About the event
This week was created in 2008 by the Global Entrepreneurship Network. It’s designed to encourage potential entrepreneurs, especially young people, to start their own businesses. The network seeks to highlight the positive impact that entrepreneurs can have, particularly in terms of innovation and sustainable development. Special focus is given to creating a good environment for entrepreneurs in lesser resourced places such as in developing countries. Every year entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and some 25,000 organisations are involved to educate about entrepreneurship and improve entrepreneurial opportunities.
How to approach it
The definition of good business and entrepreneurship is changing. Before, emphasis has been placed on contributing to growth, producing value, innovating and ensuring dynamic competition. Now, we must recognise that businesses and entrepreneurs have a responsibility to improve economic equality, social justice and sustainability.
This new model of business often revolves around collective or community ownership where resources are shared for the benefit of those operating the business. It also involves low emission, ecological business practices that contribute to climate action such as using recycled materials, producing green energy or drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere.
It’s important for this week to inspire students with these new kinds of regenerative practices. First you could explore what being an entrepreneur may have meant in the past. Ask your class to say what first comes to mind when one thinks of an entrepreneur. This might be someone who starts a tech company such as Bill Gates right down to small business owners who take the risk of opening up a shop or small company. Then explain what the old entrepreneurial mindset was like: namely to make big profits and sell a company for large sums of money.
Next, you can explain what this new entrepreneurial mindset is like. In particular, it's one in which we make sure that our business or organisation is having a good effect on the people and planet around it. You could ask your class to discuss what this kind of business would look like. Finally, ask: if you could start a business or social enterprise that tackled one of the key issues facing humanity, what would it be? How would the business be structured? What issue(s) would it contribute to? How would it be low carbon and have a good effect on the community around it?
Business used to be about solely making profit. Now, entrepreneurs and businesses are expected to help make our society and environment better places to live. If you could start one business that helped make the world a better place what would it be? What issue would it tackle? What would you produce or sell?