What is the Global Entrepreneurship Congress?

Since launching in 2009 in Kansas City, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress has grown from 200 delegates to several thousand from more than 160 countries participating each March. Hosted by the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a local organization from the host country, the GEC explores the latest programs, policies and efforts to help entrepreneurs start and scale.


Who may participate?

Anyone may register and participate as a delegate – there is no cost to attend. Delegates represent all parts of the global entrepreneurship ecosystem: entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers, government officials, startup support organizations, educators and more.


Why is the GEC important?

The globalization of entrepreneurship has brought an explosion of programs, startup communities and investment into a new field where there is a paucity of data around what works and what does not in supporting nascent entrepreneurs and new firms forming and trying to scale. Traditional business, education and government leaders have been eager champions, but they need more sophisticated tools, programs and research to help them most efficiently direct their attention and funds to areas that have the greatest impact on future economic growth.

The GEC helps address these needs by identifying effective initiatives – in all types of economies, large or small, advanced or developing – that positively impact entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. 


Where has the GEC been held?

The following cities have hosted the Global Entrepreneurship Congress: Kansas City (2009), Dubai (2010), Shanghai (2011), Liverpool (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Moscow (2014), Milan (2015) and Medellín (2016).

The 2017 host city is Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2018, the host city will be Istanbul, Turkey.




When and where does the GEC take place?

The host city for GEC 2017 is Johannesburg, South Africa. The event takes place from March 13 – 16 at the Sandton Convention Centre.  


How do I register?

Registration is now open for the 2017 GEC in Johannesburg. Participation at the GEC is free but you must register in advance. If you have never attended a GEC before, please register to create a new delegate profile once registration is open. If you registered as a delegate for GEC 2016 in Medellín, please do not create a new delegate profile. Click the LOGIN button or, if you have forgotten your password, click the REQUEST NEW PASSWORD button.

Once your registration is complete you will receive an email with a link to confirm your registration. Once registered for the GEC, you will be able to build a personalized schedule on the website, selecting the sessions you want to attend.

NOTE: By registering on the website your profile will be made available to all delegates. Your public profile will include your picture, name, organization, country, and a contact link that will allow other delegates to send you a message through the website.


Will you pay for my travel expenses?

While there is no cost to register or participate in the GEC, delegates are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs as well as any other expenses incurred while attending the GEC. 


Can I get an official invitation letter to apply for a visa?

Prior to asking for a visa invitation letter, please make sure you have registered online to reserve your spot at the GEC. Then, if you have questions about obtaining a visa invitation letter, please email visasgec2017@tourvestdm.com


How should I dress for this event?

The dress code for the GEC and its sessions is business casual. For those attending the Compass Awards + Gala Dinner (by invitation only), semi-formal attire is expected.  


What are the recommended hotels in Johannesburg for the GEC?

The official hotel of GEC 2017 is the Sandton Sun Hotel. Information on this hotel and several other recommended hotels is now available on the HOTELS page of this site.


What are Johannesburg and South Africa like? 

To learn more about South Africa, and the city of Johannesburg, check out the HOST CITY page, which will be updated soon. Find answers to questions about Johannesburg and South Africa.  




How do I find up-to-date information about sessions and their locations?

The most up-to-date information will be available on the GEC website. Delegates are encouraged to use the website, as well as the mobile version of the site, for the latest updates, room locations and to connect with other delegates. You may also follow us on Twitter @GECGlobal.


Is there WiFi at the events?

Free wifi is provided throughout the GEC.