By: BUKE CUHADAR
As an expected 10 million people participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week in 165 countries this November, hosts, event partners and participants around the world celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit and strengthened the entrepreneurial ecosystem in their communities. Here a few highlights from El Salvador, Kosovo, Cape Verde, Libya, Sudan and Sri Lanka.
In El Salvador, where the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (Fusades) through its Technology Innovation Program (Proinnova), has been the GEW host organization since 2010, celebrations included 45 events with the participation of 42 partner organizations. Fusades is an independent think-tank and development organization, committed to the progress and welfare of all Salvadorans.
In the past six years, Fusades facilitated the participation of more than 6,000 entrepreneurs in various activities throughout the country. GEW El Salvador’s 2016 events included technical conferences, business workshops and fairs. More than $20,000 in seed capital was awarded to the best entrepreneurship ideas. For the first time this year, the Municipality of Santa Tecla joined the GEW celebrations with its “Tecla Emprende” program, which generated 250 new entrepreneurs. Of these entrepreneurs 80 are women, 40 entered the National Commission for Micro and Small Enterprises (CONAMYPE) programs, and 30 have their own businesses.
Hearty congratulations from the GEN Global team to the executive director of the National Commission for Micro and Small Enterprises (CONAMYPE), Ileana Rogel, who was a finalist for the Startup Nations Award for National Policy Leadership. She and the other finalists were recognized for their achievements during the Startup Nations Summit in Cork, Ireland.
In Kosovo, where the Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) is the local GEW host organization, GEW reached several milestones this year.
More than a half of all event participants were female and there was a significant number of government officials present in most of the activities. ICK assembled an alliance of 35 event partner organizations and GEW Kosovo was organized under the patronage of the U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Greg Delawie. Delawie delivered the keynote speech at the opening of GEW Kosovo in Pristina, and praised the country for coming out in the top 15 of the World Bank’s starting a business index.
One of the main topics of GEW Kosovo was entrepreneurship and education. Minister for Education Arsim Bajrami, remarked that the government is working on transforming the education system to connect better with the labour market. Part of the opening activities included a conference on Kosovo’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem organized by ICK and AmCham. “Tourism and Tech Innovation Week” was organized by STIKK (Kosova Association of Information and Communication Technology) in partnership with Syri iVizionit, a local NGO, as part GEW Kosovo. Other activities included a “Girls Mini Boot Camp – Empowering women in Entrepreneurship,” organized by Universum College and Kosovar Youth Council, and “Mitrovica Master Chef: Cooking Up a Business 2016,” an experimental learning activity, through a live entrepreneurial cooking competition organized by International Business College Mitrovica (IBCM).
GEW Cape Verde 2016 reached 250 events thanks to the work by the local host organization, the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cape Verde (AJEC). HE Minister of Finance, Olavo Correia, was among those who participated in the opening session of GEW Cape Verde. Magna Class of Entrepreneurship, a local GEW event partner, carried out events in 25 secondary schools of Cape Verde simultaneously, with the theme “From the dream to the reality of being an entrepreneur.”
In Libya, where GEW has a new host organization this year, the National Board for Technical and Vocational Education/ Ministry of Education, celebrations were a huge success, with more than 11,000 people attending various events throughout the country. Participants attended event in cities, including Albaydha, Derna and Shahat. GEW Libya ended with a closing ceremony that was also attended by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Education. The Week was widely covered in national TV and radio.
Sudan celebrated the third anniversary of GEW Sudan this year, thanks to the local host organization, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community and has officially become the largest entrepreneurship summit in the whole country. This year’s GEW celebrations under the theme “Unleash Your Potential,” hosted more than 4,000 participants, including government and business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, and ambassadors. More than half of GEW Sudan participants were female. IEC has also successfully brought some of the core global GEW events to Sudan, such as Future Agro Challenge, Startup Weekend, Get In The Ring, and Startup Grind, along side custom-designed local events.
In Sri Lanka, GEW Sri Lanka has been celebrated for the last five years, and this year’s GEW activities also included the inaugural event for GEN Sri Lanka, chaired by the acting managing director, Suresh de Mel. GEW event partner, Entrepreneur Hubs Sri Lanka, hosted the grand finale event of GEW2016 at their Nugegoda Hub in Colombo on November 21, 2016. A large number of startups, scale-ups, and serial entrepreneurs attended the closing event together with educators, community enablers, bankers, and the media.