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Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week

South Africa will get an early start to the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) when Virgin Group founder Richard Branson kicks it off today at the launch of the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s (GEN) new startup campus 22 on Sloane in Johannesburg.

The campus, the first of its kind to be opened by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, will offer both direct and virtual support services to entrepreneurs throughout Africa.

Across the world, next week between 13 and 19 November — as part of (GEW) — more than 160 countries around the world will host roughly 35 000 events where people will celebrate and talk about entrepreneurship.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week is now in its 10th year, last year 8.6 million people took part in GEW activities

But just how did this movement start and what actual impact has it had?

Since its launch in 2008, GEW –an initiative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) — has been led by GEN president Jonathan Ortmans and is largely supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation with the assistance of other partner organisations.

By getting people to talk about innovation and their experiences running their own businesses, GEW aims to inspire interest in entrepreneurship.

In a statement in August, GEN estimated that about 50 million people have so far taken part in activities linked to entrepreneurship since the event’s inception. The 2017 GEN Impact report states that last year alone 8.6 million people participated in GEW events worldwide.

In addition with the assistance of local partners, GEW organisers raised $145-million to support entrepreneurship in local communities.

“In a relatively short period of time, communities and countries everywhere have come to understand the need to support their most innovative citizens,” Ortmans said.

“Global Entrepreneurship Week provides an opportunity to expand their reach to new audiences from all parts of their local ecosystem and foster connections and resources that enable them to thrive,” he added.

This year, GEW expects to reach 10 million people across 35 000 events in over 160 countries.

Interested in taking part in one some of the GEW activities? There are over 20 events listed on South Africa’s GEW page, while Nigeria has about 30 GEW events happening across the country.

Find an event near you: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana

Read more: Apply for residency at Johannesburg-based startup campus 22 ON SLOANE
Read more: Tshimologong to offer free membership during Global Entrepreneurship Week