Last week marked Global Entrepreneurship Week, both in the UK and in over 130 other countries around the world, something even someone with just a passing interest in starting up can't fail to have noticed. As you'd expect with such a huge scale event - last year over 7.5 million people around the world got involved - various reports and initiatives have been launched to mark the week.
As an entrepreneur on my way to setting up a business here in the UK, but hailing from another country (I've been living in the UK for four years but am from Iran), I'm always especially interested to hear about research that compares young entrepreneurs in different countries. It's a topic that's often investigated. Findings published so far this week have revealed for example that: entrepreneurs in Australia, Barbados, Canada and the UK are all making particularly positive revenue predictions (research from Youth Business International (YBI) and Barclays); the UK's rate for converting potential young entrepreneurs into business owners is around half that in Singapore and China (YBI again, with Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Shell LiveWIRE); and, while 39% of people in Europe can imagine owning their own business, fear of failure is stopping 70% from taking the plunge (Amway).
This is all intriguing, but rather than looking for similarities and differences between different countries, personally I'd rather hear about how entrepreneurs in different countries are being brought together and how knowledge, skills and opportunities are being shared across national borders which, let's face it, in this global, digital world don't actually mean that much.
So, it's the truly global elements of Global Entrepreneurship Week that have really captured my interest. The talent scouts from the Sirius Programme for example - more news on how my business idea for this is coming along next time - have been roaming the globe this week talking to budding graduate entrepreneurs from countries like Mexico and Romania about how they can bring their business ideas to the UK and get support to start up. Another exciting event is something the University of Chester are running. Students have been challenged with turning £10 into as much profit as they can in a set time period with the aim of generating enough for a plane ticket to Moscow so they can join forces with young entrepreneurs from around the world next year at the Global Entrepreneurships Congress.
I'd like to see more opportunities like these for cross-fermentation of ideas between entrepreneurs in far flung locations. While I think the UK is the best place for me and my team to make my business idea a reality, I recognise that I have lots to learn from those that have gone before me, regardless of where they are based. The more ways we can create for people to come together and share knowledge and experience, the better entrepreneurs we will become. This, in turn, will make our businesses more likely to flourish.
The next deadline for entry to the Sirius Programme is 30 November and the final deadline is 15 January 2014 - apply now at www.siriusprogramme.com.