The Island of Entrepreneurship

By Betsy Shaver, VP of Operations

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably used to feeling isolated, misunderstood, or like a lone wolf. Maybe you find this thrilling and it’s why you’re an entrepreneur. Maybe it sometimes feels debilitating and leaves you wondering, “Ok, now what?” As you ponder what to do next. 

If you try to look up exactly how many islands there are in the world, you’ll find no consensus anywhere. In fact, worldatlas.com simply throws its hands up in the air and says “It is impossible to quantify the numbers of islands in the world.” …Thanks? 

But, if you look at a globe, you’ll notice familiar sovereign nation states (like Ireland and the UK); groupings of islands you may have heard about once in some article; and other groupings like Heard Island and McDonald Island that make you wonder, “How did anyone ever find that?” 

Fortunately, there is an organization that is, for entrepreneurs, a globe we can use to see “the big picture.” Appropriately named the Global Entrepreneurship Network and led by President and Co-Founder Jonathan Ortmans, GEN now has a presence in over 160 countries (over 85% of the countries in the world). The GEN mission is “Building one global, entrepreneurial ecosystem” – which it accomplishes “by connecting entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers, and more,” at GEN-hosted events all over the world several times a year.  

You’re Not Alone

As attendees connect organically, an entrepreneur from Belize may discover s/he faces some of the same challenges as someone in Finland. Some are general issues – like securing funding or working with new legislation. Others are very specific issues – like aging rural populations that call into question a nation’s agricultural future. GEN helps entrepreneurs make meaningful connections and often find solutions to their challenges. Through these connections, entrepreneurs grow; and so do their ecosystems.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Every November, GEN is the driving force behind Global Entrepreneurship Week where ecosystems can register their local events on GEN’s website. This year, it runs from November 12 to November 18. These events can be things like pitch competitions, lectures on entrepreneurship, or networking sessions. Using #GEW2018 makes your event visible to other ecosystems, particularly as you promote your event ahead of time to gain interest.

I realize this is probably starting to sound like a paid (or at least solicited) testimonial, and I assure you it is not. Rather, the Global Entrepreneurship Network has helped us on our journey; and can probably help you too. Unless you’re happy with thousands of penguins.