Toppel’s annual Global Entrepreneurship Week

The University of Miami will soon join in a worldwide celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which takes place Nov. 15-19 in more than 100 countries and involves an estimated 10 million people, according to the Kauffman Foundation of Entrepreneurship.

This is the third year UM is celebrating the week, in 2008 and 2009 the Launch Pad, part of the Toppel Career Center, was named the No. 1 U.S. GEW campus partner. One of the goals of GEW is to inspire student creativity and imagination in all aspects of the business realm.

“The whole idea [of GEW] is that students will network with entrepreneurs to build a community for people who have similar interest,” said Lexi Matiash, public relations and event planning director of the Launch Pad.

One of the first big GEW events is a free “taste of entrepreneurship” food fair on the UC patio beginning at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15. More than 30 food and beverage vendors will not only offer samples of  their products, but they will be available to students who want to discuss their own ideas for starting businesses in culinary arts area. A restaurateurs’ roundtable will take place after the food fair in the UC lower lounge.

Sophomore Tyler McIntyre, an entrepreneur major in the School of Business Administration, says the best part about GEW is the expertise provided by many.

“I hope to gain knowledge from all of the entrepreneurs,” McIntyre said. “I went last year and it was a lot of fun, I’m looking forward to all of the different panel discussions — and of course the free food.

Other activities for the week include be the finale of the 2010 Elevator Pitch competition. More than 140 businesses entered, and after four preliminary rounds, 22 finalists will be competing for more than $100,000 in prizes. The contestants will get 90 seconds – about the length of a high-rise elevator ride – to pitch their business plans to  panel of judges. The finale will take place on the second day of GEW — Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. — in the Storer Auditorium at the business school.

Wednesday is devoted to women in entrepreneurship, highlighted by a keynote luncheon speaker by Dr. Leslie Bauman. She founded the University of Miami Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute in 1997 and  was a professor of dermatology at the UM Miller School of Medicine for 12 years.

The week will end “fashionably late” with a behind the scenes  look at fashion experts (stylists, publicists, producers, etc.) at the UC patio with a fashion showcase.

“We encourage all students and UM community members to come, whether their interest is in entrepreneurship or a specific industry, to meet like-minded individuals,” Matiash said.

For a look at all the UM GEW event, go to

Andrew Dymburt may be contacted at