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Ninjas, speakers kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week


November 15, 2010

Arizona State University’s rich embrace of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit have come full circle this week as the university and community partners dive into a worldwide initiative to inspire the next generation of great thinkers and doers during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).

From learning how the ways of the ninja can make for a stronger business leader to speeches from renowned enterprise developers and more, ASU has teamed up with student organizations and Valley businesses to bring GEW 2010 to Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix like never before.

ASU will contribute to 18 events, Nov. 15-20, most targeted to deliver the message of entrepreneurship to young people in particular.

Renowned social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow Greg Van Kirk spoke to a group in the Cronkite Building about his  revolutionary method to create access to health care for remote Third World countries. Ashoka, Innovators for the Public, is an international organization that focuses on the promotion of social entrepreneurship.

Gordon Shockley, assistant professor of social entrepreneurship in the School of Community Resources and Development, called the opportunity to hear Van Kirk speak “a treat.”

“The benefit is that students will be exposed to an extraordinary individual who has affected great social change,” he said, describing Van Kirk as a pioneer of social entrepreneurship. “It’s a great time to be any kind of entrepreneur at ASU. There is so much going on at GEW in terms of finding resources, mentors and contacts.”

The Young Entrepreneur Mixer (YEM) will give ASU students, staff and faculty an informal platform to learn from other entrepreneurs over food and drinks from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19, at Boulder’s on Broadway.

Curtis Miller, co-founder of Flatterline and a sponsor of YEM says the upcoming meet and greet is to “expand your network, meet potential co-founders and possibly meet investors.” The goal, Miller said, is to provide an opportunity to meet people that may be able to help your startup in a variety of ways. Co-sponsors OrangeSlyce and the ASU Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative will be providing appetizers.

Tyler Metcalf, president of the Entrepreneurs@ASU student organization, helped organize Ninja Training Camp, a surefire favorite during GEW that he says is focused on getting people to think outside the box.

“Participants will get the chance to dress up in official ninja gear or bring their own and learn from Geordie Aitken, world renowned Ninja Trainer and Leadership Consultant,” Metcalf said. 

The training camp event will close out GEW from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 20, in the Memorial Union (room 202). Cost of the program is $15 per person.

“We want to end GEW by stretching the imaginative and creative muscles of all the innovators here at ASU,” Metcalf said. On top of ninja training, winners of the Crown Innovators Scholarships will be announced. “Four students will receive $2,000 Financial Aid scholarships for being creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.”

GEW, an initiative to inspire people to become involved in innovation, imagination and creativity, has grown significantly since its inaugural year in 2008.

Anne Gilberg, GEW's national director of the U.S. campaign, said the importance of GEW has developed name recognition throughout the country.

"Both the number and quality of activities we're seeing planned all over the country is much higher than it was last year," Gilberg said. "Our culture has created more of a need for entrepreneurs to create ways for people to connect with others beyond their local communities."

More than 100 countries will conduct more than 40,000 events next week. An estimated 10 million people will take part in GEW, a surge from the 7 million of 2009 when 88 countries participated.

The United States’ commitment to entrepreneurship last year was abundant, hosting more than 2,000 events stretched across the country with over half a million participants. 

For a complete listing of all 18 events, check out ASU’s GEW website.

Written by Kyle Patton, Office of University Initiatives