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Friday Focus: Getting Involved with Global Entrepreneurship Week

Nov 15, 2013

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) officially kicks off Monday to celebrate and recognize self starters and innovators with activities and events to challenge new faces on the start-up scene.

GEW, which features discussions about the trials and successes of launching businesses, has grown significantly since its 2007 launch, which was led by Jonathan Ortmans and Carl Schramm, the former president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, and Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of the UK. Last year, presidents and prime ministers from 20 countries supported GEW, and many spoke at the headlining activities. This year, the initiative -- powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and sponsored by Dell -- has expanded to 139 countries.

President Barack Obama declared November as National Entrepreneurship Month, noting in a 2011 proclamation that "visionaries play a critical role in sparking new industries, expanding our economy, and generating new job growth across our country."

Here are three programs and events out of many intended to strengthen entrepreneurial systems and the start-up engagement around the globe.

Your Big Year Event

This international competition, running through Nov. 20, identifies and rewards youth taking social action on a global level. The competition will be hosted by producer, director and actor Giancarlo Esposito (of "Breaking Bad")  in San Francisco. The winner will be named the "World Merit ambassador" and will have the opportunity to travel across five continents to work on community programs and speak at conferences to promote youth leadership.

"I am extremely fortunate to enjoy a career which I feel 100 percent passionate about," Esposito said in a news release. "I became an Ambassador of Culture for World Merit because I wanted to encourage World Merit members to establish a career path which they too feel truly committed to. I truly believe that if you find a career path which you enjoy and you commit time to working on this every day -- you will succeed."

DIY Entrepreneurship Challenge

The Do-it-yourself challenge is designed for the youngest self-starters on the planet: those between the ages of 7 and 15. Participants can follow a few steps to earn an official GEW entrepreneurship badge, and winners will receive a range of prizes, from a MakerBot Replicator2 3D modeling printer to a Shapeoko 2 milling machine.

Participants can follow the the steps here.

Global Startup Battle

For 54 hours starting this weekend, all types of entrepreneurs, from marketers to developers, will team up to draft concepts for start-up businesses. GEW estimates that nearly 200 cities around the world are expected to host events and compete for prizes. Starting today, teams will submit pitches on concepts, and by Sunday each team will exhibit their prototypes and receive expert opinions on their visions.

Related: Read about one entrepreneurship success story here.