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Swiss EP

Global Entrepreneurship Week in North Macedonia – Showcasing an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Global Entrepreneurship Week in North Macedonia was a week of presenting the entire country's entrepreneurial ecosystem, with all the actors and relevant factors shaping it.

In 2020, North Macedonia joined the GEW list of countries celebrating entrepreneurship and embraced the opportunity to showcase the local entrepreneurial ecosystem at its very best.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international event that occurs each November in over 180 countries worldwide. The event aims to promote entrepreneurship, encourage individuals to start a business, and celebrate the finest and most inspirational startup stories.

In 2020 GEW took place in the week of November 16 to 21. All over the world, people had the opportunity to participate in different activities - from conferences and round tables, pitching events and debates, to free workshops and learning sessions.

In North Macedonia, Startup Macedonia took the leading GEW organizer's role for the third time in a row. They saw it as an excellent chance to present the country's entrepreneurial scene and its progress in the past few years. With the desire to showcase everyone and everything related to entrepreneurship in the country, the team mobilized 54 different organizations and 120 speakers to participate in the GEW program.

With extensive preparations and much work behind the scenes, Startup Macedonia prepared a six-day program, with 43 different online events, to present all aspects of entrepreneurship in the country. The activities and events included diverse topics, such as:

  • Government support and lobbying in favor of startups and entrepreneurs,
  • Women entrepreneurship,
  • Innovation-driven entrepreneurship,
  • Acceleration and incubation programs,
  • Presentation of successful startup stories from the country,
  • Open conversations with startup founders,
  • Learning sessions.

All events were online, and most of them were in the English language, so the audience from the region and beyond could join the program. According to the organizing team, over 3,200 people joined events and activities organized during GEW. This means that, on average, each event had 75 attendees.

GEW 2020 was excellently organized. There were a ton of useful and inspiring events attended by many representatives of companies, organizations, and institutions. The program managed to bring entrepreneurship and the progress achieved so far to the general public, which is the goal. Such events must be held regularly. Next year we will be part of the initiative, for sure. Keep up the outstanding work, and see you next year.

Nikolina Stojanova, Program Coordinator of CEED Hub Skopje

Swiss EP supported the GEW activities. We saw it as an excellent opportunity to highlight the entrepreneurial ecosystem. We could see the ecosystem's many products and services, observe the dynamics and internal relationships among actors, and assess the entrepreneurial community's impact on society. And the results are admirable. Startup Macedonia made sure that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in North Macedonia is now positioned as one of the country's key engines for growth.

The best proof that all the GEW-related efforts and activities significantly impacted the Macedonian general public came in two completely unexpected outcomes.

One came from the media sector: two different TV crews approached our local team with a desire to dive deeper into the startup world. These conversations resulted in one short documentary, "Startups – Businesses That Will Change The Macedonian Economy" and a 10-episode TV series on startups and entrepreneurship.

The other outcome of the GEW happened in the political field. At his annual address to the state parliament, the president of the country, Stevo Pendarovski, said that Macedonia must transform into a startup country.

We are looking forward to continuing growth and progress of the Macedonian entrepreneurial ecosystem.