You’ve been selected to join a group of global entrepreneurs in Hyderabad for the preeminent annual entrepreneurship gathering, now what? Here are several pieces of advice from Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) alumni who all say that it’s imperative for GES attendees to act on the opportunities presented to them while at the summit.
Check out the agenda in advance. Determine which sessions or activities you want to attend in advance. We’re offering several master classes, breakout sessions, plenaries, and workshops. Read the session descriptions and learn more about which ones will help you move your ideas forward. You never know, there might be a master class that connects you with an investor you’ve wanted to meetor introduces you to a future collaborator. Learn more about the agenda on the official website: www.ges2017.org.
Practice how to present yourself and your ideas to others. You were selected to attend GES 2017 because you have a business or an idea that can have a profound impact on our society. Figure out how you will tell that story to others. Develop your “elevator pitch” and take time to practice it in advance. Think through how you will present yourself and ideas to others. You never know when you may be given the opportunity to present yourself, so make sure you’re ready!
Be open to the unexpected. As GES2016 alumna Elsa Marie D’Silva noted in her blog entry, “My GES Experience and What You Should Know if You’re Attending #GES2017,” she was invited to attend a roundtable where she unexpectedly met Antonio Gracias, who not only offered to mentor Elsa but also offered her the funding she needed to develop her mobile app. You never know who may be sitting at the table or standing in line next to you! Be open to forming new networks and developing new connections.
Be brave and ask for what you need. You won’t be able to launch your mobile app or move your business to the next level if you do not ask for what you need. This year, there are nearly 300 investors and ecosystem supporters attending GES 2017. Their primary goal is to catalyze investment and help develop future businesses. They want to hear what you have to say and, most importantly, they want to help you grow, but you have to be brave enough to ask and continue to follow up after the summit ends.
Engage! Did you really travel to India to just stand in the corner by yourself during the networking sessions? We hope not! Talk to people -- learn about their businesses and tell them about yours. Partnerships are developed at GES each year, start cultivating those relationships now. You can connect before you even arrive in Hyderabad via social media. Once you are on the ground, plan for additional meet-ups with other entrepreneurs and participants to build your network. Make sure you have plenty of business cards and get ready to network.
For those of you who are not attending GES this year, there are many ways you can follow along and connect with people who are at the summit.
For information and advice from innovators and investors at GES 2017, go to www.GES2017.org watch select sessions live, find blog entries, speeches, event announcements, and more. Follow us on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The U.S. Department of State will also be sharing behind the scenes moments through Snapchat and Instagram stories, so follow ‘StateDept’ on those platforms for more behind-the-scenes content. Also, be sure to use the #GES2017 hashtag to find and share information.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit has served as a platform for providing investments and other support that has contributed to job growth and prosperity globally, and this year will be no different. Through targeted skills training, mentorship, master classes, industry meetings, networking, and pitch competitions, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to enhance their skills and develop connections to industry leaders in an environment that supports the development and success of entrepreneurs around the world.
Good luck to all of the entrepreneurs who are attending GES 2017!
About the Author: Jasmine White Gibson leads the United States 2017 GES Digital Team and serves in the State Department’s Office of Digital Engagement.