This week marks the second annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and business coalition Make Your Mark (based in the United Kingdom). The week coincides with the U.K’s Enterprise Week, and altogether, the events encompassed by these joint celebrations number about 25,000! Over 75 countries are taking part in the festivities, which kicked off in New York yesterday with the ringing of the bell at the New York Stock Exchange immediately followed by a panel discussion between college students and renowned entrepreneurs from an array of industries.
The week serves as a platform for young entrepreneurs to gather with experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other knowledgeable professionals to network, learn and share ideas. Due to the current global recession, many entrepreneurs are becoming disheartened with their work, so this occasion provides a valuable opportunity for them to re-energize, listen to personal experiences and triumphs of other entrepreneurs and refocus their priorities. Did you know that over half of the companies listed on the 2009 U.S. Fortune 500 got their starts during a recession or bear market? If that statistic isn’t a source of inspiration for today’s entrepreneurs, I don’t know what is!
After reading several stories about Global Entrepreneurship Week in the press, I was suddenly hit with the realization that entrepreneurs are the people who make the world go around. Yes, I knew this sub-consciously, but I think I have taken for granted the significant impact that entrepreneurs have played in my life. Change would not be possible without forward-thinking risk-takers. Who can deny that entrepreneurs have been the driving force behind every appliance, product and service in existence? Take, for example, the founders of Pinnacle Promotions, Mitch and Dave Weintraub: they noticed a need in the marketplace for a reliable, efficient online distributor of promotional products. Their entrepreneurial spirit led them to found Pinnacle, and fourteen years later, this company remains at the forefront of innovation and improvement in our industry.
Now, before I turn this post into a list of reasons why I love working at Pinnacle Promotions (I’ll save that for another post, another day!), here are a couple of motivational quotes from the kick-off event for Global Entrepreneurship Week:
“Entrepreneurs that I’ve met who have been really successful, whenever you ask them about why they did it, or how they did it, it’s never about the money, and it’s never about the business plans – it’s always about, ‘I saw the need.’”
-Blake Mycoskie, founder of eco-friendly footwear company TOMS Shoes
“If you can drive authenticity through your market and own that space, you are going to have a sustainable business.”
-Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood Capital Group
“Study what’s missing and what you want to become. It’s 2009 – anything’s possible.”
-Snoop Dogg, Rapper
To learn more about Global Entrepreneurship Week, you can visit http://www.unleashingideas.org/.
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