GEW hosts throughout Latin America are gearing up for this fall’s Global Entrepreneurship Week which promises to be full of engaging events for younger generations. According to a 2013 World Bank report, “Latin America is a region of entrepreneurs, with over half the workforce employed by small businesses.” GEW hosts in Latin America have the important mission of uniting both the public and private sector to facilitate an ecosystem that can foster high-impact entrepreneurship. In order to accomplish this mission, many of GEW activities are geared towards younger generations to equip them with the right skill-sets and attitude to become successful entrepreneurs.
The Kirzner Entrepreneurship Center, part of the School of Economic Sciences of Universidad Francisco Marroquín, is the official GEW host organization in Guatemala for the third year in a row. GEW Guatemala events include talk shows, conferences, workshops, a shadow day, book launches, and contests offering opportunities for entrepreneurs, innovators and those who wish to launch their own business to connect and be part of the ecosystem. Confirmed partners for GEW 2014 include Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, ENACTUS Guatemala, Pomona Impact, Chamba Co-Working Space, La Fototeca, AMCHAM, Allied Global, Muni Emprende, Centro Histórico, Alterna and Cámara de Industria de Guatemala. The campaign’s aim is to motivate and encourage potential entrepreneurs to take risks and set up new businesses. The focus is on facilitating opportunities for sharing experiences and best-practice as well as fostering entrepreneurial attitudes.
Startup Weekend will take place November 14 - 16 at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala City. Other flagship events include the KEC Elevator Pitch Competition, where the entire student population of the university is invited to compete with their business ideas. The top ten best projects will pitch in the final event before a panel of judges, and the top three will win monetary rewards. Another event will be the KEC Talkshow, in which a local entrepreneur will share with the students his/her story and how he/she has developed the business, the challenges faced and tips for budding entrepreneurs.
Mexico has ambitious plans of developing a solid entrepreneurial ecosystem as the Mexican Government seeks to foster entrepreneurship as a tool for economic growth. Endeavor Mexico, the official GEW co-host organization (along with Impulsa Mexico) has drawn an agenda for GEW 2014, with several other events along with an “Innovation Challenge.”
- Entrepreneur Camp: a workshop focused on helping 120 entrepreneurs develop and validate their business model, supported by entrepreneurs and experts.
- Sales Pitch and Project Exhibit: an event that provides an opportunity for startups to showcase their projects in front of investors.
- Entrepreneurs’ Bazaar: marketing and sales talks will be given and startups will have the opportunity to promote and sell their products.
- Multiply Effect: a conference that aims to inspire entrepreneurs to continue contributing to their local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Procom Group, the official GEW host organization in Nicaragua, is cooperating with a wide range of public and private sector organizations this year with an increased number of visible entrepreneurship initiatives to create maximum impact for GEW. Flagship events include Startup Weekend, Forum of Entrepreneurs and Shark Tank. The slogan for their GEW campaign is "Unite for new opportunities." Partner organizations coordinating events in Nicaragua this year include National Science and Technology Council of Nicaragua (CONICYT), Young Entrepreneurs of Nicaragua, Superior Council of the Private Enterprise (COSEP), Global Shapers, Agora Partnerships and Innovate4Latam.
Junior Achievement of Panama, the official GEW host organization for the Republic of Panama, is engaged in promoting and developing the project “Path to Panamanian Dream” throughout the country. The project’s aim is to raise awareness of all the opportunities in Panama for active and potential entrepreneurs of all ages; including events targeting youths from Kindergarten to 12th grade, events for university students and events for adults looking to pursue their dreams to make a difference.
During GEW, more than 20 local, multiregional and multinational companies will hold simultaneous K-12 entrepreneurial programs in more than 100 school classrooms as part of the closing ceremony. Students from Universidad Tecnológica, Universidad Santa María la Antigua and Universidad Latina will also organize fairs at the university grounds.
As part of its 100th anniversary celebrations, the Panama Canal will launch a video focusing on its educational work in the schools emphasizing the identification and conservation of natural, human and capital resources for the proper functioning of a company.
Videos are a trend in Panama for GEW this year. Companies like Copa Airlines (Project: Fighting Dropout), Scotiabank (Project: Bright Future), Johnson & Johnson (Project: Bridge to Employment), Banistmo (Project: Our Community and its Bank) and CITI (Project: Women Entrepreneurs) will release videos about their respective projects and their impact.
Lastly, promoting female entrepreneurship is an important part of the 2014 agenda. The final sessions for a group of 150 women will be delivered as part of a celebration for women in entrepreneurship.
Fundacion Paraguaya, the official GEW host organization in Paraguay, which earlier this year was one of three first-prize winners of the International Labour Organization’s Call for Good Practices on Youth Employment. Fundacion Paraguay runs financially self-sufficient schools in rural areas of Paraguay to help young people become successful rural entrepreneurs by integrating traditional high-school subjects with practical entrepreneurship training. As the shared winner of the first prize, their project was featured on MTV in May 2014.
As part of this year’s GEW campaign, Fundacion Paraguaya has launched an entrepreneurship school contest, which encourages students to seek solutions to their needs independently by setting up school-based companies as entrepreneurs. The competition will help students plan and run their school companies with the aim of:
- Generating a real income to help finance some of their needs in the school environment;
- Gaining practical experience of managing a real business; and
- Achieving sustainability by growing and developing the business each year.
The winners will be announced at an award ceremony during GEW.
From September 26 – 29, 2014, Fundacion Paraguaya will run a Youth Entrepreneurs Forum that aims to help 250 young people develop entrepreneurial skills. Also leading up to GEW, a program called Business Club will be launched in more than 100 schools around the country, aiming to teach students how to start their own company.
GEW Paraguay will be closing GEW with an “Entrepreneurs’ Night,” an event jointly coordinated with the Youth Ministry, SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprise) Vice-Ministry, the Governorate of Central Department and other authorities. The President of Paraguay, a renowned entrepreneur himself, has confirmed his attendance at the event.
Image Source: Cedim News
Cristina Fernandez contributed to this report.