set to be a part of the competition span the globe from Egypt, France, and India to the Philippines, Pakistan, and the Dominican Republic. Other events over the seven days of GEW include the “Global Business Angels Day” featuring investors from across the planet. “Get in the Ring,” a pitch competition with 2000 startups vying for a trip to the Netherlands and a chance to win 1 million euros in startup capital. And Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, taking place in New York on Nov. 19 at the United Nations, bringing together the world’s female entrepreneurs.
Using a grassroots effort to connect business owners worldwide, GEW works to encourage entrepreneurs to create networking events in their local areas to celebrate the week and provide a planet-wide networking extension of sorts to promote the activities of the weeklong effort. In the U.S., GEW partners with universities like Penn State and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to connect with young entrepreneurs. “There is a growing understanding from world leaders that entrepreneurs are the cornerstone of economic growth and a corresponding demand to foster a more entrepreneurial mindset in communities and countries around the world,” says Ortmans. “GEW supports the emergence of a new class of global entrepreneurs with access to research, programs, and networks they need to succeed.”