Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014

The world is being built and rebuilt with computers and robotics and the code that controls them. It’s a paradigm shift that affects the entire economy, not just private sector business and employment, but public health care, government, education… everything.

It’s a brave new world characterized by the digit(al)ization and commodification of data, including personal information, resulting in a wholesale reconceptualization of privacy and a radical shift – and accompanying redistribution of wealth – from manufacturing to knowledge-based economies, especially knowledge that can be codified.

It’s important to remember that this shift is neither an accident nor an inevitability. After all, computer code doesn’t write itself; it’s written by humans: individuals who make certain decisions, and have certain agendas; individuals who decide what problems to solve for, and what the solutions should look like. Whoever writes the code, controls one of the primary means of production of 21st century economic life – creates the operating system of 21st century life in general. Program or be programmed.

But it’s also important to remember that access to the skills and tools necessary to make the decisions and set the agenda has, generally speaking, been unevenly distributed. This ranges from computer programming skills to physical infrastructure and machinery like computers, 3D printers, robotics, even internet access.

Access is one of many issues addressed during Global Entrepreneurship Week. For example, at events like:

  • “Brilliant Labs” which supports the creation of makerspaces in classrooms and after-school programs;
  • “Social Storm” Global Hackathon which brought together students from 10 international post-secondary institutions to collaborate on technology-based solutions to real-world problems around global access to education.

Other examples include a Women Entrepreneurs lunch & learn; the recent Girls Learning Code; the Lego Robotics tournament at NSCC Marconi; and the UIT Startup Immersion program.

Universities like CBU, in supporting or leading these initiatives, have a particular obligation and imperative to ensure the greatest possible access to 21st century tools and skills both within their walls and in the communities in which they’re located. And I’m not just talking tools of profit but tools of personal and social health & well-being; cultural & environmental sustainability; education; governance… everything.

After all, technology is not just about selling a sleeker smartphone; and entrepreneurship is not just about being able to buy a fancier car. It’s just as often about making the world a better place. 

Here are some great counter examples of those stereotypes.

Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014!