What is the Global Entrepreneurship Congress?

  • Since launching in 2009 in Kansas City, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress has grown from 200 delegates to several thousand from more than 170 countries participating each spring. Hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, and a local organization from the host country, the GEC explores the latest programs, policies and efforts to help entrepreneurs start and scale.

Who may participate?

  • Anyone may register and participate. Participants represent all parts of the global entrepreneurship ecosystem: entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers, government officials, startup support organizations, educators and more.

How much does it cost to attend? Do the organizers offer scholarships or cover any expenses of participants?

  • The GEC this year is free to attend. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs as well as any other expenses incurred while attending the GEC.

Why is the GEC important?

  • The globalization of entrepreneurship has brought an explosion of programs, startup communities and investment into a new field where there is a paucity of data around what works and what does not in supporting nascent entrepreneurs and new firms forming and trying to scale. Traditional business, education and government leaders have been eager champions, but they need more sophisticated tools, programs and research to help them most efficiently direct their attention and funds to areas that have the greatest impact on future economic growth.
  • The GEC helps address these needs by identifying effective initiatives – in all types of economies, large or small, advanced or developing – that positively impact entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world.

Where has the GEC been held?

  • The following cities have hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Congress: Kansas City (2009), Dubai (2010), Shanghai (2011), Liverpool (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Moscow (2014), Milan (2015), Medellín (2016), Johannesburg (2017), Istanbul (2018), and Bahrain (2019).



When and where does the GEC take place?

  • The host city for the GEC this year is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The event takes place in March 14-17, 2021.

How do I register?

  • Registration is now open for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh.
  • If you run into any trouble, you can use this guide to help you register successfully. We also encourage you to fully complete your profile with a photo and bio, which will allow us to send you future opportunities based on your background and interests. 
  • Once registered, you will receive additional notifications regarding the GEC from the GEN communications team. These notifications will include instructions for attending the GEC, program details, and speaker highlights.

What is the Road to GEC? 

  • is a series of virtual sessions taking place from September 2020 to January 2021. These sessions are coordinated by GEN and serve to engage and connect delegates before the GEC in March 2021. Participants will learn best practices in entrepreneurship ecosystem building, network with GEN’s global community, and determine how to make the most of their time at the GEC.

I am still worried about traveling. If I am unsure about whether it will be safe to travel by March, can I still sign up now?

  • Yes. At this stage, registering for the GEC is also about signing up for the virtual The Road to GEC events and asking us to hold your complimentary live spot. We suggest you register now and start engaging online in the content, communities and working groups leading up to the planned live event. While we anticipate most delegates to be comfortable traveling by March of 2021 and nations to have removed any travel restrictions, we do not expect you to confirm your in-person participation in the live finale or to purchase your airline ticket until early January when you can make a more informed personal decision about traveling.

What if the pandemic does not ease up and travel restrictions and health risks remain? Will the GEC proceed?

  • While plans for March are in full swing, if science, data or public health authorities indicate it is not yet safe to travel or gather, GEN and our GEC organizers will move the date to later in 2021 and offer more virtual Road to GEC activities and programming options in the meantime. Our first priority is the health of our delegates, staff, partners and production teams. However, either way, the live GEC Riyadh will happen and all registrations will remain valid even if we have to move the date to later in 2021.

Where can I find logistics information for planning my air travel and hotel? 

  • Closer to the time, we will provide more information to help you plan your travel. Please ensure that you are registered for the GEC to receive these updates.
  • For specific questions, please email gec@genglobal.org

What if I need funding or scholarship support to participate in the GEC?

  • We encourage you to explore local sponsorship opportunities through companies, foundations, or embassies in your area. Additionally, engaging with GEN’s network and programs in your country might help you identify other funding sources. 

What if I am unable to secure funding for the GEC?

  • If you are unable to secure funding, we still want to support your entrepreneurship ecosystem building journey. In September, we will launch Road to GEC virtual events to connect with GEN’s global network and learn best practices to develop your ecosystem building initiatives further. We hope you’ll stay in touch so that we can host you at a future GEC. 

Do I need a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia?

  • Yes, all participants of the GEC will need a valid visa to travel to Saudi Arabia.
  • Closer to the time, we will provide more information on how to apply for a visa. Please ensure that you are registered for the GEC to receive this update. 

How should I dress for this event?

  • The dress code for the GEC, its sessions and its social events and dinners is business casual.



When and where is registration and check-in?

  • Registration details will be available soon.

Where are meals provided?

  • Meal details will be available soon.

Is there complimentary WiFi? How about local SIM cards to save me on cellular phone and data roaming charges?

  • Complimentary WiFi will be available at the Convention Centre. If you want SIM cards, these can be purchased at the airport.

What should I bring and what do people wear?

  • Your preferred weather app will give you climate information you need in order to plan what to pack. The attire for most sessions is business casual, leaning casual (jeans are fine).
  • The attire for the dinner is however more formal – as always, traditional dress is acceptable and welcome.
  • Please bring hard copy samples you want to share of your work. We will also attempt to hand out as many GEN partner related materials as possible.

How do I see and connect with other delegates and where can we meet? 

  • At the official hotels, there are plenty of open areas for meetings. Be sure to use the GEC site to find and connect with others – as well as of course find each location and check on any agenda changes real time. The site -- whether viewed through a mobile device or desktop/laptop -- provides the most up-to-date information and connects you to everyone’s profile if you want to look for people you want to meet.
  • You can communicate with other delegates of the GEC leading up to, during and following the GEC on the GEC site at gec.co – send messages or meeting requests to other registered delegates by logging into your gec.co profile. You can opt to receive notifications or emails when you have messages.