Israel, Germany Lead List of Winners at GEN Compass Awards

Jessica Wray | March 24, 2016
Photo Credit:

The Global Entrepreneurship Network awarded top honors to Israel and Germany while recognizing organizations from 45 countries for their outstanding effort and commitment to starting and scaling entrepreneurial endeavors in their countries. GEN named the winners during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress at the Compass Awards Ceremony at the Botanical Gardens in Medellín, Colombia.

GEN Israel, represented by Ayla Matalon, received the Compass Award for GEN Country Champions, given to the national affiliate that has made the most progress in establishing a wide-reaching national entity that engages all elements of the country’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and has begun to make an impact in support of new and young businesses.

There were 10 nominees for this year’s Country of the Year award, given to the Global Entrepreneurship Week host with the best overall GEW campaign the previous November. Germany, represented by Sonja Alt, received recognition as Country of the Year for their excellent campaign and innovative programs. Thomas Funke, who leads GEW Germany, has shared research and work with the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network, and shared news and activities with local partners of GEN. The 2015 GEW campaign in Germany also focused on supporting and encouraging women entrepreneurs.


ANDI Colombia and the Mayor of Medellín, Federico Gutiérrez, were honored with a special award to recognize their hard work and commitment to assembling roughly 4,000 entrepreneurship champions from around the world in order to better help new businesses start and scale while sharing Medellín’s entrepreneurial spirit with the world.

GEN also honored Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, with the Compass Award for Policy Champions. The award recognizes collaboration among peers and ground-breaking work toward developing policies that support and encourage new firm formation. Contreras-Sweet is a successful entrepreneur who knows the needs of new founders. She has lead the Global SME Ministerial as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress for the past two years as a way to share best practices on policies and public programs to support entrepreneurs.

The Compass Award for Research Champions is given to highlight someone who has provided creative inspiration and significant contribution to the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network. Dane Stangler, vice president for policy and research at the Kauffman Foundation, was honored for bringing together a global community of those who fund, conduct and apply entrepreneurship research.

GEN recognized the commitment of individuals to grow and encourage new firm formation through innovative ways to promote angel investing and best practices with the Compass Award for Investor Champions. Global Business Angels Network Chairs John May, author of Angels Without Border; Candace Johnson, president of the European Business Angels Network; Claire Munck, president of Be Angels; and Douglas Abrams, chair of the Business Angel Network Southeast Asia.


In addition to the wins by Israel and Germany, Kosovo received the Compass Award for Brand & Community Champions. GEW Kosovo supported its activities thoroughly on social media, including daily announcements regarding the initiatives of partners and programs.

The Rookie of the Year award was given to India, which recognizes the host with the best new overall GEW campaign. St. Lucia received the Champion Catalyzer award for most GEW partners per capita and Bermuda won for most GEW events per capita. Algeria and Brazil took home the Champion Catalyzer awards for most GEW events and partners, respectively.

Desolenator, a water sanitation system that uses solar-power to clean and purify water for drinking, was named the Most Promising Startup. Desolenator, represented by its founder, William Janssen, had won the 2015 Startup Open competition, defeating more than 800 other startups from around the world.

GEN Country Champion:

Finalists: Algeria, Ireland, Greenland, Italy, Kenya, Moldova, Namibia, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea

Country of the Year:

Finalists: Russia, Ecuador, Philippines, Sweden, Bolivia, Jordan, Israel, China, South Korea

Brand & Community Champions

Finalists: Cambodia, Canada, El Salvador, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom

Rookie of the Year

Finalists: Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Qatar, Syria

Champion Catalyzers – Most GEW Partners

Finalists (in order): Algeria, Germany, United States, Poland

Champion Catalyzers – Most GEW Partners Per Capita
St. Lucia

Finalists (in order): Curaçao, Poland, Gabon, Bermuda

Champion Catalyzers – Most GEW Events

Finalists (in order): United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Poland

Champion Catalyzers – Most GEW Events Per Capita

Finalists: Barbados, Mauritius, Algeria, St. Lucia

Most Promising Startup

Finalists: Disease Diagnostic Group (USA), Hop!App (India), Novalact (Chile), Pricelizer (Sweden), SALt (Philippines)

Jessica Wray
Jessica is a former multimedia journalist with a background in print and online media. At the Global Entrepreneurship Network, she creates daily... About the Author