If the organizers of the first Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2008 had been able to sell stock in their undertaking, they’d be very, very rich.
The celebration of adventurous people who build businesses from scratch has mushroomed into a global phenomenon taking place November 14–20 in more than 160 countries. Organizers are expecting 10 million people to participate in 35,000 events, activities and competitions for the best startup ideas.
“The world needs more entrepreneurs,” says Jonathan Ortmans, founder and president of the organization that coordinates the multitude of events. The events are organized by local and national business organizations and economic development agencies.
— Case Foundation (@CaseFoundation) November 14, 2016
They offer participants opportunities to join a network, find mentors and investors, and experience a boot camp on how to get an enterprise started.
“The field of entrepreneurship is no longer something of narrow commercial significance,” Ortmans says. It can “actually make the world a better place” by encouraging citizens to find innovative ways of making and delivering products and services.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, helped launch the celebration and is still a prime sponsor.
One highlight will be the Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland, November 18–20. It will bring policymakers from dozens of countries together with entrepreneurs and investors to collaborate on new approaches to encourage entrepreneurship. Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city, is a hotbed for startups. The summit will include a boot camp — workshops, practice pitch sessions and how-to advice for aspiring entrepreneurs — in a decommissioned prison on Spike Island in Cork’s harbor.
— Cork Innovates (@Corkinnovates) October 17, 2016
Another big event is INCmty, which bills itself as “the biggest entrepreneurship festival in Latin America” and is taking place in Monterrey, Mexico, November 17–19. Virgin Group founder and serial entrepreneur Richard Branson is the headliner.
The celebration of entrepreneurship doesn’t stop at week’s end. Each spring thousands of entrepreneurs and policymakers gather for a Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
The last was held in Medellin, Colombia, a city once dominated by narcotics traffic and now a driver of the country’s economic growth. The next congress will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 13–16, 2017.