Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a campaign from the Global Entrepreneurship Network that is run around the world to raise awareness and support for entrepreneur activities. The 2019 GEW runs from 18 to 24 November and involves over 10 million people, 35,000 events, and 170 countries focused on entrepreneurship.

Our aim this year is to identify how many events are run across the country not just for the week, but also to provide a tool for entrepreneur support organisations year round that we can build on for future GEWs.

There are hundreds of events run every day across the nation. Events support regional Australia like Startup Huddle in Mandurah, WA, young people with the National Brilliant Business Kids festival in NSW, major festivals such as Southstart in SA, an entire month for business in NT, pitch nights in Tasmania, or drop into coworking at RCL in Queensland. GEW celebrates these events around the world during one week in November.

The week raises a few questions. Exactly how many events are run during GEW? Are more events run during GEW than other weeks? Who runs them? What are the focus? Are there similar events happening in my region? How many are available for young people? Established businesses? In regional areas? Specific technologies such as blockchain, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, or advanced manufacturing?

Also, will a focus on GEW make a measurable difference in support for entrepreneurs, or simply increase the voice to the choir of entrepreneur support?

We look to explore the answer to these questions as we celebrate GEW this year across Australia. Typically with GEW, we ask event organisers to update a separate platform so we can see their events. This can be a challenge. When I ran a hub I spent about 8 hours per week spinning up just our 2 to 3 events each week, including securing speakers, creating content and banners, updating multiple platforms, managing multiple social channels, and promoting to other organisations, and more. One more platform may seem like a small addition but it can be a big ask.

There are some great local systems that emerged to address these challenges. TechSydney by RamenLife and LaunchVic’s Melboure Laneways are two promising local examples, and StartupAus has a list of major festivals. But there remains a gap in knowing about innovation and entrepreneur-related events at a national level across Australia and in regions that do not have coverage from a single system.

So for 2019 we are integrating with major platforms including EventBrite, Meetup, and Humanitix to grab events related to entrepreneurial activity. This is through searching for keywords in some cases, and connecting event platform organisers and venues to the 1600 organisations already mapped in Australia that support the entrepreneur journey. Some platforms like Facebook and Sticky Tickets are a bit more challenging due to different approaches for integration. It is not perfect, but we will give it a go for 2019, develop our minimum viable product, and see what we can learn and build on for next year.

Below is a screen shot from behind the scenes. Our aim is to make the calendar of events public for the start of GEW next week, which can also be a tool for local organisers to coordinate and avoid overlap of topics through the year.

This project began with the same question that drives most of our work: “How can we help? What will add the most value?” When we polled entrepreneur support organisations, a single portal for events ranked high on the wish list.

As always, feedback and comments welcome. It will be a big weekend of mapping the activity for next week, and we will update through next week. For those supporting activity year round for entrepreneurs giving it a go, you have our collective gratitude.

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