IBM Unveils Resources to Help Entrepreneurs Innovate and Go Global to Ignite Economic Growth
Entrepreneurs aren’t standing still, even during uncertain economic times. To help them tap the global marketplace, grow, and harness new, intelligent technologies to their competitive advantage, IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a variety of resources for entrepreneurs. The announcement is timed with IBM’s sponsorship of Global Entrepreneurship Week — an initiative taking place in 75 countries from November 17th through the 23rd — designed to inspire, connect, inform, mentor and engage entrepreneurs.
Today, IBM, in collaboration with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, launched new resources and a Spanish language version of a web-based Small Business Toolkit tailored to women and Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian owned businesses in the United States. Already available in 30 different sites and 16 languages, the toolkit provides entrepreneurs with the kind of professional human resource, legal, marketing, and finance-related information templates normally available to much larger companies. The Small Business Toolkit now includes daily expert advice by Jim Blasingame, a new women’s business-focused blog hosted by Deb Osgood, a new partnership with MicroMentor for personal mentoring, and a new small business video learning series in partnership with BUZGate.org.
IBM is also putting entrepreneurs with the best business plans in touch with venture capitalists. As part of its Global Entrepreneurship Week “Digital Challenge,” IBM is challenging participants to submit ideas for dynamic business models that will link venues on the 3D Internet to their real-world counterparts. Five finalists will be selected to present their business plan to a panel of venture capitalists chaired by IBM’s Venture Capital Group during the Spring of 2009. Please visit http://unleashingideas.org/unleash/show/1 for more details. IBM’s Venture Capital Group works with venture capitalists around the world to identify promising startups, giving these companies access to IBM’s global ecosystem.
“Entrepreneurs play a critical role in today’s economy,” said Chris Caine, Vice President for Governmental Programs at IBM. “With the world becoming increasingly connected there is unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs to now become innovators on a global scale. IBM wants to see these new entrepreneurs succeed and is working to help them grow. We are proud to be a part of this unprecedented global event challenging entrepreneurs to dream big and improve the world.”
“For seven days, millions of young people around the world will be introduced to entrepreneurship and encouraged to think about how innovation can take them anywhere, no matter their location on the map,” said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, co-founder of Global Entrepreneurship Week. “We are excited to partner with IBM in this endeavor and hope that our work to connect and inform aspiring entrepreneurs continues beyond the Week and changes lives around the globe.”
The initiatives announced today complement ongoing IBM projects that support entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs around the world also have access to more than 40 IBM Innovation Centers, with new centers opening all the time. At these Innovation Centers, IBM provides IT professionals with an entry-point into IBM’s Research network, enables them to work side by side with IBM sales, marketing and technical experts and engineers, fine-tune their skills and solutions and ultimately go to market faster and compete in today’s global marketplace.
Additionally, IBM works with its network of Business Partners around the world to provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to deliver solutions to market faster, decrease sales cycles, win more profitable business and innovate. Additionally, IBM Business Partners have access to a full range of services and offerings such as “concierge service” that helps them find the right resources within IBM, and they are eligible for member benefits in education, co-marketing and technical support and more.
IBM also works with a diverse group of suppliers; in 2007, IBM spent more than $2.3 billion with more than 350 diverse suppliers worldwide, and the company maintains an active mentoring program for diversity-owned suppliers to help them go global.
IBM Global Entrepreneurship Week Activities
In conjunction with Global Entrepreneurship Week, IBM will facilitate and broadcast roundtable discussions via the Web. These will provide advice from experts aimed at helping all entrepreneurs — including Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American and women — globally succeed.
IBM will host two “Women Entrepreneurs Leading Innovation Globally” webcasts on November 19, during which panels of female business leaders and entrepreneurs will share their insights, experiences and best practices for starting and growing a global business. Panelists include among others, Maria Contreras-Sweet, the chairwoman of PROMERICA Bank, Virginia P’an, CEO, China Pacific Partners LLC and TransCapital Group LLC, Bola Olabisi, CEO and founder of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network, and Sharon Hadary, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Business Research. The following day, on November 20, a panel of experts will discuss how to leverage emerging technology to grow your business on the IBM hosted “Entrepreneurs Leading and Leveraging Innovation” webcasts. Panelists include Bill Diggs, CEO, The Miami-Dade, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Glenn Llopis, President and CEO of Glenn Llopis Group, LLC, and Lisa Skriloff, President and Founder, Multicultural Marketing Resources, Inc. Marilyn Johnson, Vice President of Market Development at IBM, will moderate the panels.
IBM will also hold events this week in dozens of countries tailored to the unique needs of local entrepreneurs. For instance, on November 18 in Toulouse, France, IBM experts will lead an Innovation Road Show and Workshop. In Munich, Germany, IBM also will hold a joint meeting with the International Women of Excellence for female high-school students, where perspectives will be offered on the accomplishments and skills needed to succeed in today’s workplace.
About Global Entrepreneurship Week
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the first-ever international celebration of enterprising behavior. During November 17 – 23, millions of young people around the world will form a growing movement of entrepreneurial people who are generating new ideas and developing entrepreneurial solutions to address challenges of all sizes — from local concerns to society’s biggest issues. Thousands of activities are being planned in more than 75 countries around the world — all with the goal to inspire young people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity and to encourage them to think big, to turn their ideas into reality, and to make their mark.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is founded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the US-based foundation dedicated to advancing the field of entrepreneurship (www.kauffman.org) and Make Your Mark, the UK campaign to unlock enterprise potential (www.makeyourmark.org.uk); sponsored by NYSE Euronext, IBM and Ernst & Young; and, supported by the UK Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, JA Worldwide, Endeavor, Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, DECA, YPO-WPO, AIESEC, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Young Americas Business Trust, YES – European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs. To learn more, visit www.unleashingideas.org.
For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com
Note to Editors
A podcast interview with Tarquinio Teles, founder and CEO of Brazilian start-up Hoplon; Alexandra Johnson, managing director at DFJ VTB Aurora, a venture fund focused on investments in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); and Drew Clark, Director of Strategy for IBM’s Venture Capital Group is available at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/25998.wss
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