United States cities and states are mobilizing their entrepreneurial communities this Global Entrepreneurship Week – raising awareness about entrepreneurship and the amazing startup founders who power innovation around the country. From community partners in Alaska to ecosystem builders in Tampa, Florida, organizers are looking forward to celebrating local businesses and their own special entrepreneurial spirits.
For Las Cruces, New Mexico, Global Entrepreneurship Week is one week out of the year where all of the entrepreneurship ecosystem builders are reminded of the importance of collision density – when people who don’t run in the same circles meet and connect and create something really amazing. This is Las Cruces’ time to engineer environments and events that encourage these kinds of collisions, knowing that the innovations of tomorrow result from these intersections. This GEW, there will be Spanish entrepreneurship meet-ups introduced and organizers say there will be a new venture capital fund announced – as well as its first investment.
Zetdi Runyan Sloan, the director for the technology incubator at the Arrowhead Center in New Mexico, and one of the organizers of GEW in Las Cruces, said she hopes the outcome of this GEW will be in creating that collision density in the community.
“No one reaches his or her goals without the help of someone else,” said Runyan Sloan. “Meeting with fellow entrepreneurs is a great way to create the support network they need to build a successful company. GEW Las Cruces aims to help people move freely and help entrepreneurs collide.”
Organizations across the city are teaming up to make GEW a reality this year. Those organizations include:
- Coronado Ventures Forum
- Arrowhead Center
- WESST Las Cruces
- The NMSU state-wide system
- And, other entrepreneurship supporters, makerspaces and economic development organization across the Borderplex region (Las Cruces, New Mexico, El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico)
The metropolitan area of D.C., northern Virginia and Maryland (the DMV) have multiple events happening across Global Entrepreneurship Week including networking meet-ups and a +Tech Makers Studio that features a cross-sector collaboration between women makers and tech founders.
Organizers are looking forward to joining a global celebration that also has connection points across the globe.
In Augusta, Georgia, there will be daily activities for founders and funders including opportunities for tours of entrepreneurial spaces, networking meet-ups, lunches, classes and other activities, during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
For the first time, organizers for celebrations in Tampa, Florida created one central destination to find all local GEW activities happening in the community, which those interested can find linked here.
“It’s exciting to see our community operating as a collective and eliminating silos,” said Allie Felix, director of program and partnership at Embarc Collective. “We are thrilled to join a global effort that celebrates entrepreneurship and innovation because we believe the power of progress is in the collective. It’s not one city, one organization, or one founder that makes a difference in a region, it’s how all of those aspects work together that can truly create change.”
The entire entrepreneurial ecosystem is coming together to make GEW a reality in the Tampa – St. Pete region, including local colleges and universities, entrepreneurship support organizations, government nonprofit organizations and more.
“We hope that GEW will leave an impact on our community by demonstrating the power of the collective – when we plan together, collaborate, and cross-promote as support organizations, we can maximize the value that is delivered to our startup founders and their teams.”
On the opposite side of the United States from Tampa and the DMV region, entrepreneurs and support organizations in Alaska are gearing up to shine a spotlight on local innovators.
“Sometimes a great party just needs a good excuse,” said Jacqueline Summers, entrepreneur advocate and Alaska PTAC program specialist with the UAA Business Enterprise Institute. “GEW is the catalyst for Alaskans to focus on all the creative, entrepreneurial activity happening on multiple levels and connect the dots back to their lives.”
Summers said she is excited about seeing human ingenuity come to life across the week, and that she can’t wait to be “exposed to a new problem with an ingenious solution.”
“Alaskans are special. Or at least we think we are,” Summers said. “We have a famous saying, ‘We don't care how they do it Outside.’ ‘Outside’ is any place beyond Alaska's borders and meaning, ‘we'll figure it out and do it our way.’ This self-sufficient attitude kept everyone resilient when communication was poor and boats were slow – but that needs to change now. We need to look more broadly and realize our role in the larger world and economy. GEW will help us broaden our vision and really re-enforce the idea we need to scale our businesses for customers worldwide."
Alaska has business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the state as part of the organizing committee, and also includes the following organizations:
- University of Alaska
- State of Alaska Division of Economic Development
- Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation
- Alaska Growth Capital
- Juneau Economic Development Council
- Homer Chamber of Commerce / Visitor Center