Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization that provides a platform of programs and initiatives to help new firms start and scale within one global entrepreneurial ecosystem. GEN is headquartered in Washington, DC, but operates in 170 countries where it works to foster healthier local ecosystems to help entrepreneurs unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world. Ortmans launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 alongside former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and leadership of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Each November since then, millions of people are welcomed into the entrepreneurial culture through thousands of local GEW activities and competitions.Through building GEW, he assembled a broad multi-disciplinary coalition that is the backbone of GEN operations, including entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations. Ortmans also chairs the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that gathers well over 5,000 leaders each April from the entrepreneurial ecosystems GEN serves to collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth. After launching it in 2009 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, he has now chaired the GEC in Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Milan, Medellin, Johannesburg and Istanbul. The GEC will be held in Bahrain in April 2019.
As an economist, Ortmans worked on Capitol Hill and served as CEO of a health care and trade policy think tank. His experience includes two successful startup exits. He has served as a longtime advisor to the Kauffman Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, beyond chairing the Boards of dozens of GEN affiliates, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow. Ortmans speaks and writes about high-growth entrepreneurship regularly and has emerged as a global strategist for healthier ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world.