This blog post is part of a series of real-time blogs, which review and reflect upon the ideas and discussions which have surfaced during the sessions which GLI team members have been present at during the GEC.
In this blog post Ziyu interrogates the notion of ‘the power of the people’ which arose in discussions at the GEC.
By Ziyu Huang
The opening address of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) 2016 was a joint welcome by Jonathan Ortmans, President of the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Chair of GEC; Cecilia Álvarez-Correa, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism in Colombia; Federico Gutiérrez, Mayor of Medellín; and Bruce Mac Master, President of the National Business Association of Colombia. It was an informative opening with each speaker emphasizing an important and shared vision for the role of entrepreneurship: the power of people.
Throughout the sessions so far, we were constantly reminded of the importance of hope and persistence. Medellin is an inspiration in the history of entrepreneurship because, as Ortmans put it, “people decided to fight for the reconciliation and rebranding of the city”. In Medellin, there is still much room for more expansion and development of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as resources are not yet maximised. It is not hard to imagine what the people of Medellin are capable of in the future with their burning passion to make life better by harnessing the overall potential of the city.
With these bold steps into the future there are exists exciting expectations and manifold possibilities. Ortmans reminded us at the beginning of the congress that entrepreneurship today is not simply for commercial purposes, but something more profound. It is about the “possibilities of human endeavours”.
What is important is not what has already been done, but what more we can do to ensure the continuity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is so vital for entrepreneurial endeavours to prosper.
In accounting for the future of entrepreneurship, Federico Gutierrez, Mayor of Medellin, emphasised that we have to first invest in education. Indeed, for entrepreneurship to continue thriving, we have to empower the next generation so that the entrepreneurial community becomes enduring and stronger. Ortmans mentioned that we have a lot of young people now who see the glass half-full; are well-connected; and passionate to change the world. He predicted that the millennial generation would bring about a new wave of value creation on top of fostering economic growth. They will be the ones creating impacts from grassroots level and, at the same time, pushing for institutions to produce more efficient methods to engage new values in societies.
With the existence of bold and creative entrepreneurs, driven by ambitious social goals, we have to promote their beliefs and solutions to the world so that their ideas could be optimised and that more individuals could be inspired to create even better solutions. Elmira Bayrasli, author of the book From the Other Side of the World, encouraged delegates to help share stories of entrepreneurs to different parts of the world so that narratives of each country could be changed. She recalled her encounters with entrepreneurs in Pakistan who worked towards materialising their innovative ideas despite not being understood by their own community. It is such persistence and strong belief in creating a better world that should be proliferated for a brighter future of entrepreneurship and, subsequently, humanity.
To sum up, people are the body and heart of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Cities with the potential for exponential growth and value creation have to remember that investing in and supporting its own people is the best way to maintain and strengthen the chain of hope, passion and possibilities made only possible with a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. The future awaits for more interesting ideas and values to be produced by the future generations of entrepreneurs.
Ziyu is a Sociology (BA) student and is currently doing her dissertation on entrepreneurial inclinations. She has a keen interest in research and activities related to entrepreneurship and believes in the future of entrepreneurship for a better world.