The launch event was held at the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and was attended by Lebanese support organizations, participants and members of the press.
GEW has grown exponentially since its inaugural in 2007; this year, Lebanon is again joining more than 100 countries to bring together aspiring and inspiring entrepreneurs, helping them embrace innovation, originality, imagination and ingenuity through local, national and global activities.
Dr. George K. Najjar, Dean of the Olayan School of Business, stressed on the importance of an entrepreneurship focus in business school curricula to create additional options for young people and tap their enormous talents. “It is important to expose students to entrepreneurship as early as possible” said Najjar. “The beneficiaries, the entrepreneurs of the future, will be the best allies in leading Lebanon’s sustained economic growth, particularly through the knowledge economy sector”, he added.
Edmond Moutran, Chairman and CEO of Memac Ogilvy & Mather, shared with the young entrepreneurs his journey in the advertising grounds, from his humble beginnings of working in a “tiny-billings” agency in Bahrain to heading Ogilvy & Mather, Mindshare and Ogilvy One for the Middle East and North Africa.
“It all started with a vision. You work very hard and the harder you work the luckier you get. Most importantly, if you could do that with $13,000 and two people… today we are 600 people and several hundred millions of dollars worth of business. Imagine what the next 20 years are going to bring” said Moutran. “In brief, I did it my way and will continue to do so”, he added.
Dr. Tony Feghali, Director of the Entrepreneurship Initiative of the Olayan School of Business shared with the audience the vision of GEW Lebanon and its events planned for November, which will entice entrepreneurs to collaborate, share, mentor and compete with one another. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we do everything we can to promote entrepreneurship and innovation” Feghali said. “We are confident and we look forward to the outcome of this unprecedented show of unity and celebration in Lebanon.”
In a reversal of roles, representatives of the partner organizations delivered one-minute pitches outlining the type of support they offer. During a reception following the presentations, participants visited partners’ tables to discuss their needs and business ideas and to learn the details of the various types of support and services each partner offers.
Co-founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the world’s largest foundation dedicated to entrepreneurship, and Enterprise UK, a business-led, government-backed campaign in the United Kingdom, GEW helps develop young people’s knowledge, skills and networks to inspire them to grow sustainable enterprises. The net outcome is a positive impact on participants’ lives, families and communities. Students, educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, employees, non-profit leaders, government officials and others will participate in a host of activities that are virtual and face-to-face events, large-scale competitions and intimate networking gatherings.
Lebanon has taken part in GEW since 2007, through GEW-related activities organized by Berytech and Rootspace.
Global businesses supporting GEW in Lebanon include: AllWorld Network, ArabNet/IBAG, Berytech Fund, Berytech Technology & Health, Beyond Reform & Development, Bader Young Entrepreneurs Program, Berytech Technological Pole, Cedrus Ventures, Cisco Entrepreneur Institute at AMIDEAST/Lebanon, Devine Media, Entrepreneurship Initiative at the Olayan School of Business, Executive Magazine, Family Business Unit at the Lebanese American University, Hibr, Kafalat, Lebanese League for Women in Business, Lebanon Creative Cluster, Maurice Fadel Business Plan Competition, Middle East Venture Partners, MIT Arab Business Plan Competition, Potential, Push Magazine, Riyada Enterprise Development, Rootspace, Seeqnce, SMEXbeirut, SouthBIC, Yallastartup, YAWE.
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