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Starting conversations, starting businesses!

Mark Marich (GEW global)

United Kingdom

Feb 24, 2012


Our idea was simple: let’s use Global Entrepreneurship Week as a way of connecting up aspiring or growing entrepreneurs with the support that they need.

Every day in the UK people talk about making a change in their life, and consider starting up a business. In 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Week aimed to kick-start a national conversation that will help turn these exchanges into the businesses of tomorrow.

This was the message behind the Global Entrepreneurship Week campaign in the UK, run by Youth Business International.

We took to the streets and the internet to create a national conversation throughout the week, running through 2,305 events organised by 914 partners – reaching 213,000 people around the UK. Despite Youth Business International only taking on the role of GEW host in September (taking over the reins from Enterprise UK), we were able to create a larger campaign than in 2010! RBS Group was the sponsor of the week.

We launched the campaign on Monday morning at the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club – one of the largest clubs in the UK, where a national final of students pitching business ideas was about to take place with the Premier League. This event, attended by renowned entrepreneurs, the Minister for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk and the CEO of the Premier League Richard Scudamore, set the tone for the week that was about practical support, celebration and skills-building.

Among many innovative additions to the campaign our online conversation map was incredibly successful. The conversation map – an interactive map, built with open source software, where entrepreneurs could post their ‘asks’ or requests for assistance, and partner organisations or experienced entrepreneurs in their area could respond with ‘offers’ of help. People could tweet their ‘asks’ or ‘offers’ and we put them on the map, creating a national picture of entrepreneurship.

Click here to watch a short film explaining our conversation idea.

We made great use of social media during the campaign, particularly Twitter. Over 2,000 tweets during our campaign mentioned @GEWUK, over 700 people retweeted content and the hashtags that we set up - #GEWUK, #GEWask, #GEWoffer were used nearly 5,500 times!

We also managed to raise the profile of entrepreneurship through a coordinated media campaign which resulted in 70 pieces of media coverage across national, regional, broadcast and online. Particular highlights included a prominent article in the Financial Times, a piece on CNBC on the first day of the campaign, a two page spread in the Independent with some of the country’s up and coming young entrepreneurs and a series of advertisements from our sponsor RBS Group supporting the week.

All in all, our campaign achieved 50 million ‘opportunities to see’, ensuring that Global Entrepreneurship Week acted as a real catalyst for raising awareness of entrepreneurship and encouraging people to get involved in starting, or growing, their business.

Article submitted by Steve Metcalfe of Youth Business International, host of GEW/UK

tags: Mark Prisk, Richard Scudamore, Tottenham Hotspur