GEW UK takes home Country of the Year award from Moscow

Competing against campaigns and host organizations from more than 140 countries, GEW UK, hosted by Youth Business International, was named as the best national campaign for 2013.

With 633 partners and 3,240 activities last November during Global Entrepreneurship Week, GEW UK helped 347,000 participants take the next step in their entrepreneurial path. It also had a successful collection of startup events – including a Google Hangout with Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann and Richard Branson – and a wide-ranging partnership with Barclays that evenextended to the Premier League. In doing so, the campaign secured its first-ever Country of the Year Award.

“There were a number of exceptional and inspirational campaigns hard at work building their entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “At the end of the day, the UK team stood out for the work it did in empowering and connecting current and aspiring entrepreneurs with resources to help them succeed.”

The 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Week Awards were distributed as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Moscow. Held in the wonderfully ornate State Historical Museum, the event was attended by delegates that make up the more than 140 countries that drive GEW.

4000 delegates from 153 countries head for Moscow






The 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, GEW’s annual meeting, kicks off on Monday with a Research + Policy Summit. The week is wall to wall events and sessions from the Start + Scale Forum to the World Summit of Creative Industries, along with activities happening across the city.

At the heart of the dozens of other panels and programs that make up the GEC is the 2 day Executive Sessions of Global Entrepreneurship Week.  GEW is the big tent under which top down and bottom up leaders, whether from the old school or the new or from one political system or another can find common ground in inspiring their fellow citizens to experiment, invent and birth the new. GEC will be announcing many new partnerships and programs on opening day of the GEC across the globe.

The GEC offers an incredible opportunity to come together to bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. GEC’s hosts, the City of Moscow will be rolling out the red carpet at the historical Manege for what will be an extraordinary week for the world’s entrepreneurs.

Clean water for childeren in need – by not using your phone


UNICEF’s new Tap Project campaign is based around our mobile addiction. For every minute a person puts down his or her phone, the children’s charity will send the equivalent number of “fresh water days” to someone who really needs them.

Go to with your phone’s browser, and follow the instructions. The app works with the internal functions to calculate how long you go without moving the device. If you want, you can start the clock before you go to bed. It runs for a maximum of 24 hours.

“We thought, ‘What if we could create a parallel between how in our country some people can’t live without their phone, and how in the developing world kids can’t live without access to clean water?” says José Carbonell, a marketing manager at UNICEF. “We decided to gamify that and ask, ‘Would you be willing to sacrifice your phone as a way of experiencing that sense of sacrifice?’ though obviously on a smaller scale.’”

Four days in, phone-users have already given up 7 million minutes. Armani will be footing the bill in March (the project currently has other sponsors), and Carbonell says other sponsors will come on-board soon. UNICEF also raised the stakes to 10 minutes per day of clean water, so it doesn’t bankrupt anyone.

The money will go towards building and maintaining water wells, putting in water pipes to rivers, and buying purification technology. Worldwide, 768 million people still live without clean water, leading to a rash of related disease. Every day, 1,600 kids die from diarrheal diseases, 90% of which are thought to be because of poor water and sanitation.

Carbonell says,”One of the nice things about going mobile is that you can reach everyone. But this really gives us an opportunity to have a conversation with a younger demographic.”

The United Nations of Entrepreneurship

In March 3,000 delegates from over 140 countries will descend on Moscow for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, the annual gathering of startup champions, entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, thought leaders and policymakers.

The City of Moscow will play host and has hard acts to follow.  Previously the GEC roadshow has been hosted in Shanghai, Liverpool, Dubai, Kansas City, and most recently Rio.  From an awards party on Sugar Loaf Mountain to dancing in Liverpool cathedral to a dinner in the desert, the hosts have made incredible efforts to showcase their cities to the world.  Led by Moscow’s minister, Alexei Komissarov, his team has big plans for GEC2014.  The congress will meet at the famous Moscow Manege off Red Square, originally a military training school building capable of holding an entire infantry regiment, which has seen performances from Berlioz to Kruschchev.

The GEC started as a workshop in Kansas City, hosted by the Kauffman Foundation for the national hosts of the first Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2008.  Subsequently, GEW and the GEC have been instrumental at integrating previously siloed initiatives and activities of government, education and business on an international scale.  Global Entrepreneurship Week last November held 25,000 events for 10 million participants in 140 countries.  Not bad for a 6 year old start-up that claims Prime Ministers, Presidents and world business leaders among its evangelists.

