Thursday, November 07, 2013

Day 3: World Entrepreneurship Forum

Day 3: World Entrepreneurship Forum

WEF was still going strong on its second full day: The day opened with extended conversations with several of the 2013 Award winners. A few highlights:

Highlights for the Day: What Spoke to Me
Yesterday had the steal-able phrase of “Don’t wait for the door to open, build your own damned door.” Today, Dan Epstein of the Be Unreasonable program had another that I am stealing:

“Be Pathologically Collaborative” LOL but… think about it. What if we all try to help each other, even when in conflict with our mandates and entitlements? (We already know that healthy local economies are characterized by participants contributions where they add the most value, not what the necessarily want to do.) Think of the enabling conditions we would accelerate!
I thought Dan was speaking directly to me when he challenged us to identify:

“What’s MY unreasonable thing?” That is what I should be working on. Gulp.

…by the way, click on this-> “Unreasonable At Sea” (…you will thank me... but you will thank the Be Unreasonable crew even more)

Ashish Thakkar of the Mara Group. Just like all the other presenters, incredibly humble and incredibly aware of what more needs to be done. Ashish wants nothing less than to bring the African Lion to the forefront of global commerce.

The Mara Group partners widely and enthusiastically with firms and individuals with top-flight expertise AND with willingness to enter 20+ African countries. Mara brings in-depth on-the-ground expertise in each country.

You want a market with 1 billion+ people? Talk to Ashish! (I am.)

WEF Leadership
During this day, my reflections kept coming back to the WEF crew themselves. If I were creating my own program like WEF I would recruit most of them (assuming I could afford them!) My young friend Viet Anh Vu seems to be everywhere and on top of everything. I see in him an awesome leader in the making. Faculty gurus Dan Evans and Rickie Moore get more things developed and implemented at EM Lyon and WEF. (Dan is a math major and a Buckeye; Rickie spent 6 months in Boise courtesy of HP.)

Finally, I really enjoyed working with WEF’s executive directors. Outgoing director Caroline Brun always seemed poised and calm no matter what the madness swirling about. The incoming director, Angela Feigl, brings different skills and personality to the table – I was particularly taken by Angela’s eagerness to explore new partnerships. VERY entrepreneurial and my readers will know that I always resonate with people like that! Having both Angela and Caroline on board goes a long way to explaining why WEF 2013 took such a big jump forward (so… thanks!)

How WEF could keep taking positive leaps forward? Angela, Viet and Dan talked about what if WEF members/delegates could each just recruit 1 good new delegate, WEF could move forward without losing the intimacy and the ridiculously high quality of attendees. (Apparently, I am expected to do more recruiting.  Hint. Hint.)

Huge thanks and major props to Dan, Viet, Angela, Rickie and the rest!
 I would ride into battle with any of these colleagues and friends.

Speaking of the future, perhaps the most amazing aspect of WEF is the Junior WEF. Chapters are growing around the globe, including local/regional conferences that were uniformly impressive in places like Shanghai, Chile and Argentina. (Also: Check out the Rural WEF conference in India that focused completely on sustainability.)

I’d single out some of the more impressive JWEF delegates but it is actually very, very hard to pick out only a few. [Though I really want to go hang out with most of the chapters. Invite me to Buenos Aires? Marie from Shanghai *ordered* me to visit Shanghai, lol.] Quite a few of them are entrepreneurs – with very cool business models that are very much born global (check out, for example, Sophie Vurbillot’s Planet Expat!  I learned about it at our dining-out event downtown where I was apparently the only person in Singapore using chopsticks. ) Other JWEF-ers, my apologies for not listing all of you!

Next up... Day 4 and…
My master class/workshop on how you as an individual can grow a more entrepreneurial ecosystem in your own community. (Spoiler: It was mind-blowing.)


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