CELEBRATE | November 17, 2016

GEW Switzerland Packed With Events Bringing in GEN Country Affiliation

Photo Credit: Flickr | ITU Pictures


Switzerland’s linguistic and cultural diversity also reflects on the Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations, which are multilingual and organized by many partner organizations. Switzerland is now also in the process of establishing a Global Entrepreneurship Network country affiliate, which will bring together all the partners in the country. Passionate serial entrepreneur and co-owner of Swisscubator, Marcel Gasser will lead GEN Switzerland and ensure collaboration with all of the existing and future GEW and GEN partners.

This year’s GEW in Switzerland has a fully packed agenda with events, conferences, seminars and networking opportunities in German, French and English across the country – organized by multiple GEW event partners. There will be events in Geneva, Bern, Chur, Zurich, Grenchen, Lausanne, Thun, Schaffhausen, Winterthur, Reinach BL and Brugg AG.

A coalition led by the University of Geneva, and including UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development), WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), the Geneva Economic Development Office, FER (Federation of Enterprises), GENILEM and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, will organize a whole series of events with 55 sessions, 100 speakers, and almost 50 event organizing partners in 17 different locations in Geneva. The series of events for GEW Geneva are brought together under the umbrella “libérez vos idées,” which will be held from Nov. 12 – 19.

During GEW Geneva everyday is jam-packed with interesting events covering different aspects of entrepreneurship. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, many events covering themes such as social entrepreneurship, migration and entrepreneurship, a session on design thinking, as well as an event for collaborative entrepreneurship across different sectors, took place.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship organized a conference called, “Take your concept from an idea to a social enterprise startup.” The conference focused on how social entrepreneurs drive social innovation and transformation in various fields including education, health, environment and enterprise development.

UNCTAD organized a conference on “Entrepreneurship and Migration” at the Palais de Nations. The conference explored:

  • How the diaspora can be leveraged to invest in sustainable development and promote entrepreneurship in home country. 
  • How entrepreneurship could become a source of the economic empowerment and self-employment of (return) migrants, refugees and displaced people.

UNCTAD, in collaboration with  UNDP, WIPO, IOM (International Organization for Migration) and the Mission of the United States of America, debated these issues at a special session bringing direct testimonials of practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs. The first panel highlighted how to create an enabling ecosystem to maximize the impact of diaspora investment for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and more specifically how remittances can become a source of self-employment and productive investment. The second panel illustrated how entrepreneurship can contribute to peace and prosperity in fragile and post- conflict countries, by empowering (return) migrants, refugees and displaced people through newly acquired skills, knowledge and networks.

University of Art and Design, Geneva (HEAD-Geneva) organized a conference on “Design, Innovation and Design Thinking.” The conference will explore design thinking and in what ways designers contribute to innovation.

Ashoka and Just Innovate organized a conference on Collaborative entrepreneurship across sectors to maximize social impact. The conference showcased a few powerful examples of social entrepreneurs connecting with the business or public sectors through innovative strategic alliances with win-win opportunities, to tackle social challenges at a large scale.

Swissparks (Association of Swiss Technology Parks and Business Incubators) is another major GEW event partner in Switzerland and they have brought together the GEW Switzerland agenda under this website http://www.gew-switzerland.ch/

GEW Switzerland kicked off with a Startup Weekend in Bern which took place the weekend before GEW, Nov. 11-13, at the Impact Hub in Bern. Participants created working prototypes during the event and will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with like-minded individuals. The event was open to designers, developers and people with a non-technical background.

Another highlight of the week will be the Startup Day in Zurich with four experienced and successful startup founders: Laurent Decrue (Movu), Sonja Dänzer (The Green Fairy), Seri Wada (Seri Backhandwerk) and Andreas Brändle, (Battere).

In Renens, ECAL (Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne) is organizing again its traditional "Semaine entrepreneuriale" from Nov. 14 – 19. Fine more information on http://www.semaine-entrepreneuriale.com/.

Buke Cuhadar serves as Vice President of Global Operations for the Global Entrepreneurship Network, a year-round platform of programs and… About the author