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Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off in Australia

Tuesday, 13 November 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Global Entrepreneurship Week has kicked off with a bang in Australia, with a lengthy list of events tipped to provide plenty of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.


GEW, an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, aims to inspire people to become entrepreneurs while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and investors.


In four years, GEW has expanded to 130 countries including Australia. Yesterday, online entrepreneur Matt Barrie, founder of Freelancer.com, officially opened GEW Australia.


The goal of GEW Australia, led by an organisation called The FRANK Team, is to highlight and “stamp” Australian businesses on the global stage.


According to Barrie, the only way Australia can “punch above its weight” on a global scale is through entrepreneurship, particularly technology entrepreneurship, hence his support for GEW.


Prime Minister Julia Gillard also voiced her support, wishing participants a “stimulating” time, while US President Barack Obama declared November as National Entrepreneurship Month.


GEW Australia will feature more than 100 events, including Startup Weekends in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide. Here is a selection of some of the other potential highlights:


Filming of The Startup Kids (Darwin, November 17)


The Startup Kids is a documentary about young web entrepreneurs in the United States and Europe.


It contains interviews with the founders of Vimeo, Soundcloud, Kiip, InDinero, Dropbox and Foodspotting, who talk about how they started their companies and their lives as entrepreneurs.


Networking night with Damian Kay (Sydney, November 14)


Damian Kay is the co-founder and managing director of Telcoinabox, which is now an $80 million business.


Kay will share his experiences as a business builder, outlining lessons learnt and tips for success.


Grants Connector (Sydney, November 14)


Grants Connector aims to build a bridge between those who need grants and assistance to run their business, and those who run the programs or facilitate access to them.


Attendants will meet representatives from all the major government grants organisations on federal, state and local levels as well as the leading advisors and consultants in the grants space.


Meanwhile, social start-up Learnmed was the only Australian venture to make it into the top 50 businesses for GEW’s Startup Open competition, battling for the title of the world’s best start-up.


Learnmed, founded by Dr Tessa Davis, aids paediatric care in remote Aboriginal communities.


The top 50, chosen from more than 400 applications, included start-ups from 17 countries, representing industries including clean tech, life sciences, agriculture and transportation.


The competition was won by Dropifi, a tech start-up from Ghana, which has built a web messaging platform designed to supersede the traditional “Contact us” form.


Dropifi replaces “Contact us” buttons with a smart widget that allows companies to better analyse and organise incoming messages.


Co-founder David Osei received an all-expenses-paid trip to Rio de Janeiro to serve as an official delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2013.


According to GEW president Jonathan Ortmans, Dropifi “has a very promising future”.