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For immediate release 6 March 2009
EAST MEETS WEST FOR GRAND FINAL OF GLOBAL ENTERPRISE CHALLENGE
Young people from Central and South Asia to visit London for last round of Global Entrepreneurship Week contest
Thirty young people from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Pakistan and Uzbekistan are visiting London next week to take part in the final of an international enterprise challenge run by the British Council to mark the first-ever Global Entrepreneurship Week last November.
The initiative, for 17 to 21-year-olds at vocational schools across Central and South Asia, was a partnership between the British Council’s Skills for Employability project in the region and the UK’s Make Your Mark enterprise campaign, co-founder of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Many of the young people involved are from remote towns and villages and some live in communities which are affected by war and political instability. In Nepal, for example, the competition ran during demonstrations in Kathmandu and students had to walk through anti-riot tear-gas to take part in the event.
Following last November’s regional contest, winning teams from each of the six countries are coming to the UK capital on 9 March for a three-day final at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the Southbank. For most this trip will be their first ever outside their countries. In London they will have the chance to meet and share ideas with some of the UK’s most promising young people as well as to network with entrepreneur-ambassadors for the Make Your Mark campaign. Over the three days they will be tasked with developing a product or service to tackle pollution in their home town or village and encouraged to think about the environmental impact of industry. A distinguished panel including entrepreneurs Tim Campbell, founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, and restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab, will judge their proposals on 11 March.
Martin Davidson, CEO of the British Council said: “Projects like this play a crucial role in giving young people the skills, knowledge and understanding to change their societies. Allowing our brightest and best entrepreneurs to make vital connections with their counterparts overseas can only benefit the UK."
Harry Rich, Chief Executive of the Make Your Mark campaign, said: “Enterprise activity empowers young people to be the drivers of change which will be key to the future of countries all over the world. This visit will bring real benefits to the UK by giving some of its brightest young people the chance to collaborate and exchange perspectives with their peers from other parts of the world. They may live thousands of miles apart but they share an important common goal – to use entrepreneurial ideas to change the world for the better.”
Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008 involved an estimated up to five million young people in thousands of events across 77 countries with the specific aim of developing enterprising ideas to tackle both international challenges, such as poverty and climate change, and more specific problems in local communities. The British Council-run enterprise competition in Central and South Asia involved thousands of young people and was based on the Make Your Mark Challenge, the world’s largest one-day enterprise competition, which has now been running successfully in UK schools and colleges for the last five years. The British Council is keen to involve industry sponsors and partners in their international enterprise work in future years.
For more press information or to attend the final on 11 March please contact Anya Matthews at Colman Getty on 0207 631 2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org or James Rowe at the British Council Press Office on 020 7389 4939 or email@example.com