Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is around the corner, arguably the biggest celebration of entrepreneurship in the world. Every year, over 140 countries have their own version of GEW where they encourage, inspire and motivate current and future job creators to continue to innovate and reach new frontiers. It will take place from the 17th to the 23rd of November and South Africa so far has 32 partners and over 93 activities, so there is something for everyone.
The state of GEW South Africa partially contributed to the development of Red Case. While doing research, I had read that in 2012, Brazil had 1.6 million participants, the Island of Barbados had 199 000 participants whereas South Africa only had 2 309 and this was largely due to people not being aware that there was GEW. Since I now have the platform, I strongly encourage you to attend.
There are many reasons why you should go but there’s one in particular that I would like to stress. One that I will introduce with this excerpt.
“…I was nervous about joining the league and still had doubts about the extent of my time, and had little time outside those two activities (work and studying). I also possessed a certain insecurity, feeling politically backward compared to Walter (Sisulu), (Anton) Lembede and (A.P.) Mda. They were men who knew their minds, and I was, as yet, unformed. I still lacked confidence as a speaker, and was intimidated by the eloquence of so many of those in the league.” (words in italics are mine for context and clarity)
A short extract from Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.
I’m a bit surprised by the fact that our great former president was ever insecure… I mean considering the 27years in prison, Nobel Peace Prize and how he’s loved and respected. Really? Well, I guess he was human after all.
More relevant to my argument is the company he kept. Lets put this in context, this was in the early 1940s, in Soweto and Mandela was in his early 20s and just getting immersed in politics. Although we know him as a giant today, back then he was still learning about himself and the political systems at the time.
There is no doubt that he was influenced by individuals such as Walter Sisulu, Anton Lembede, Nana Sita, George Bizos, Ahmed Kathrada and a host of other political heavy hitters, who played a crucial role in moulding the hero that is Mandela.
Greatness, my friend, is contagious.
This is a consistent principle in the stories of people who’ve changed the world – Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, both giants of physics and won many awards were friends who admired and criticized each other’s work.
The founders of PayPal who would go on to be billionaires – most notably Reid Hoffman, who would go on to start LindedIn; Elon Musk, later founded Telsa and Space Exploration (SpaceX) and Peter Thiel who went to be a successful venture capitalist.
Stories that reflect this principle are countless.
Go to a couple of GEW events to be inspired, motivated and encouraged.
Go to be challenged, made to feel insecure about your efforts and eventually resolve to do more.
But most importantly, go to build networks with future innovators, inventors and people who are crazy enough to believe that they can change the world and allow those individuals influence and mould that which is great in you.
Global Entrepreneurship Week