Culture Corner: Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Article by:

Miranda Barrett
EO Global
Miranda Barrett - EO Global

What do a university in Kenya, a women’s entrepreneurship group in Peru and a non-profit in Nigeria have in common? They are just a few of the many ways in which EO is engaging the local entrepreneurial ecosystem on a global scale. By building these new relationships, and through our growing commitment to globalization, EO members are helping us further realize our vision of becoming the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs.

In the past year alone, EO’s Global Growth Task Team (GGTT) developed new ways to launch and grow chapters through a special “Entrepreneur Tour,” where they focused their efforts on strategic engagement with the wider community. For example, with new chapter launches in progress in both Peru and Chile, the team spent time locally hosting breakfasts for entrepreneurship organizations, holding an EO Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (EO GSEA) competition at a university, meeting with the press and diplomats, and recruiting new members. Why? Because each stop is a step toward nurturing the global entrepreneurial ecosystem and our role within it.

“By truly connecting with the community, we demonstrate our commitment and gain the support we need when new chapters are launched,” said Jamie Douraghy, Global Growth Chair and a member of EO Los Angeles. “We’re working hard to support local entrepreneurs and give back, and in doing so, they’re more open to helping us find quality members.”

The impact of this initiative has been felt near and far. In both South America and Africa, for example, the EO GSEA program proved to be a unique tool to recruit new members. In Lagos, Nigeria, prospective members were invited to watch or judge the event, and then remained for a recruitment presentation and dinner that highlighted the vision and mission of our organization. Among other programs that play a role in generating interest in EO, EO GSEA is one that recognizes successful university students who are operating their own businesses. It’s just one way EO is expanding its role as a global thought leader.

“This is all about the power of connections,” said Sri Bharatam, EO’s Chair of the Africa initiative and a member of EO East Africa. “The potential for EO to grow and make a meaningful difference in lives is so much greater when we don’t go at it alone. The value of engaging with the ecosystem is beyond measure. From recruitment and finding great speakers to accessing resources, it all comes from the seeds you plant.” Sri was recently recognized as EO’s “Global Citizen of the Year” for his work in nurturing entrepreneurial growth in Africa, launching several chapters and supporting the local business landscape.

Meanwhile, in China, EO is connecting with various government offices, and a similar tour is planned in November to engage new and nearly launched chapters. The Discover China Series (DCS) event in Shanghai, in particular, will showcase the Chinese culture to the EO world. “The DCS is the perfect event for those who are interested in learning more about China and meeting our great members,” said Wing Hong Soong, Chair of the China initiative. “It’s also a way for us to showcase EO externally to Chinese entrepreneurial leaders. We expect to receive attention from important business leaders that will help our chapters thrive.”

Committed to expanding its influence, EO will continue to pave the way for growth in the farthest corners of the world. Since 1987, EO has grown considerably in membership size and geographical representation. And thanks to the GGTT’s recent efforts, EO now has chapters in Ecuador, Brazil (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro), Nigeria (Lagos and Abuja), South Africa (Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg), Kenya, Tanzania and China (Hainan, China South, Dalian and China East).

These are just a few of the GGTT’s recent accomplishments, with more wins coming down the pipeline. In the past, the message was that EO wanted to have a “seat at the table” at important entrepreneurship gatherings. The new vision is that EO can be the table— the gathering point for important players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This will bring increased visibility that will help with membership recruitment, strategic alliances, access to experts and so much more.

Do you know of any entrepreneurs in China, Africa or South America that might be a good fit for EO? To refer prospective members, get involved in a chapter launch or be connected to the GGTT, please contact Miranda Barrett at mbarrett@eonetwork.org.

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