Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 2 of the World Entrepreneurship Forum 2010: at EMLYON Business School

Did you know that the word 'entrepreneur' was apparently coined by the French in the beginning of the 19th Century? Well I didn't. And last night upon receiving her award, the French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde informed us in her video address that Lyon was also the entrepreneurial hub of France with the most entrepreneurs (or was it new ones?) so it seems all the more appropriate for us to be here in Lyon discussing entrepreneurship.

It's afternoon now as I'm logging into my blog to post yet another update  although it feels more like night already as we've had an early start: 7:30AM the buses picked us up from our hotel and took us to the EMLYON Business School. It seemed like a natural outing considering that the Business School is one of the Forum's co-founders along with KPMG.

So off we went and showed up at the Business School feeling pretty tired in desperate need of coffee. As the organisers are looking after us well, there was a second breakfast available upon arrival to the Business School. Needless to say, I never had the time to manage to munch up my scrambled eggs at the hotel so I was a happy bunny.

Apparently textile industry played a major role in Lyon's history. As a reminder this display below greeted us upon arrival at the EMLYON Business School.

And then it was again time for the talks and panel discussions to begin at the plenary. The morning session was this time open for public with many EMLYON's students taking part.

We had the honour to hear from last night's awardees. First up was the legendary Chinese businessman Mr. Liu Chuan-Zhi, President and CEO of Legend Holdings, who gave some very interesting insight e.g. into the controversial takeover of IBM's ThinkPad division in 2004, which had been the first time in history that a Chinese company had taken over a major American player. Mr. Liu also shared his philosophy on issues to do with leadership and corporate culture which I found fascinating.

After Mr. Liu the stage was given for the Social Entrepreneur For the World 2010 awardee Ms. Ela R. Bhatt, who spoke us about her incredible success story: the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) which has helped over a million Indian women.

The plenary was packed. Up close and personal is Kristoffer Bergan, Co-founder & CTO of the highly succesful Norwegian Internet company bMenu. I got to know Kristoffer from the get-go asI shared a cab with him from the airport to the hotel on Wednesday. Kristoffer's extra iPhone charger happens to be also powering my iToy 'as we blog' so thanks Kristoffer for keeping me connected to the world! Sometimes all it takes is a cable...

Me and the charming Nyokabi Njuguna, Founder and President of the Entrepreneurship & Leadership Foundation in Kenya.

With Dr. Muhammad Ibrahim, Founder and Chairman of Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES) in Bangladesh and the brother of a certain Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.

Senior Fellow Entrepreneurship in Lahore School of Economics in Pakistan, Iqbal M. Khan with Ms. Ela R. Bhatt.

After the first session was over each of the members of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, me included, were interviewed by students of the EMLYON Business School. Manjing Pan a.k.a. Pamela (left) and Wu Shan from China as well as Tomas from Portugal were probably wondering whether I had showed up at the right room when a fresh-faced Finn like myself popped through the door! Well, they told me they were very happy with our meeting  and so was I. I shared my thoughts on social entrepreneurship with them and spoke about my future vision while also finding out a bit more about who my newly found friends were.

Then it was back to the plenary where we learned about the launch of yet another new initiative associated with the World Entrepreneurship Forum: the 'Global Entrepreneurship & Development Index'.

With the Social Entrepreneur for the World 2010. A real honour.

Shaking hands with Sir Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.

With the potential future first female president of Cameroon: Kah Walla and other members of the Forum.

With Miloud Lahchim from the Ministry of Education of Marocco. On the right is Kah Wall.

Lunch in top-notch company: Iqbal M. Khan from Lahore School of Economics, Ms. Ela R. Bhatt and a Dutch lady who is a senior consultant for P&D Network (for some reason there's no name on her business card).

Okay, I'm going to take a nap after which I'll join back in with the action. We've got some workshops up next, follow-up work from yesterday's workshops. Then it's a free evening (yes, so needed one) and my new friends from EMLYON Business School who interviewed me earlier in the day promised to take me out to see the old town of Lyon.

Tomorrow morning the Forum will be wrapped up. Already look forward to the white paper.


Jerome said...

Thank you Antti it was a great pleasure to have you here even of it was virtually in the same room.

Antti said...

Hello Jerome! A real pleasure to be here - thanks for having me. Hope to be there in Singapore next year too.