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Unleashing Ideas – Entrepreneurship Week


35,000 activities. 7 million participants. One Week.
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Unleashing Ideas - Global Entrepreneurship Week


WASHINGTON, DC – As economists and policymakers alike focus on the coming fiscal cliff in the U.S. and its global impact, thousands of new start-ups are springing to life and millions of people are exploring their entrepreneurial potential — all during one week. For the fifth consecutive year, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) features a wide range of events, activities and competitions designed to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems that are responsible for job creation and economic growth.

“Today marks the beginning of another celebration of the new and young firms that are fundamental for sustainable growth and stability, not just in the U.S. but around the world,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “This new generation of startups is unleashing ideas through the marketplace that not only create wealth, but that solve challenges and improve our daily lives.”

An initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, GEW connects people through activities designed to help them acquire the skills and networks necessary to take the next step, no matter where they are along the startup spectrum. National campaigns in 130 countries are in full swing as more than 24,000 partner organizations hold nearly 40,000 activities.

GEW kicks off the week naming Dropifi as the grand prize winner of the Startup Open, a competition that recognizes the year’s most innovative new company. The young cofounders from Ghana took the top prize for their “smart” widget that replaces static “contact us” forms — reading such things as personalities and emotions, allowing companies to better analyze incoming messages and route them accordingly. Dropifi won an all-expenses-paid trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 2013 to attend one of the world’s largest gatherings of startup champions, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

While GEW has just officially started, hundreds of startups have already sprung to life through Startup Weekend events in 66 cities around the world since Friday. These boot camp style events move participants rapidly from idea to minimum viable product in 54 hours. Another 65 cities are set to host similar events next weekend with the winners from both weekends competing against each other in a Global Startup Battle. Organizers estimate that more than 1,200 new startups could be formed over these two weekends alone.

Winning the top prize for one of the early competitions as a part of GEW – the Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition – was Biosyntia of Denmark. It won for its work in helping chemical manufacturers move to biochemical methods while reducing costs and CO2 emissions.

Other highlights coming later this week include:

  • Entrepreneurs 2012: GEW’s Jonathan Ortmans joins former U.S. President Bill Clinton and an impressive list of keynote speakers at the four-day business conference in London.
  • Get In the Ring: Hosted in the Netherlands, this event includes entrepreneurs from 17 countries who pitch a panel of  investors in an effort to secure anywhere from €100,000 – €1,000,000 in startup capital.
  • Meet the Lions: Africa’s promising young startups compete through pitch competitions across the continent.
  • 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.
  • Creative Business Cup: National winners from the creative industries in 23 countries pitch revolutionary ideas with strong market potential as they face off in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • The Startup Kids: San Francisco, London and Berlin host featured screenings of this documentary film on young web entrepreneurs — including interviews with the founders of Dropbox, Vimeo, Soundcloud and more.
  • Cairo Startup Cup: More than 160 applicants have been narrowed to seven finalists competing in this business model competition in Egypt.
  • Growing SMEs: Princess Maxima of the Netherlands headlines this international conference in The Hague to explore trends in developing, growing and financing small and medium enterprises.
  • 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 everyday opportunities through one of five innovation challenges.
  • Nordic Startup Awards: The national finals in Denmark, Norway and Finland take place during GEW and lead into the grand finale in early December.

Follow these and other highlights throughout the week and beyond at

Global Entrepreneurship Week is sponsored by Dell and supported by Startup Weekend, Endeavor, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Youth Business International, Junior Achievement, Center for International Private Enterprise, MIT Enterprise Forum, DECA, Youth Employment Network, Kairos Society, the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, International Labour Organization and YEC Global.


Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators.

These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

The initiative kicked off in 2008, launched by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, the president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Since then, it has grown to 115 countries—with nearly 24,000 partner organizations planning more than 37,000 activities that directly engage more than 7 million people.

With so many new jobs in entrepreneurial economies coming from firms less than five years old, it is not surprising that leaders around the world are looking to reinvigorate their economies by focusing on ways to stimulate new firm formation. Global Entrepreneurship Week helps map the entrepreneurial ecosystem in those countries and enjoys the participation and support of presidents and prime ministers on every continent, including: President Barack Obama (US); Prime Minister David Cameron (UK); Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel); President Anibal Cavaco Silva (Portugal); Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada); President John Atta Mills (Ghana); and, numerous ministers focused on advancing economic growth.

But GEW is more than just an awareness campaign supported by world leaders and celebrity entrepreneurs. It is about unleashing ideas and doing what it takes to bring them to life—spotting opportunities, taking risks, solving problems, being creative, building connections and learning from both failure and success. It is about thinking big and making your mark on the world—doing good while doing well at the same time.

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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.

Now in its fifth year, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to 130 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 125,000 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 and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare.

Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people’s eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students.

Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets.

For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation and

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