Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) kicks off today: all around the
world there are thousands of events to encourage, investigate and
celebrate entrepreneurship. (Find out about events near you at the
bottom of this post.) More than 100 countries are taking part and
the initiative should reach more than eight million people - not to
mention the involvement of a couple of people you might just have
heard of: Peter Jones, Vince Cable, Mark Prisk and Doug Richard, to
mention but a tiny slither of the wonderfulness that is this most
enterprising of weeks.
GEW isn't just about patting each other on the back - it's about
trying to leverage real social and economic change through the
power of self-employment and small business.
Enterprise UK, which founded GEW in 2004 (then
expanded it internationally with the US's Kauffman
Foundation in 2008), is trying to focus the UK's attentions on
three key goals:
Narrow the ambition
gap. 50% of the population wants to start a business but
only 5.8% are actually in the process of starting a business. A
rise in 1% in self-employment in the UK would boost the UK's GDP by
around 1.5% and make up for the effect of the government cuts on
GDP over the next two years.
Address the demographic
gap. Young people (aged 18-24) are five times more
likely to be unemployed than starting their own business. More than
twice as many men start business in the UK as women (2009,
approximately 1.5 million men and 650,000 women started a
Close the skills
gap. Enterprise education doubles the chances of business
success but enterprise is still not a staple often education system
in schools, colleges and universities
Peter Jones is the chair of Enterprise UK, and explains:
"Entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. Entrepreneurship is a
skill that can be taught just like any other. That's why Global
Entrepreneurship Week is so vital right now. To inspire thousands
of people to pursue their ideas, to create jobs and to build global
ambition among young people and business owners alike." As the
Enterprise UK website states: "We all recognise that
entrepreneurship is a force for good. It can lift people out of
poverty, enable people to take control of their own lives, or
simply turn their passions into profit."
The news so far - what matters in entrepreneurship right
At this morning's launch, entrepreneurs and businesspeople were
already enthusing about why more people should start a business. Business and Enterprise Minister Mark
Prisk declared 'now is a golden time to start a business',
while Buddi founder Sara Murray called for
us all to 'encourage and celebrate failure'.
Enterprise education looks set to be a key theme this week, with
Peter Jones telling crowds university is 'not the holy grail', and
Mark Prisk saying entrepreneurs are often awkward at school and
need chances to learn by doing. Peter Jones said enterprise skills
are lacking in young people, but they do want to become
entrepreneurs - and The Black Farmer founder Wilfred Emmanual-Jones
said encouragingly that anyone with an 'outsider' or rebellious
mentality can be an entrepreneur.
In other news from GEW, Business
Secretary Vince Cable has announced plans for a single
government-backed mentoring gateway that will give
business-starters access to more than 40,000 mentors.
And the government has newly created the Entrepreneurs' Forum, a
collection of up to 26 advisors who will help the Coalition support
self-employment. So far entrepreneurs including Julie Meyer, Tim Campbell, Sara Murray, Sahar Hashemi and James
Caan have been named as members (click on the links to watch our
video interviews with each to find out more about them).
GEW events this week
There are nearly 5,000 events taking place all over the UK
throughout the week. You can find ones nearest and most
relevant to you using GEW's event search. Happenings range
from inspiring talks to massive gatherings to small competitions,
so there really is something for everyone.
