Get ready to celebrate entrepreneurship around the globe!

Running from 12-18 November, the Global Week of Entrepreneurship will engage over seven million people in inspiring activities across 125 countries around the globe.

Initiated in 2007 by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown  and Carl Schramm, former President and CEO of Kauffman Foundation, the event aims to stimulate young people to develop innovative and creative ideas,  unleash their passions, and act on opportunities.

The Netherlands embraced the idea from the start and won the “Country of the Year” award in 2010 for its rich programme of activities, organized by HOPE.

There are more than 80 events lined up across the country for this year’s edition of GEW Netherlands, which will kick off on Monday in Wageningen. The programme will continue on Tuesday with Green Urban Solutions in Utrecht  and the GEW Congress in Maastricht. Various flagship activities will be held in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Utrecht on Wednesday and Thursday and Groningen will close the week with the Finals University Business Battle. GEW participants are encouraged to take part in the programme of activities across the country but registration is separately handled by each city.

GEW’12 Netherlands Programme

Maastricht started celebrating the Global Week of Entrepreneurship in 2009 and has been chosen to hold this year’s flagship conference under the theme “Good to great.”

The conference, organized by a team of zealous Maastricht University students and alumni  in collaboration with the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship, will feature world-renowned entrepreneurs such as Marc van der Chijs, founder of Tudou in China, Bert Habets, CEO of RTL Netherlands and Femke Stevens, founder of Oil and Vinegar.

Both Marc van der Chijs and Bert Habets are Maastricht University alumni and the organizing team is very pleased to welcome them back to their alma mater and offer them a stage to inspire tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

“It’s not going to be a good but a great conference,” says GEW Maastricht Project Coordinator Thijs Geradts. “Tudou is a Nasdaq listed company valued at over 1 billion dollars. Its founder is a UM alumnus, so his testimonial will be a great example for students of what can be achieved.”

Held at the Gouvernement, birthplace of the euro, GEW Maastricht 2012 intends to live up to its theme.

On Wednesday the Governor of Limburg, Theo Bovens, will hand over the University Fund Next Generation Hero Award worth 10.000 euros of seed capital to the winning team of the GEW Maastricht’s business plan competition. Entrepreneurs Marc van der Chijs and Maikel Beerens will be present at the prize ceremony, which will be followed by a networking drink.

On Thursday, a hand-picked group of students will join an Innovation Safari to DSM, a Limburg-based multinational life sciences company, where they will meet the Vice-President of Open Innovation Robert Kirschbaum. Kirschbaum annually handles around one billion euros worth of investments in new venture creation and is known as the creator of the “Innovation Funnel” used by strategy and innovation guru Henry Chesbrough.

With such a programme, the Maastricht team has surely raised the bar for student-organized events and is ready to represent Maastricht and the province of Limburg at this year’s Global Week of Entrepreneurship.

By Ana Mihail

Ana Mihail is a student in International Business Economics at Maastricht University and team member of GEW Maastricht 2012.

Useful links:

GEW Netherlands website:
GEW Maastricht website:
Local Heroes website:
Innovation Safari website:

Photographs: GEW Maastricht 2011

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