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Members + GSEA = Winning Combination

If you were among the 1,600 members and spouses at the Global Leadership Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, in May, you may have caught a glimpse of the final-round competitors as they vied for the title of “Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year.” This year’s EO GSEA Finals was one for the ages, with a record 51 students from 51 countries participating. Let’s take a deeper look at what this program is all about, and why so many members and chapters around the world find it worthwhile.

Like EO, the EO GSEA program focuses primarily on the entrepreneur, not the business. All competitors must be undergraduate university students who have been operating a business for at least six months; one that nets at least US$500 in revenue. When it comes time to compete, each student must deliver a presentation that speaks to the impact of their journey, not just the business. This year, 80 local, national and regional competitions took place, including several in markets that don’t yet have an EO presence, paving the way for future chapters in places like Vietnam, Finland and Sri Lanka.

“It’s important to us that a chapter gets real value from hosting an EO GSEA competition, and that it’s as simple a process as possible,” said Alex Read, EO GSEA Subcommittee Chair and EO Vancouver member. “For example, we redesigned the scoring sheet to focus on EO core values, which makes it a powerful tool for prospective members. We’re looking at various ways EO GSEA can help a chapter with its annual goals, while connecting their members with awesome students and their communities.”

To encourage chapter adoption, EO GSEA provides the resources necessary to run a local competition, as well as a US$600 stipend to help with costs. Each chapter is responsible for sourcing students and judges, and managing event logistics (e.g., prizes, sponsors, PR). EO GSEA can be a great tool to help chapters recruit new members, engage tenured Forums, host a unique learning event and build external awareness in their city by involving the community in the competition. Chapters can get on the competition calendar now by contacting GSEA@eonetwork.org.

“One of the great things about EO GSEA is that these are EO members of the future,” said Stephen Shortt, EO GSEA Europe Director and EO Ireland member “They share the same DNA and values as we do. When you get members and students in the same room, there’s an amazing energy you can’t get anywhere else. Powerful things happen, and we’re all better for it.”

Did you know that anyone can host an EO GSEA competition? Whether you're a member of your chapter board, have connections to a university or are simply passionate about supporting young entrepreneurs, there’s a role for you! Contact GSEA@eonetwork.org to get involved.​​​​​​​​​​​

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