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We talk ‘Global Entrepreneurship Week UK’ with the Chief Executive himself…

Monday is the first day of Global Entrepreneurship Week…so who better to speak to than Andrew Devenport, the Chief Executive of Youth Business International, the hosts of GEW UK, to find out ‘what is it all about?’

Hi there Andrew, Can you start by just explaining a little about GEW and how it started?

Global Entrepreneurship Week began life as Enterprise Week in the UK back in 2004. When news of the

phenomenal success of Enterprise Week in the UK spread the globe, lots of other countries got excited about the potential of running similar initiatives in their own countries. So in 2008, Enterprise UK and the Kauffman Foundation (the world’s largest entrepreneurship foundation based in the US) founded the very first Global Entrepreneurship Week. In 2011, Youth Business International became the national host for Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK.
Since its inception, Global Entrepreneurship Week has spread to 115 countries, with nearly 24,000 organisations planning more than 37,000 activities. As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010 in the UK, over 207,200 people attended 2,577 events, run by 983 organisations.

So, why is it so important?

“The future of our economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas, resolving to make them a reality and having the vision to create wealth and jobs. I know how free-thinking, inventive and enterprising the British people are so I’m confident about that future.” David Cameron, UK Prime Minister

We believe that a large national campaign to promote entrepreneurship is a vital part of making the UK more entrepreneurial, to encourage more people to start up their own business. The challenge we face is simple: whilst more than half of the population would like to start their own business, less than 5% actually do. These entrepreneurial ambitions are even more acute among certain demographic groups – particularly among young people and women. Young people in the UK are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults, and more than twice as many men start up businesses as women.

Yet mass participation in activities designed to promote entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking can have proven outcomes in addressing these issues. Global Entrepreneurship Week – which began life in the UK back in 2004 as Enterprise Week – is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship and is recognised by organisations all over the UK as the highlight of the entrepreneurship calendar.

As a result of last year’s campaign:

  • Young people who attended events during the week said that they were 35% less likely to put off by fear of failure
  • Some 45% of participants said that they were more likely to grow their business after attending an event during the week.
  • There was an increase of 60% in the number of participants who considered entrepreneurship as a good career choice after the week.

How does it work and how do our readers find out if there is anything going on near where they live? 

There are hundreds of conferences, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities taking place across the UK. Find out what’s happening in your area or industry. You can also find out what advice is being offered in your area or what local entrepreneurs need to take their ventures forward. Those interested should visit www.gew.org.uk

What do you hope to achieve this year?

There is a great need to provide opportunities today that help entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and build
 the businesses of tomorrow. Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 will kick-start the conversations that are needed to make this happen. Every day in the UK people talk about making a change in their life and consider starting up a business. By connecting individuals to practical support and those who have done it already, Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 will help turn these exchanges into the businesses of tomorrow.

Can GEW help combat the recession and what type of impact can it have on individuals who are currently unemployed or have recently been made redundant?

There is never a bad time to set up a good business – and by giving young people the confidence, skills and ambition to be enterprising we can ensure that when they do set up businesses they are as prepared as they can be. Those setting up now should take full advantage of the network of support organisations available and should learn from those who have already made their mark.

But don’t forget – enterprise extends beyond just starting and growing businesses. Being enterprising is the ability of individuals, groups and businesses to respond to change, take risks, to innovate and to generate and implement new ideas and new ways of doing things. Enterprising behaviours will always be in
demand and necessary to remaining an economically competitive country. Against a backdrop of massive global economic challenges, we need to unlock the talent and potential of everyone in the UK, using enterprise and the entrepreneurial opportunity as the key. Entrepreneurial attitudes and confidence will be the key to future economic competitiveness. We hope to pave the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs who understand the global impact of their actions. And through events that focus on social enterprise recognise that an increasing number of people are committed to a form of enterprise which has positive impact on society and the environment…

Thank you Andrew for your time and good luck to you and the team this week!

TheEmployable is supporting Global Entrepreneurship week by running a series of high profile interviews and articles all week. Keep an eye out for who we have in store! 

To find out more about TheEmployable and to follow TheEmployable Movement click this link!


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