Students, entrepreneurs, alumni and investors will exchange ideas at a weeklong program of activities prepared by IESE's Center for Family-Owned Business and Entrepreneurship (CEFIE).
The program got off to an early start on Monday, Nov. 17 with the first of a five-day series of "Breakfasts With Entrepreneurs." Carlos Blanco, CEO of First Tuesday Spain, met with a small group of MBA students and spoke about the secret to his success that allowed him to become a successful entrepreneur in the world of online entertainment in Spain, "diversify, diversify, and continue to diversify." First Tuesday is a worldwide forum for technology entrepreneurs and companies seeking venture capital, investors and related service providers.
Also on Monday, CEFIE brought together three successful entrepreneurs for a panel discussion on future industries at the school's Barcelona campus. The event was open to IESE students, alumni and entrepreneurs. Jan-Willem Bode, CEO of OneCarbon, was one of the three panellists. Bode's company provides carbon credits to organizations in order to meet compliance or voluntary targets.
Key speaker at the breakfast series on the second day was Christopher Pommering, partner and co-founder of Active Capital Partners. He described his fascination with creating new companies and spoke about his past experience - good and bad - of starting up companies.
Also on Tuesday, CEFIE launched the first IESE Growth & Investment Forum jointly with IESE's Business Angels and Family Office Network and FINAVES, IESE's venture capital firm. A group of IESE alumni presented investment opportunities to venture capital executives, private investors and investment consultants at this event, held on the Barcelona campus and via videoconference in Madrid.
The following day, IESE hosted a ceremony where the finalists of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Spain 2008 for the Catalonia region were revealed. Alberto Palatchi, president of Pronovias - the Spain-based bridal wear retailer - and winner of the award in 2007, chaired the event.
On Thursday, Antonio González-Barros, founding partner of Intercom, discussed the most essential characteristics for entrepreneurs starting from scratch with an internet-based enterprise in a keynote speech to IESE students.
González-Barros, an IESE alum, is a veteran of the dot-com sector: he has been involved in 40 internet-related businesses including Infojobs, Softonic and MailxMail since launching Intercom in 1995.
Global Entrepreneurship Week builds on Entrepreneurship Week U.S.A. and Enterprise Week, first launched in the U.K. in 2004 by Gordon Brown, the current prime minister. The foundations supporting the U.S. and U.K. events proposed that the initiative go global in 2008.