The City of Moscow is involving the whole city.  Venues just announced include the Skolkovo Startup Academy, Flacon Design Factory, Technopolis Moscow, and Digital October. Themes range from mentoring to virtual idea enrichment, all with a red thread – enabling and empowering entrepreneurs.

Among the keynote speakers headlining in Moscow will be Angry Birds’ Peter Vesterbacka, and Vivek Wadhwa from Singularity.  They will be joined by more than fifty speakers from around the world.  Some of those already announced include Sergey Borisov founder of Apps4All, Bernard Moon Co-Founder SparkLabs Ventures, Oliver Gajda Executive Director European Crowdfunding Network, Lawrence Wright Director of Skolkovo Startup Academy, and Doug Richards Founder of School for Startups.

The Congress will focus on awareness, experiential education, startup cities, financing growth, smart top-down government policies and strategies for scaling up.  The World Bank, the Kauffman Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Endeavor Insight will also be launching the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network heralded by President Barack Obama several weeks ago.

In March 2013, over 100 nations gathered in Rio for what I like to think of as the United Nations of Entrepreneurship.  While some have highly developed ecosystems, many are just beginning their journey.  Visionaries like Babson’s Dan Isenberg, TechStars’ Brad Feld, and Dave McClure from 500 Startups provided insights into how startup cultures can succeed.  The GEC in Rio and other cities have effectively created an accelerator program for policy makers and those on the ground to develop programs that combine top down and bottom up thinking.

Rio also saw new nations such as Iran, Finland, Myanmar, Senegal and Vietnam join, welcomed by signing ceremonies and applause from the global family.  While there I witnessed a rare and extraordinary spirit of cooperation. Even those from politically adversarial countries were quietly finding ways to work together.

The GEC grew out of a closed work sleeves meeting in Kansas City.  Now it is the world’s big tent talk shop for a 21st century global religion called Entrepreneurship.  It has attracted a broad church from government to geeks – collaborating at an unprecedented scale.  These new entrepreneurial harmonies are certainly in sync and set to convert this crowdsourced wisdom into successful startups and economic growth around the world.

GEC2014 takes place March 17th to 20th. If you want to register, or find more info, go to

Cities map the future in 2014

Nations have started to compete in a raceto build healthy entrepreneurship ecosystems, demanding better data – such as the World Bank Doing Business IndicatorsOECD-Eurostat Entrepreneurship Indicators and more – to fuel and measure their efforts. In contrast, comparable city-level data is even more scarce and global city rankings are few. Nonetheless, city leaders are seeking to have entrepreneurs and investors pin their cities on their map and they are doing so with efforts that make clusters and technology parks look more like obsolete civil engineering projects as opposed to efficient local entrepreneurship policy.

Over the past half decade or so, it has become increasingly apparent that cities are ahead of governments in their approach (The 10 Cities That Are Leading The Way In Urban Sustainability). This contrast is visible in many places around the world. Take Buenos Aires, which released the city’s first Entrepreneurship Master Plan, using the global platform of Global Entrepreneurship Week last November. The move stands in stark contrast to the worrying policies of Argentina’s national government.

Other new cities are taking center stage as well. In 2012, three cities were among the finalists of the Wall Street Journal and Citi contest for the most innovative City of the Year: New York, Tel Aviv and Medellin, Colombia. Once crime-ridden Medellin was the surprising winner. The city’s burgeoning tech-entrepreneur scene was quietly evolving while the world’s attention was focused on Colombia’s drug-cartel problems. In fact, Medellin has coined the term “e-culture” to refer to its messy entrepreneurial force at the grassroots level.

This e-culture thrives on the so-called “random collisions” that happen in vibrant cities. These are collisions of talent and ideas that mix together then recombine and likely fail before reemerging and ultimately producing value. Today’s rising entrepreneurial cities seek those collisions of ideas through multiple common spaces like coffee shops and entrepreneur meet-ups, sometimes even forming entire entrepreneurial neighborhoods (think Kreuzberg in Berlin). In such places ideas meet talent and funding, hardware developers connect with software gurus, and so on, making innovative products and services possible (e.g. sustainable agribusiness on the rooftops of skyscrapers).

