Welcome to  Global Entrepreneurship Week
"We need more entrepreneurs in the world -– people with the aptitude, courage and resilience to help us innovate our way through challenges." Watch this #GEW2021 message from GEN President Jonathan Ortmans.
United States
7 Nov 2021

[Check remarks against delivery]

Welcome to Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) 2021. 

Over the coming days, 200 nations will join a global mission to encourage more people to consider the path of entrepreneurship. We will hear from celebrity entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, who are speaking up to inspire the next generation. We will see partners like Endeavor running numerous national campaigns and thought leaders like the OECD sharing research and analysis. We will see corporate partners like FedEx demonstrate their commitment to entrepreneurs at all stage and thousands more partners around the world convening to build community. To give you an idea of the size of this community, every year 10 million people take part in 40,000 events, activities and competitions across 200 countries during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

When we launched this movement in 2008 with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, we had a simple goal: to show the world that Silicon Valley does not have a monopoly on entrepreneurship. We set out to inspire and give confidence to everyone, especially young people, in every corner of the earth. We wanted to show them that they too can be dreamers, doers, and risk-takers. That they too can be entrepreneurs.

We now have many nations embracing entrepreneurship as a primary driver not just of job creation, but of opportunities for more people. In fact, on the eve of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we published the Global Startup Ecosystem Report with the talented team at Startup Genome. The report shows that the number of ecosystems generating more than $4 billion has more than doubled in the past four years and a massive 91 ecosystems created at least one unicorn in 2020. The Top 100 Emerging Ecosystems now represent over $540 billion in ecosystem value – a 55% increase from last year. These figures are stunning.

As we celebrate these successes, there is still much work to be done. The world is faced with massive challenges, such as climate change, recovering from the pandemic, and so much more. In these uncertain and unpredictable times, entrepreneurs are vital to the future successes of our society. They are more than glass-half-full optimists – they are natural leaders made for times like these. While some of us get frightened during uncertain times, entrepreneurs thrive on disruption and overnight changes in the rules. They see hundreds of thousands of possibilities, countless solutions to test, and a lot of work to be done. We need more entrepreneurs in the world -– people with the aptitude, courage and resilience to help us innovate our way through challenges. This week is all about them.  

This week we announced the top 25 finalists of the Entrepreneurship World Cup, selected in a very competitive process that started with more than 100,000 entrants from 200 countries. As you meet these finalists, you will learn not just about ideas but about teams scaling new ventures that will innovate us past this pandemic.  They are indicative of what can be accomplished when you come up with an idea, test it with a team and find new ways of doing things that benefit everyone.

I want to thank everyone involved in this year's Global Entrepreneurship Week campaign, including our national hosts around the world, our thousands of partners and the countless volunteers who have donated their time and talent. Finally, I'd like to thank the team at GEN for the hard work and passion they have put into this year's campaign. 

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week. I hope you will join us by finding a local event near you at www.gew.co and by joining the conversation online using #GEW2021.  

Watch the full speech

Jonathan Ortmans

President | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization that provides a platform of programs and… More