Year in Review: 7 Highlights from 2022

GEN President Jonathan Ortmans shares the top stories from 2022.
23 Dec 2022

In 2022, backed by an incredible community of staff, volunteers and partners, GEN directly helped 5,575 entrepreneurs and indirectly supported 1.13 million startups through our programs. With deep gratitude to all who helped us make this possible, I have selected seven highlights from our 15 global work streams to mention as we close out the year. 

Global Entrepreneurship Congress  

While I would not normally highlight an event, re-starting our biggest live global gathering with no reported cases of COVID-19 was indeed an achievement. GEN came together in person for the first time since 2019 at the 2022 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh, an experience that reconnected and re-energized 9,000 participants from around the world. Co-founders of Apple and Netflix, Steve Wozniak and Marc Randolph headlined the event, and 400 additional speakers shared insights to reboot, rethink and regenerate the global entrepreneurship ecosystem in the wake of the pandemic. With three years of pent-up activity to share, we were also able to assemble and announce $13.8 bn in deals and new funds, setting a record for GEN and its local partners. 

We also proudly recognized excellence, over the worst months of the pandemic, in entrepreneurship, policymaking, investor support programs and research at the live GEN Compass Awards. The awards honored 18 individuals and organizations that are making a difference in helping entrepreneurs start and scale around the world. 

Entrepreneurship World Cup  

Following the crowning of the 2021 Entrepreneurship World Cup champion and the awarding of $1 million in cash prizes to competition finalists last year, we resumed the hard work of finding and supporting entrepreneurs at the grassroots level through the 2022 competition. Following bootcamps, accelerators and coalition building, 60 national finals were held alongside a large global pool of talented founders from 200 nations. A final bootcamp and judging will take place in the coming weeks and months to determine the recipients of 10 cash prizes.  

Global Entrepreneurship Week 

The 15th annual Global Entrepreneurship Week campaign reached more than 1.1 million participants in-person and 110 million impressions online. The week officially kicked off at the Inaugural National Presidential SMME Awards in South Africa, held under the patronage of President Cyril Ramaphosa, and reached established and aspiring founders in every country through local in-person and online events. We also celebrated by launching a podcast miniseries, featuring interviews with five leaders who are helping to shape the modern entrepreneurship movement. 

Small Business Grants Program 

With the support of generous partners and sponsors, GEN’s Small Business Grants program administered more than $7.6 million in grants to 402 small businesses. Since launching in 2020, this program has helped founders navigate the darkest days of the pandemic crisis, and continues to support entrepreneurs, particularly those from historically-underrepresented communities, with grants to overcome challenges and scale businesses.   

Global Enterprise Registration 

One year after launching a groundbreaking online single window system for business registration in Iraq, the initiative was named a major success by GEN and its partners, UNCTAD and the governments of Iraq and the United States. The initiative simplified a business registration process that initially took 35 separate steps and multiple in-person visits into one that can be completed with a few clicks - or five easy steps - on an entirely contactless registration, regulation and reporting portal. As a result, more than 2,485 businesses registered on the platform in this first year, with the number of registrations climbing month-on-month. 

Startup Campus 

Startup Campus expanded to a second location in Denizli, Turkey just weeks before the flagship campus, 22 on Sloane, celebrated its fifth anniversary. GEN Campus directly supported 174 startups in 2022.  

Startup Huddle 

Twenty-five new Startup Huddle chapters launched in cities worldwide, bringing the total number of active chapters to 85. The program impacted nearly 1,500 startups in 2022.  

For more details, check out our Impact Report. Better still, plan to join us at one of our live gatherings — such as the crowning of the new champions of the Entrepreneurship World Cup at the Global Finals in mid-March, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in May, GEC+ South Africa in September, and Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.    

Be sure to also subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates in 2023.  

Jonathan Ortmans

Founder + President | Global Entrepreneurship Network

Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, an organization that provides a platform of programs and… More