The GEC+ in Daegu, South Korea the City of Hope also referred to as “Colourful Daegu” hosted an international audience of entrepreneurship education experts, practitioners, policy makers and academia. The theme “Glocal” was designed to illustrate the power of collaboration between global and local ecosystems and the focus was to strengthen capacity for entrepreneurship education in all GERN member countries.
The GEC+ coincided with the Creative Economy Festival in Seoul where President Park Geun-hye checked in on the progress of the strategy outlined in her 2013 inauguration speech to make the creative economy a key priority for her government. Daegu represents the pinnacle of this strategy in action, deliberately positioning itself as a knowledge economy through active support for convergence between arts, culture, digital and environmental industries. A vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage bustling with innovation and creativity and judging by all the urban construction, also a growing city.
The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation was invited to contribute to the opening panel “Entrepreneurship Education” where our CEO, Anthony Farr joined Anders Rasmussen, representing the Danish Foundation – Young Enterprise and Phil Yun-Sock Lee from the Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation. This panel, under the moderation of Prof Byunjoon Yoo from Seoul National University, focused on the importance of entrepreneurship education as a key component for future economic growth and development. The participants looked at entrepreneurship education beyond the realms of just starting and running a business and explored how an entrepreneurial approach to solving problems is useful for socio-economic advancement. The panel advanced the idea that the cultivation of an entrepreneurial mindset as a learning discipline installed in education has the potential to reach a much wider audience. When this happen the impact can be profound, as we’ve come to witness in the story of Israel’s economic miracle, Startup Nation. The Foundation was able to share our learning from a decade of cultivating entrepreneurship, explore what makes us successful and shine the spotlight on the achievements of our Fellows.
Our participation extended beyond the opening panel with a Round Table discussion on “Measuring the Impact of Entrepreneurship Education”, moderated by our CEO. Here I was afforded the opportunity to join an esteemed panel which included the Secretary General of the Korea Entrepreneurship Foundation, Gi-Hyun Kum, Anders Rasmussen and Prof Johannes Lindner who leads the Initiative for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Austria. Mr Kum pointed out that entrepreneurship will be installed as a compulsory subject in the Korean school curriculum in 2018 and measuring impact is an important consideration. Defining impact for the Foundation was relatively easy to articulate as our long term goals clearly capture the impact we want to achieve, a R1bn company every two years, 50 000 meaningful jobs by 2030, and 500 enterprises. These goals offer direct evidence of the economic impact we want to achieve and also serve as a guideline for how we track progress and evaluate our success.
The GEC+ also exposed us to a rich learning environment with many examples of best practice in entrepreneurship education as well as ecosystem development. It was very satisfying to see that experiential learning and gamification are well entrenched in entrepreneurship education methods of many other countries. Similarly, the key message from most entrepreneurship ecosystem practitioners was that collaboration between government, private sector and academia is essential to build sustainability and scale. In addition to this, most presenters and contributors stressed the significance of “glocal”, local relevance and global reach. Local relevance takes advantage of local human, environmental and economic capital while global relationships focus on markets and skills transfer that will contribute to the growth of the local ecosystem. One point that stood out is the requirement for patience especially when it comes to building relationships with policy makers, getting government support and private sector buy-in. This resonates very well with our long term focus as a Foundation and encourage us to see things through despite temporary setbacks and to be relentless in pursuit of our long term goals.
We left Daegu on a very high note, our presence on this stage serving as acknowledgement that our work is admired and respected by those who pursue the same goals that we do when it comes to cultivating entrepreneurship. The GERN community is excited to support our deep dive into entrepreneurship mindset and there is significant evidence that our programme interventions are not far from what is happening on the frontier of entrepreneurship education.