THE BLOG

Creating Connections, Creating Jobs

17/11/2014 14:51 GMT | Updated 16/01/2015 10:59 GMT

As CEO of a global network, I'm a firm believer in the strength of global connectivity - what people can learn, and achieve, when they connect with people from different countries.

Today's successful entrepreneurs are thinking like this, too. An entrepreneur now can start up a business in the UK and be selling overseas in much less time that it would take to get a lease on a shop. They can collaborate with other entrepreneurs from around the world, they can take ideas from one part of the world and bring them to another region, and they can save costs by finding suppliers from outside of their home territory.

This is important, because this cross-border collaboration breeds innovation, and its innovation which brings so many benefits to community in terms of economic development and job creation.

I want more entrepreneurs to become part of an ever more connected business community - to provide them with the inspiration, confidence and support to grow their business idea into something special.

And that's where Global Entrepreneurship Week, which starts today, comes in.

One of the most impressive things about Global Entrepreneurship Week is the sheer scale of it - taking place in 150 countries, all across the world. This gives unprecedented opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs, competitions and initiatives happening in many different countries.

Youth Business International has been an important part of Global Entrepreneurship Week since its inception - not just in the UK, where our campaign was selected as the best of the 130 national campaigns running in 2013, but also in 10 other countries around the world, where our members act as national hosts.

Since the creation of GEW six years ago - inspired from the UK's original Enterprise Week - a whole host of initiatives have developed to support the evolution of a global start-up community.

This week, for example, sees the global final of Get in the Ring, a Dutch programme which connects entrepreneurs with investors and inspires others to start their entrepreneurial journey. In Denmark, the Creative Business Cup will take place this week, where UK finalist Clowdy, a file-sharing platform, will be competing against other creative industry entrepreneurs from around the world.

And ideas exchange during GEW is not just for individual entrepreneurs - it is for policymakers, too. Later this week, the Global Entrepreneurship Index will be launched, helping to circulate understanding of what policies and programs are needed to spur a more entrepreneurial environment.

Its not just about high tech, high growth entrepreneurs, either. Youth Business International believes strongly that we need to support the full range of entrepreneurs, and this week we're launching a series of case studies which show how all kinds of entrepreneurs can benefit from building connections internationally.

These range from Maryam Kabouh, importing dresses from Germany and the USA into the Netherlands with her http://cloozy.nl/ business, to Pharag Mhetre, a fitness trainer from India who has just run a kettlebell bootcamp in the UK.

And in the UK, we've been really encouraged by how many events during Global Entrepreneurship Week do have a global focus. On Tuesday, Nacue's Startup Career Launchpad will feature a section on going global, and the Startup Summit in Edinburgh will profile a filmmaker who has created a film about women entrepreneurs in Uganda. In Hull, tomorrow a group of students will connect to like-minded people in South Africa, via a Google Hangout.

And on Friday, I'm particularly excited that Nobel prize winner Muhammad Yunus will talk to students at the London School of Economics about his unique perspective on entrepreneurship.

The UK is rightly renowned for its openness and connectivity to other nations. And as this year's Global Entrepreneurship Week shows, this connectivity can only be a good thing for our up and coming entrepreneurs.

If you've managed to make some useful entrepreneurial connections this week, let us know by tweeting and using the hashtag #GEWConnect.

Youth Business International runs Global Entrepreneurship Week in the UK, in partnership with Barclays.