Berlin’s urban policies helped revive old buildings with entrepreneurs. Boston, Denver and Chicago are trying to retain startup tech talent with a bicycle infrastructure that will appeal to young tech-savvy people. Allegedly reacting to this competition, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn promised protected bike lanes for its workers, reports Emily J. Brown on the 1776 blog, a Washington, DC, co-working space.

Tech-entrepreneurship policies are not the only path. Think of one of Seattle’s entrepreneurial rock stars. It all started with one Starbucks coffee shop, which now “brews innovation” across the nation and many cities across the world through its appealing spaces and flavors. Other cities are focusing on creative entrepreneurship to boost employment rates and innovation. A new Kauffman Foundation report offers fresh insights into the role of cultural entrepreneurs in metropolitan areas, offering seven strategies for mayors and city council members to tap into their local creative talent:

  • Know who your local artists are.
  • Encourage convening equipment-sharing artists’ centers.
  • Develop sustainable artist studio and live/work buildings.
  • Provide entrepreneurial training tailored to artists and designers.
  • Build networking and marketing opportunities for artists.
  • Embed artists in city development strategies.
  • Partner with local arts and policy faculty for entrepreneurial research and training.

Inspired by all these experiences, city mayors are taking the plunge. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin of Moscow, for example, is bringing the 2014 edition of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress to his hometown this March, opening its doors for outsiders to have a first-hand look at how things are evolving there in terms of entrepreneurship. This is a bold move in light of the controversial media attention the country has been receiving around the world. It shows that the city is serious about a finding a long-term strategy to make Moscow an appealing place to start companies despite a national legal and political system that offers plenty of roadblocks, as a recent New York Times article pointed out.

Many local leaders have been smart to acknowledge that their governments are only one component of larger city startup ecosystems and, as such, are engaging stakeholders and hiring top private-sector talent to implement their policies and programs. Such is the case for the newly formed team at city hall in Buenos Aires that reached out to the Startup Nations Policy Network to connect with the best research and practices in promoting entrepreneurship from government.

Cities need data to evaluate their efforts and support their promotion as productive hubs for entrepreneurs. The City of Chicago boasts that in 2012, 367 startups launched in the city, corresponding to one new startup every 24 hours. This compares drastically to 2002, when only 11 digital startups were launched in the city. To build on this strengthening economic force, the City of Chicago has designed a technology plan that includes building a next-generation digital infrastructure, fostering tech education through “smart communities” and providing for civic innovation and tech sector growth.

As projects such as Startup Genome mine data from entrepreneurs, investors and community enablers in local startup communities across the globe, we are better able to evaluate their efforts. Startup Genome is one of a handful of free and open platforms for collecting, curating and analyzing data about the startups in cities. As a result, community builders, entrepreneurs, investors and researchers will all benefit from fresh and constantly updated community metrics.

Many of the mayors jumping into these startup communities will share experiences at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow on March 17, 2014. This network of city policymakers will become increasingly important in a world where data is less static and policymakers have to react faster in removing roadblocks to stronger startup and scale-up dynamics.

Moscow prepares to welcome the world







During GEW13, Global Entrepreneurship Week host, the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), a leading force for advancing entrepreneurship in Russia, partnered with the Moscow City government. Taking the lead in conducting GEW across the capital this year, the city government catalysed more than 200 activities in Moscow alone. Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s team offered some remarkably effective city-level leadership in support of new businesses creation and growth.

Featured events included the CFE international conference focused on entrepreneurship education in high schools, and in partnership with Skolkovo Open University, the Moscow Central House of Entrepreneurs even offered an Entrepreneurial Film Festival throughout the weekend. Moscow was not alone. Other Russian regions were also very active during GEW, with more than 700 events reported across the country. In spite of record levels of activity, Muscovites acknowledge that there is a long way to go - unemployment in Moscow is less than 1% which makes it difficult for leaders to support entrepreneurship on the basis of job creation.

With the baton passed from Rio,Moscow now prepares to convene the next Global Entrepreneurship Congress (March 17-20, 2014) in the historic Moscow Manege—just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. It is getting ready to prove that Moscow can be as powerful as San Francisco or Berlin in terms of a vibrant startup culture and that the capital of one of the world’s “strong government” economies can work to reconcile a tradition of top-down government control with a recognition of the importance of bottom-up, organic startup communities.

