In classic entrepreneurial fashion, Global Entrepreneurship Week started with a big idea. In 2007, that idea –  inspiring people to unleash their ideas and take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey –  became an event in 18 countries. By the next year, host organizations in 77 countries came on board, participating in 25,022 events that celebrated innovators who dream big. Today, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) sees 35,000 events happening at the same time in 125 different countries, collectively reaching millions of people of all ages and backgrounds through local, national and global events and activities.

From large-scale startup competitions and workshops to small, community discussions, GEW reaches new audiences and connects participants to a network that can help them take the next step, no matter where they are on their entrepreneurial journey.

Within the United States, nearly 5,000 events, activities and competitions are planned across all 50 states by colleges and universities, entrepreneurial support organizations, government agencies, economic development groups and more. Simply put, GEW is a simple and powerful way to reach beyond your immediate network and connect with potential new partners, funders and members.

For the past eleven years, Penn State’s campuses have participated in GEW. Just this year, Penn State Beaver held its fourth annual Lion’s Den competition where new products were presented to a panel of judges in a "Shark Tank"-style competition. Winners included a biometric nutrition chip that could be implanted and track a person’s nutritional intake and vital statistics, tires that would sense road conditions and automatically adjust to make travel safer and a modernized feminine hygiene product dispenser that would allow the user to purchase products with a credit or debit card. At Penn State Altoona, events in partnership with Altoona Launchbox included presentations like “Is my idea patentable?” and social media ad acceleration workshops.

Carolyn Donaldson, community engagement manager for WPSU, interviews GEW 2018’s keynote speaker, Tanya Wright, a successful actress known for her roles in “Orange is the New Black” and “True Blood.” Tanya is also founder of HAIRiette, a hair care line for people of all ethnicities that she launched with help from Lehigh Valley LaunchBox. IMAGE: PENN STATE

At Penn State University Park, student innovators and community entrepreneurs were invited to explore their potential by connecting with collaborators, mentors and investors during events presented by Penn State Small Business Development Center. Actress and Entrepreneur Tanya Wright was the keynote speaker for the week, speaking at Ruth Pike Auditorium on November 8. Best known for her roles in "Orange is the New Black" and "True Blood," Wright is also founder of HAIRiette, a hair care line for people of all ethnicities that she launched by working with Lehigh Valley LaunchBox.

Highlights of the week included a presentation on Pop Ups by Pop Up Ave founder, Brad Groznik; Brazillian Munchies founder, Flavia Barger; Still Not a Hippie founder, Pamela Luu; and State College Borough Councilman, Dan Murphy, a Veteran Entrepreneurship Presentation focused on transferring lifelong skills learned in the military into life as an entrepreneur, and Creating a Content Strategy presented by radio industry pro and Mix 94.7 host Rob Z.

Colleges within Penn State used the week to promote innovation within their specialties. At the College of Nursing, undergraduate students from the College of Nursing, the College of Information Sciences  and Technology (IST), and the Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) in the College of Health and Human Development participated in the annual mHealth Challenge, with the goal of identifying and finding a way to alleviate a health-related need or concern through a mobile technology solution. This year’s winners were an app for dementia and Alzheimer’s engagement strategies, an app for real-time language translation for first responders; and an app for educating and supporting parents whose child has been diagnosed with cancer.

During GEW, Penn State nursing students addressed health needs in cross-college engaged scholarship competition. IMAGE: PENN STATE


What is Global Entrepreneurship Week?