Global Entrepreneurship Week: Successful and aspiring entrepreneurs gather worldwide


A passenger boat crosses a river in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China. (CARLOS BARRIA/REUTERS)

The event’s leading sponsor, the Kauffman Foundation, released a poll Thursday showing that the United States’ “millennial” generation is eager to start its own ventures — but only after the economy picks up some more steam. The nationwide cellphone and landline survey was conducted by the Young Invincibles along with Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research and had 872 participants ages 18 to 34.

The economic downturn was the reason 38 percent of respondents delayed starting their own business, with only 11 percent intending to do so within the next year and 8 percent having done so already. Minority participants were particularly eager to get started, with 64 percent of Latinos and 63 percent of African Americans saying they would like to start their own small business. But contractions in the global economy have held many of them at bay, with only 5 percent of African American and 6 percent of Latino respondents owning their own businesses.

The group also had a message for Congress: 65 percent were in favor of lawmakers prioritizing making it easier to start a business. The message comes a little less than two weeks after President Obama proclaimed November 2011 National Entrepreneurship Month, citing the need for greater loan access, a leading concern among African American and Latino respondents, and the role events such as Global Entrepreneurship Week stood to play in fostering connections and partnerships between successful and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Global Entrepreneurship Week was started in 2008 by former prime minister Gordon Brown of Britain and Kauffman Foundation President and chief executive Carl Schramm. The gathering now claims 24,000 partner organizations with 37,000 activities and 7 million individual participants.

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