The GEC each March is by far the largest annual gathering of the global entrepreneurial ecosystem—from self-professed coding “geeks” to startup-savvy policymakers. The Congress connects advanced and developing economies keen to leverage the power of entrepreneurs. So the commitment from Moscow to host the next GEC is no small feat—it is great proof of a growing self-confidence in the potential of its own entrepreneurship ecosystem.

That ecosystem is one where leaders are not shy to call practitioners from around the world to emulate their efforts in promoting a new venture creation. The city’s Nagatino Co-working Center, for example, was inspired by similar spaces in Rio and Washington, DC. By the next GEW, every floor of the building will be open with startups and its very façade will be an invitation to explore the entrepreneurial path. When the GEC kicks off next March the efforts of this new generation of entrepreneurs will receive the support of the world’s startup community.

Trending on Twitter, a Week of competitions, challenges, hangouts and hackathons

This November, around 10 million people participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week events and activities in 140 countries. It was the sixth year that GEW has been celebrated—and the number of countries has increased each year to match the growing demand from entrepreneurial communities and policymakers alike for programming to help startups thrive.

That demand is not coming solely from established economies in the west—or even from countries like Croatia that just joined the European Union back in July. Last week, Libya and Iran were among more than 10 countries that celebrated Global Entrepreneurship Week for the first time. The story of Libya is especially poignant. With violence in the capital city of Tripoli forcing the postponement of a number of events and activities, GEW carried on in Benghazi. “Despite the struggles we are going through in Libya now, our country is full of young people who are ready and willing to work hard to build a new Libya,” said Zeyad bin Halim of Silatech, the country’s GEW host organization. “A new movement of creative, positive entrepreneurs is what we in Libya need, and we are proud that Silatech has given a strong boost through Global Entrepreneurship Week.”  Another new host nation, Iran, ran events in seven cities across the country.

Here are few highlights of the Week – competitions, challenges, hangouts, hackathons, meetups, networking, summits and roundtables.

Creative Business Cup — Startups from 36 countries focused on the creative industries pitched for investment and prizes at the global finals in Copenhagen, Denmark. Teddy the Guardian, a startup from Zagreb, Croatia, won the title for its teddy bear stuffed with medical sensors that measures children’s vital signs seamlessly as they play.

Get in the Ring — Eight national competition winners squared off in a boxing ring in Rotterdam, Netherlands, to pitch for up to $1 million in investment. Kansas City-based EyeVerify, a startup with a biometric eyescan software for mobile devices, took the title belt as it defeated finalists from Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Startup Cup — A virtual competition to identify the most promising young startups (under a year) around the world. Teddy the Guardian from Croatia took the top honors for this competition as well and won a free trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow next March.

Startup Britain – Guinness record attempt at largest Speed Networking event.

The Global Brainstorm – Entrepreneurs and panelists from around the world joined a Google Hangouts brainstorm hosted from Athens.

Google for Entrepreneurs — Richard Branson and Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, shared their experiences and advice in a Google Hangout.

We the Geeks Hangout — White House officials joined young entrepreneurs who started their companies during high school, college, and grad school.  Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John from ABC-TV’s Shark Tank and other entrepreneurs provided advice.

Startup Weekend — In 200 cities around the world, thousands of participants split into cofounder teams to go from idea to startup in 54 hours (one weekend).

Startup Bus Africa Tour — 30 entrepreneurs—from engineering, design and business backgrounds—participated in a 96 hour hackathon that traveled 2,500 kilometers through Africa.

DIY Entrepreneurship Challenge — Kids aged 7-15 had an opportunity to finish three challenges to earn the official entrepreneurship badge of GEW, provided by DIY—the new project of Zach Klein, founder of Vimeo and CollegeHumor.

DECA Idea Challenge — Thousands of HS and college students split into teams and try to come up with an idea for a startup based on a common object and how to maximize its value. This year the challenge was an aluminum soda can. [ ]

Dell Center for Entrepreneurs — Dell opened its first non-US Dell Centre for Entrepreneurs in London and announced its plans to expand globally. [ ]

Bulgaria – Anelia Klisarova, Minister of Education, led a discussion on “A New Vision for Entrepreneurship and Education” in Sofia with support from President Rosen Plevneliev.

India’s Department of Science and Technology conducted a policy workshop with researchers at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and the University of Edinburgh on advancing innovation and enterprise creation at higher education institutions.

