I attended the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) launch event today at The Escalator in East London. The event was organised by Youth Business International (YBI), a global network of independent non-profit initiatives helping young people start and grow their own business.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship. Initially started in the UK, the campaign now takes place simultaneously in 150 countries. 2370 events will be taking place for Global Entrepreneurship Week this year in the UK alone.

The launch event in London, hosted by Reuben Christian, began with a talk by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Launch event London

He said:

“My advice to young entrepreneurs is to try & realise your dreams as this generation has fantastic opportunities.”

The speakers at the Global Entrepreneurship Week event:

Ben Atkinson-Willes, Founder of Active Minds 

Active Minds develops and manufactures products for people with dementia. Ben began developing products for people with dementia after his grandfather was diagnosed with dementia and he realised there were no suitable activity products available. Ben has received mentoring support via UnLtd, and believes it is important for entrepreneurs to have mentors.

Take-home messages:

– Your organisation needs to be solving a problem

– Have mentors who can guide you and your business

Erkko Autio, Chair in Technology Venturing and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Doctoral Programme at Imperial College London Business School

Erkko told us that London is the 2nd most entrepreneurial region in Europe, just behind Copenhagen.

Take-home message:

– Be strategic with your location – some locations are better for certain types of businesses than others

Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer

Lord Bilimoria spoke passionately about the need for entrepreneurs to think globally. Just back from a trip to India where he met the new Minister for Entrepreneurship, Lord Bilimoria urged the UK to follow suit and appoint a Minister to such a position.

Take-home messages:

– “The most common quality entrepreneurs have is guts to stick with it when others would give up”

– You don’t have to start something new, it can be something that’s been done before as long as you do it differently and better

– It’s important for entrepreneurs to keep learning

– Aspire and achieve things with integrity; “It’s better to fail doing the right thing than succeed doing the wrong thing” – click here to tweet this!


Event attendees were then able to attend two of three workshops.

The first workshop I attended was ‘Funding your business’. The session looked at the funding options available to startups, and we heard from two entrepreneurs (Daniel Azaria, Founder of Robobu and Pippa Murray, Founder of Pip & Nut) who recently secured funding.

I must have done something wrong when I signed up to this event as I had two blue dots on my badge, meaning I was down to attend the Funding Your Business session twice!

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Launch event  London

Funding is obviously really important, but I didn’t mean to sign up to the session twice! Luckily the organisers were flexible and I was able to attend another session, and chose to go to the Ideas to Reality session. In this session the panel told us about their organisations, the journey they have been on, how their organisation is different to the idea they first had (if at all), and the challenges they have faced.

The Global Entrepreneurship launch event was well organised, had inspiring speakers, and really interesting attendees. If you are interested in starting your own organisation I really recommend attending an event during Global Entrepreneurship Week – more information can be found here: www.gew.co/events-list

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Nisha Kotecha is the Founder of Good News Shared. Having worked and volunteered for charities in the UK for over 10 years, Nisha is on a mission to highlight how amazing charities are.

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