Global Entrepreneurship Week launches today: need-to-know guide

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.

The goals

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 business).

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 now

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 Pioneers

15 - 21 November,

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 say.

Women and Finance

Monday 15 November, The Gallery, 10-11 Austin Friars, City, London EC2N 2HG @7pm Tickets: Free, to reserve a place.

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 invest in.

Whiteley's Shopping Centre Graduate Showcase

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 Big Society?

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.

Girl Geeks

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 inventor.

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) or visit

Good Deals 2010: The UK Social Investment Conference

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. Email

Doing Business in Asia - Women's Enterprise Evening

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 experience.

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 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

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.
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