It was quite an exciting week for entrepreneurship in London! Each day this week there has been events taking place at various locations across the city in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Running this year from Nov. 17th-23rd, GEW is a worldwide celebration of entrepreneurship across 140 countries that encourages citizens to understand their potential as self-starters and innovators. Past participants include the likes of Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and a shark on ABC’s entrepreneurial pitch competition Shark Tank.
Many different clubs and organizations in London have been involved in activities promoting entrepreneurship for GEW. I’ve had an opportunity to attend a website building workshop put on by Codeful at UnLondon’s new 121 Studios, a Startup Showcase at Western jointly hosted by Nspire, and the Western Founders Network and an entrepreneurship lunch organized by the Ivey Entrepreneurship Club. Highlighting some of London’s emerging startups, I took in presentations from Rockwell Razors, Textbooks for Change, Ezzy Lynn, and Pod, just to name a few. The week has really impressed me with the amount of entrepreneurial resources in London; from skill-building workshops, to maker spaces, startup work spaces like the new Western Student Entrepreneurship Centre, and our own MVP Lab and the other organizations around town like the Small Business Centre. The collaborative work spaces these organizations provide is key to building up London’s startup scene.
Innovative ecosystems like Silicon Valley have the infrastructure and funding to support startups, but what really sets them apart is the opportunity for entrepreneurial people to work and share ideas in collaborative work spaces. When you have like-minded people with different skillsets in the same room (ie: business vs. technical), great teams can emerge, and companies can be founded. Without the shared space, these people may have never met otherwise and missed an opportunity to turn a great idea into a sustainable business. I’m really hopeful that with more spaces in London where innovators can gather (including entrepreneurship events!) better teams will be built that can bring great ideas to market and grow London’s economy.
It’s been fantastic to see the London startup community in action this week. If you missed some of the events I’ve linked a few of the organizations involved below. And be sure to mark your calendars for GEW 2015 November 16th-22nd!
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week,