Annual entrepreneurship week motivates students

The University of Miami’s Launch Pad will present Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) starting Monday.

This worldwide initiative is celebrated in more than 100 countries and marks UM’s fourth year participating. Events are geared toward informing and engaging future entrepreneurs.

The Launch Pad opened in 2008 with a goal to encourage students to pursue their dreams in entrepreneurship and put their ideas into action. Since then, it has been ranked the No. 1 U.S. campus partner by GEW.

Susan Amat, the executive director and co-founder of The Launch Pad, organized GEW and looks forward to the turnout. In 2010, more than 5,000 people attended GEW on campus.

“We do GEW to make it accessible to everyone on campus, so whether or not you know anything about business you can come to one of the events and just listen to the stories of these people who have done fascinating things,” Amat said. “They’ll admit to you that they didn’t know what they were doing when they started out, but they learned by doing.”

One of GEW’s goals is to get students and young people in the community to understand that failure is a part of the process and mistakes are made along the way.

“We want our students, alumni and people in the community to go to an event, hear this entrepreneurial story and understand that failure is sometimes a part of that big success story you hear,” Amat said.

One of the first events of GEW is An Evening of Fashion with South Florida’s trendiest fashionistas. The event will include a local designer panel and two keynote speakers, Alina Villasante of Peace Love World and Loren Ridinger of Market America.

Other events include the fourth annual Elevator Pitch contest, which is open to students and the community, and the Building Your Brand breakfast with America’s top Hispanic marketing firm.

Although GEW is geared to educate and motivate future entrepreneurs, all majors are invited to attend the events.  There will be a wide variety of business owners from different industries, such as technology, fashion, law and medicine.

“Entrepreneurship Week is that time to share your dreams and your visions for what you want your future to look like and start reaching for them,” Amat said.

Senior Shahzain Malik helped organize GEW and feels that the event is a great experience and opportunity for students.

“GEW has been my favorite event that is put on by the university because there is so much to be learned from all the successful people they bring in to speak,” Malik said. “One of the former speakers did exactly what I was interested in and I ended up getting an internship from him.”