Global Entrepreneurship Week in the United Kingdom is led by GEN UK. We caught up with co-founder and executive director of GEN UK, Elaine Gold, to discuss how the team will effectively 'relaunch' GEW in the UK. Gold wants to remind people of the campaigns British roots and that there has been tremendous progress and achievements over the span of the last 12 years. The goal of this year's celebration is to connect each part of the ecosystem together, reduce silo working and increase access to learning from each other's successes and failures.
This article is part of a series highlighting successful GEW hosts from around the world.
ABOUT GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK
GEN: When did you decide to get involved in Global Entrepreneurship Week and why?
Gold: The UK has been involved with GEW since the first year it began. In fact, GEW was launched in London by Gordon Brown in 2007 inspired by his initiative, Enterprise Week. The original host for GEW in the UK was Enterprise UK, a government supported organization, and later it moved to Youth Business International. GEN UK took on the role of host this year with the intention of relaunching GEW as a key event in the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and ensure all four nations of the UK are fully engaged.
GEN: How does GEW support the other work that your organization does?
Gold: GEW is an opportunity to engage more directly with entrepreneurs themselves and to showcase the work of out key stakeholders in the ecosystem.
GEN: What do you have planned for GEW 2020?
Gold: 2020 has brought global challenges impacting at the macro level of our economy and at the micro level in terms of how we engage with entrepreneurs. We have partners in universities and also across a range of sectors who have run events in previous years. They are continuing to do so, often running these events virtually.
As GEN UK, we are running a virtual program over the week with workshops and panel discussions happening each day corresponding to the key themes of GEW 2020. In addition, we are curating a great deal of pre-recorded content, short, 60 second video clips of entrepreneurs telling their own story and longer 20 min talks from many of the UK’s entrepreneurship ‘rock stars’ and influencers.
Our virtual program will also feature a ‘Global Fringe’ with sessions run by GEN friends from other countries and some of our contacts across the world.
GEW will be managed via our new community platform, which will enable participants to engage with speakers pre and post GEW and keep the momentum of GEW going beyond the week.
GEN: What do you hope to achieve with GEW 2020?
Gold: We want to effectively ‘relaunch’ GEW UK. We want to remind people that the UK is where GEW was launched and where there has been a lot of progress and achievements.
ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY'S STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
GEN: Tell us about the startup ecosystem in your country. What are its main characteristics? If you could change one thing to make it better, what would it be? Who are the stars of your country’s ecosystem?
Gold: The UK has a very active and sophisticated ecosystem, with many small, medium and large organizations providing support. The challenge and opportunity is to connect each part of the ecosystem together, reduce silo working and increase access to learning from each other’s successes and failures.
YOUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
GEN: How has the COVID19 pandemic impacted your country’s startup ecosystem? What measures are being taken to protect small business owners, if any? — And how do you think GEW will play a role in uniting entrepreneurs during this difficult time?
Gold: The UK government has put in a lot of schemes to support the SME sector, and we have seen a huge rise in the number of new business registration over the past 6 months. These new businesses need support and will need to know where to get support. We believe our workshops during GEW will provide practical support and networking opportunities, which will be supported by our new community platform.