Billed as the “world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship”, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a worldwide series of events designed to help people explore their potential as entrepreneurs. Now celebrated across 165 countries, GEW is a truly massive affair – 17,000 partner organizations hosted over 37,000 activities, events and competitions in 2016. Overall, 8.6 million celebrated GEW 2016 with events, keynote lectures and startup competitions.
With such widespread participation, it’s no wonder many of the world’s leading business figures are expected to be involved yet again. Previous world-renowned entrepreneurs who have participated in GEW activities include Virgin CEO Richard Branson, Dell Computers founder Michael Dell, Nobel Peace Prize winner and ‘bank for the poor’ Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus, and Foursquare’s founder Dennis Crowley.
Each participating country designates a ‘host organization’ to run their national version of GEW, organizing events and galvanizing interest and momentum in the initiative. In St. Lucia, the initiative is being run by the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in conjunction with Junior Achievement and the St. Lucia Youth Business Trust.
Where does Global Entrepreneurship Week come from?
Whilst it is a truly global event nowadays, GEW started life in the UK, launched in 2004 as Enterprise UK’s Entrepreneurship Week. Originally a government-backed campaign to connect youth, women, homeworkers and ethnic minorities to enterprise opportunities, Enterprise Week’s ambit went global in 2007 when Global Entrepreneurship Week was launched for the first time.
Representatives from 37 countries were present when the inaugural GEW was launched by then-prime minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. Within a year, this had more than doubled to 77 countries, with 3 million people taking part, and had reached more than 100 within three years.
GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. GEW tailors to a vast spectrum of stakeholders. The week provides leverage to businesses who wish to market their services and inspire youth to pursue entrepreneurship and in turn provides youth with the opportunity to engage business professionals and learn from their triumphs and go on to conquer as well. This movement aligns you with efforts occurring worldwide and provides access to a network of change-makers from diverse backgrounds and environments.
Since 2011, the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture has been the host organization for Global Entrepreneurship Week in St. Lucia. Our initial efforts realized support from 54 partner organizations who planned 300 activities, impacting 17 255 participants.
The movement continues to grow with over 100 partners supporting Global Entrepreneurship Week.
At the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, Moscow Russia, St Lucia emerged winner of the Champion Catalyzer Award; Most Partners per Capita. This award proved testament to the efforts of the Chamber of its partners for Global entrepreneurship Week.