One October day in 2007, I got a call from Chris Spavin from the London based organization Make Your Mark Foundation inviting Berytech to take part in the official launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week in London that November.
At that time, Global Entrepreneurship Week, the brainchild of the US-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, was taking its first toddler’s steps. In the vision of its founder, Global Entrepreneurship Week will encourage youth to think big, to turn their ideas into reality, and to make their mark. Every November, in hundreds of countries, millions of young people around the world would be called to join a growing movement of entrepreneurs who seek to generate new ideas and to seek better ways of doing things.
This first gathering generated interest from 30 nations who met in the British capital on November 13, 2007. True to Berytech’s mission to support and promote entrepreneurship in every way possible, I was assigned to attend this memorable day, where I got to speed network with Carl Schramm, president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and shake hands with Gordon Brown, then prime minister of the United Kingdom. People had flown all the way from Brazil and India to be part of this movement.
Schramm’s word during this gathering still resonated with me: “This enterprising spirit—the core of Global Entrepreneurship Week—is an invaluable resource the world must tap as we seek to extend the benefits of economic growth to more people across the globe and address the complex challenges facing us all.”
Armed with a date, November 17-23, 2008 and a mission as partner organization, to plan and deliver a local initiative that reflects the customs and entrepreneurial culture of our community, yet connects us to the rest of the globe on that week, we set about planning our participation.
In our first year as GEW partners, we hosted a Regional Conference for Science Park Managers where best practices were shared in terms of supporting technology-based entrepreneurs. We also hosted a pavilion in Termium 2008 showcasing a number of our startups/entrepreneurs as well as their innovative products and services. In 2009 we organized a Regional Academy for Young Entrepreneurs in which regional aspiring entrepreneurs met in Berytech for an entrepreneurship boot camp.
In 2010, and through a momentum of its own, a number of prominent Lebanese organizations came on board and expressed the wish to organize a series of activities during Global Entrepreneurship Week. A first meeting took place on September 24, 2010 in Berytech and a surprising number of entities hailing from academia, incubation, finance, media, NGOs and associations showed up. The energy in the room was positive and motivation was running high. Being in a room full of like-minded peers who are as passionate as we are about entrepreneurship was very inspiring. Since then, the coalition, as I like to secretly call it, has been feverishly planning, emailing, meeting and calling in order to make GEW 2010 a week to remember in Lebanon. And that’s only the beginning. To learn more about the activities planned in this week, and to take part in them, visit the official GEW Lebanon website gewlebanon.org