Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012 Shaping Up to be Biggest Year Yet

Media Contact:
Barbara Pruitt, 816-932-1288, bpruitt@kauffman.org, Kauffman Foundation

More than 120 countries planning thousands of events to inspire and connect next generation of entrepreneurs 

(WASHINGTON, DC – July 18, 2012) – As the world readies for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, another global event is taking shape. Global Entrepreneurship Week 2012, the world's largest celebration of entrepreneurship, will be held Nov. 12 – 18 for the fifth consecutive year to encourage existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to unleash innovative ideas, using the marketplace to improve lives and make their mark.  

From Albania to Zimbabwe, thousands of events, activities and competitions will help entrepreneurs reach the next level. Millions of participants will connect with potential collaborators and mentors. Hundreds of new startups will secure funding and spring to life.

"With each passing year, GEW has seen the building of a global culture of innovation and entrepreneurship," said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. "Such a culture is essential if we are going to help startups launch and scale."

An initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, GEW connects people through activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters. National campaigns in 123 countries are in full swing as more than 24,000 partner organizations are expected to hold activities, events and competitions that help form and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that are responsible for job creation and economic growth.

Highlights for GEW 2012 include:

  • Startup Open: Startups launched since GEW 2011, from more than 60 countries, compete for a free trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Rio de Janeiro and mentoring prizes with experienced entrepreneurs such as Michael DeLazzer, founding partner and creative mind behind Redbox.
  • Startup Weekend: Founder teams in 100 cities go through an intense 54-hour boot camp to create their own startup—competing for local prizes and gaining valuable feedback from a panel of experts. Immediately following GEW, winners compete against one another in a virtual Global Startup Battle.
  • GEW Policy Survey: The GEW Policy Survey assesses the most important public policies essential to encouraging startups to launch and scale. A report is planned for release just ahead of GEW.
  • Get in the Ring: Hosted in the Netherlands, entrepreneurs present their business plans to investors in an effort to secure up anywhere from €100,000 – €1,000,000 in startup capital.
  • Creative Business Cup: New and revolutionary business ideas with strong market potential in the creative industries from more than 25 countries square off in the global finals in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Global Student Entrepreneur Awards: Students who own and run businesses while attending a high school, college or university battle for the title of Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year and their share of more than $150,000 in business support services.
  • Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition: Finalists from more than 20 countries unveil potential breakthrough cleantech ideas in one of six industry categories; air water and waste, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building, smart power and transportation. For the first time, a sub-competition is being held specifically for young cleantech entrepreneurs (from ages 10 – 24).
  • Your Big Year: Roughly 50,000 people compete in a series of challenges and quizzes for a shot at the life-changing grand prize—a trip around the world working on projects and meeting global and community leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.
  • World Series of Innovation: Fun, experiential learning is the focus of this global classroom activity that allows students to think creatively and invent new products that address every-day opportunities through one of five innovation challenges.

The plans for this year's GEW were shaped by delegates at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress this past March in Liverpool, where the world's most fervent supporters of entrepreneurship gather annually to collaborate on GEW. In 2012, Richard Branson inspired delegates with talk of starting his first venture at the age of 16 and how that led him to a string of Virgin Group companies that now totals more than 400. In addition, government officials and academics reviewed public policies and programs that their countries use to promote an environment more conducive to startups. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will host the next Congress, scheduled for March 18 – 21, 2013.

Organizations supporting GEW include Dell, NYSE Euronext Foundation, Endeavor, Entrepreneurs' Organization, JA Worldwide, Youth Business International, Center for International Private Enterprise, DECA, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Youth Employment Network, MIT Enterprise Forum, Kairos Society, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, International Labour Organization, Startup Digest and YEC Global.

To view a complete list of participating countries and supporting organizations, or to learn more about Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit www.unleashingideas.org.

About Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. In four years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to more than 120 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 95,000 activities over that time. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a growing network of 24,000 partner organizations. For more information, visit www.unleashingideas.org and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.