Here are some particularly hotly-tipped GEW events, as
recommended on GEW's website:
The Big Debate - Brought to you by Virgin Media
15 - 21 November, www.virginmediapioneers.com
This year Virgin Media Pioneers is asking everyone to get
involved in The Big Debate online. Discussing the myths surrounding
entrepreneurship via video, Twitter, Facebook, or simply commenting
on their blog, Virgin Media Pioneers is inviting you to have your
Women and Finance
Monday 15 November, The Gallery, 10-11 Austin Friars, City,
London EC2N 2HG @7pm Tickets: Free,
firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a
As women take greater strides in industry and enterprise, there
is a need for our financial knowledge to rise and match our
increased earning potential. This event is for women who want to
learn how to invest their money wisely and take a more active role
in their financial future. It is for women who want to learn how to
become savvy investors in the stockmarket, which is one best way to
invest longterm. Come and join us as we take a step-by-step
introduction to the stockmarket and the world of investing in
shares. You will learn how to invest your money and what to invest
in. You will also learn all you need to know to start investing for
yourself from opening up your own share account, to learning how to
understand the financial pages and picking the best shares to
Whiteley's Shopping Centre Graduate
15 - 21 November, Bayswater, London
Whiteley's Shopping Centre is inviting recent graduates to the
centre to set up their own pop up space, provided free of charge by
the centre for the week.
The graduates will be selling their products in order to
establish a name for their brand.
If there is any graduates out there who would like to promote
their fashion collections- get in contact via
The Guardian Social Enterprise Summit 2010 - The key to
16 November, London
It is an extraordinary time for social enterprise. This
year's fantastic agenda brings together leading experts from the
private, public and voluntary sector including: Nick Hurd MP,
minister for Civil Society, Allison Ogden-Newton, Social
Enterprise London and Lord Victor Adebowale,Turning Point.
The summit will explore the best examples of social enterprises
working with the public sector.
17th November, Newcastle
Emily Cummins, 23 year old inventor/entrepreneur who has
recently won 2010 Oslo Business for Peace Honouree at an awards
ceremony in Norway last week by a judging panel made up of Nobel
Prize winners will be sharing her experiences as a young
Her latest innovation is a sustainable fridge which is 'powered'
by dirty water but keeps medicines or small food items clean, dry
and cool. She refined her fridge during a gap year in Namibia and
then decided to give away the design plans in townships across
southern Africa because she wanted to enable as many people as
possible to build their own fridges. Her creative thinking has led
to a string of commendations including The Barclays Woman of the
Year Award 2009 and Cosmopolitan magazine's Ultimate
Save-the-Planet Pioneer 2008.
For further details please contact events (at) girl-geeks.co.uk
or visit www.girlgeeks.ltd.uk.
Good Deals 2010: The UK Social Investment
15 - 16 November, London
This event is run by Society Media is an unique in bringing
together all elements of the social investment marketplace; the
event is delivered by Social Enterprise magazine in partnership
with NESTA, the Royal Bank of Scotland, CCLA, Triodos Bank, UKSIF
and Investing for Good - with communications support from Society
Media and video footage from our partners at Be Inspired Films.
Doing Business in Asia - Women's Enterprise
18 November, 6pm, London
A recent IMF report (2010) predicts that the Asian economy will
grow by 50% over the next five years. The evening provides an
economic overview of the shift of power to Asia and an outline of
support and services available from the UKTI for a business
considering expanding into Asia. An entrepreneur also shares her
Chaired by Louis Lucas, the FT's consumer industries
correspondent speakers include: Sarah Hewin, Standard Chartered
Bank's Senior Economist:Sabe Tibbitts, International Trade Adviser
UKTI and Dr. Sally Ernst, Investor in global high tech enterprises
and enterprise - a global research and education business and
global research chair - Entrepreneur's Organization
The event is being held Standard Chartered Bank, 1 Basinghall
Avenue, London EC2V 5DD. Programme 6pm - 8pm followed by drinks and
canapes. Tickets are £17 for PAWA members and £20 for non PAWA
members. To book for this event, please email email@example.com
and send your cheque made payable to Pan Asian Women's Association,
15 Harwood Road, London SW6 4QP. Alternatively you can pay by
electronic transfer - but please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping in touch with GEW news
- Follow @GEWUK on Twitter (the official feed).
- Search #GEW on Twitter.
- Read the Department for Business, Innovation and
Skills' live coverage.
- Read business blogger Dan Martin's live blogging from GEW - he's the official
blogger for Enterprise UK.
- Read the Smarta blog! We'll be keeping you posted all this week
on the biggest news, commentary and events.