VC4Africa GEW Meetups — Angels, VC’s and entrepreneurs in 26 cities around the world participated in networking events to empower African entrepreneurs to drive wealth and crush the cycle of poverty on the continent. [ ]

Co–founders Lab GEW Meetups — Entrepreneurs connected with potential collaborators and cofounders at meet ups in 13 cities in the US and Canada. [ ]

Canadian Mentorship Challenge — Run by Startup Canada and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, the Challenge connected 10,000 promising young entrepreneurs with 10 rockstar entrepreneurs and hundreds of other entrepreneurs in communities across the country.

GEW 2013 launches around the world











Today marks the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week in 140 countries. Since 2008 GEW it has brought together entrepreneurs, world leaders, educationalists and businesses of every kind to celebrate and promote entrepreneurship. In London, GEW UK hosted by YBI was launched by Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable.  Dr Cable said that 10% of Brits now describe themselves as entrepreneurs and 2013 will see a record 523,000 new startups in the UK.

YBI chief Andrew Devenport announced that ‘GEW UK has 3,000 events planned with an expected 300,000 people taking part across the country. This year we are encouraging current and aspiring entrepreneurs to take a step forward in their plans – whether that’s starting a business, seizing a new opportunity or finding out more about careers in enterprise’. This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week will also be celebrating 10 years of enterprise history in the UK. The first Enterprise Week – now Global Entrepreneurship Week – was held in 2003, so 2013 will be its tenth anniversary.

Elsewhere from Australia to Zambia meetups, challenges, competitions, brainstorms and workshops are causing GEW to trend on Twitter as the Week gets underway. Recently added host organizations in Moldova, Greenland and Somalia will be running their first national GEW campaigns. They will be joining other newcomers in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kosovo, Libya, Mali, Moldova, Montenegro, Palestine, Philippines, Senegal, Myanmar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Vietnam. Welcome!

The Revolution will be in 3D








One place where technology’s role as a catalyst for innovation is particularly evident is 3D printing. According to tech research company Gartner, we are in the beginnings of a “Digital Industrial Revolution” that threatens to reshape how physical goods are created and 3D printing is at the heart of it.

By 2018, 3D printing will result in the loss of at least US$100-billion per year in intellectual property globally

At least one major western manufacturer will claim to have had intellectual property (IP) stolen for a mainstream product by thieves using 3D printers who will likely reside in those same western markets rather than in Asia by 2015.

The plummeting costs of 3D printers, scanners and 3D modelling technology, combined with improving capabilities, says Gartner, makes the technology for IP theft more accessible to would-be criminals. Importantly, 3D printers do not have to produce a finished good in order to enable IP theft. The ability to make a wax mould from a scanned object, for instance, can enable the thief to produce large quantities of items that exactly replicate the original.

By 2016, 3D printing of tissues and organs (bioprinting) will cause a global debate about regulating the technology or banning it for both human and non-human use

The US Food and Drug Administration or comparable agency in a developed nation that is charged with evaluating all medical proposals will introduce guidelines that prohibit the bioprinting of life-saving 3D printed organs and tissues without its prior approval by end of 2015.

Bioprinting is the medical application of 3D printers to produce living tissue and organs. The day when 3D bioprinted human organs are readily available is drawing closer. The emergence of 3D bioprinting facilities with the ability to print human organs can leave people wondering what the effect of it will be on society. Beyond these questions, however, there is the reality of what 3D bioprinting means in helping people who need organs that are otherwise not readily available.

Big Blue gives red hot entrepreneurs the green light

IBM is opening up the brain of supercomputer Watson by making the software technology behind it available to anyone who has the interest.

For entrepreneurs looking to develop programs on top of the Watson infrastructure, this is your green light.

IBM’s goal is to enable innovation to happen more quickly than it would if Big Blue kept the software technology private. “With this move, IBM is taking a bold step to advance the new era of cognitive computing,” said Michael Rhodin, senior vice president at IBM Software Solutions Group.

IBM expects to partner with businesses of all sizes, from startups to larger enterprises. Watson’s power is its ability to process extensive amounts of information intelligently, a red-hot industry called ‘big data.’

“This could bring about a paradigm shift not only in how people interact with computers, but in how we live our lives,” said Mohamad Makhzoumi, partner at New Enterprise Associates and board member at Welltok, one of the first companies to work with the Watson software.