By Nathan Rudyk

This time last year I sent an fyi email to Invest Ottawa CEO Bruce Lazenby with a subject line that read: "Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 14-18/Ottawa Entrepreneur Week anyone?"

By the time I met with Bruce Nov. 1 (less than a week after email #1) to get his formal "good to go", he'd already reached out to potential partners across the city and mobilized his team to operate at faster-than-light warp speed to pull off what can only considered an entrepreneurial coup for Ottawa's business community. 

This year, with an expanded name – Global Entrepreneurship Week Ottawa (GEW Ottawa) – that ties our week more strongly into the worldwide GEW movement that now spans more than 125 participating countries, Invest Ottawa is hoping to spark more than 50 learning, mentoring, networking, skills-based and celebratory events - up substantially from last year's total of 37.

And in keeping with Bruce's "embrace and extend" approach to partnership, this year's GEW Ottawa partner list is impressive, and at this writing includes: Startup Community, Hub Ottawa, The Code Factory, Shopify, Ottawa Technology Transfer Network, Startup Garage, Mercury Grove, Startup Canada, Canadian Youth Business Foundation, Exploriem, Ottawa Public LIbrary, Legacy Conference, Kanata Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement, Carleton University, University of Ottawa, and Le Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la Capitale nationale. More to come!

Should you attend? YES. Check out our launch party vid from last year and tell me you don't want to participate at this year's Nov. 12th launch event at Heart and Crown on Preston Street. Should you start a company if you've been harbouring the thought? Y-E-S. I've started three (sold two) and can tell you, there's no life like it.

To learn more about how you can get involved start a company, check out our press release below then bookmark the GEW Ottawa Web site where all events and when/where details will be posted over the coming weeks. Hope to see you out there!

Global Entrepreneurship Week Ottawa challenges city to unleash its next generation of wealth creators

Ottawa, ON – Oct. 24, 2012 – Ottawa needs to celebrate the dynamic risk-takers and innovators who are a key element in the shift to make Ottawa Canada’s number one city to start and grow a knowledge-based business. The city gets its opportunity to encourage and unleash even more entrepreneurs during next month’s Global Entrepreneurship Week Ottawa (GEW Ottawa).

GEW kicks off with a StartUp Weekend Nov. 9 at the offices of Shopify Inc. designed to create several new companies with dozens of entrepreneurs and mentors participating. Then throughout the week of Nov. 12-16 GEW Ottawa aims to motivate thousands of people and hundreds of companies to take the first, or the next step on their entrepreneurial journeys. Mentoring sessions, skills-building seminars, awards and networking nights are just some of an estimated 50 focused events that will take place across the city.

“We all know the old stereotype of the play-it-safe government town,” said Bruce Lazenby, CEO of Invest Ottawa. “GEW Ottawa is our week to inspire people across our city to invest in and encourage new caterers to film makers to app developers to researchers who hold the keys to solving the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Sparking these innovators to move from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I will’ start a company gives every citizen of Ottawa a more prosperous, energizing future. Ottawa has seen hundreds of new companies created in recent years, now let’s increase our velocity.”

This is the second year Invest Ottawa is taking the lead to focus attention on entrepreneurs and their key role in creating jobs. Last year’s week-long campaign was recognized by Global Entrepreneur Week as one of the most successful in Canada with more than 30 events.

This year, in partnership with nearly 20 groups in the regional, national and international entrepreneurship community, Invest Ottawa’s goal is to catalyze Chambers of Commerce, universities, colleges, incubators and business networking groups to have Ottawa recognized as the top Canadian city and one of the top 10 cities in the world during Global Entrepreneur Week, a global movement with more than 125 countries participating.

Organizations and individuals are invited to add entrepreneurship events on the official GEW Ottawa calendar at Before 5pm on Oct. 30, the public is also invited to submit the name of an entrepreneur to qualify as one of the city’s 100 Rising Stars, To nominate a Rising Star or learn about more GEW Ottawa events, please visit GEW Ottawa can also be followed via the Twitter account @GEWOttawa and the hashtag #GEWOttawa.

GEW Ottawa highlight events include:

Mentor Madness and Launch Party on Nov. 12. Mentor madness brings together 30 entrepreneurs and 30 mentors for two hours of sharing ideas and advice at Invest Ottawa’s headquarters. An evening launch party for GEW Ottawa follows Mentor Madness.

Legacy Conference for Gen Y Entrepreneurs on Nov. 17. This student-run conference at the National Arts Centre is for entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 to share ideas, tell stories, receive advice, learn skills, and connect with each other.

Ottawa Entrepreneurship Awards on Nov. 16. At this event, Invest Ottawa will announce the winners of the inaugural Ottawa Entrepreneurship Awards for Entrepreneurial Support, Promotion and Community Building. Also recognized will be Ottawa’s 100 Rising Stars and the Top 25 Entrepreneurs will be named. Rising Stars is an Invest Ottawa partnership with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) and Startup Canada to recognize exceptional entrepreneurial talent across the city.

Contacts for GEW Ottawa

Bruce Lazenby
President & CEO Invest Ottawa
Phone: 613-828-6274, ext. 267

Paul Brent
Senior Communications Strategist
market2world communications inc.
Phone: 613-256-3939