Global Entrepreneurship Week nears

Only days remain until the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration and this year – just like 2011 – Tennessee leads the nation in the number of GEW-sanctioned events.

That’s right, Tennessee boasts the most GEW activities, more than California or New York or Florida. Pretty impressive stat, that, but not really surprising.

For a state that gave the world its first self-serve grocery store, from a city where an entrepreneur revolutionized the travel industry and another who did the same in logistics (Clarence Saunders’ Piggly Wiggly, Kemmons Wilson’s Holiday Inn and Fred Smith’s FedEx, in case you’re wondering) entrepreneurial activity just seems part of our DNA.

And that’s why it’s so exciting to promote startups in such a vital way.

There are more than a couple dozen GEW-sanctioned and related activities in Memphis from now through Nov. 18, when Global Entrepreneurship week wraps up (the official start is Nov. 12, but several early events occurred this week, including today’s Robert R. Church awards that honored area minority innovators).

One of the upcoming celebrations, which isn’t officially linked to GEW, but which definitely highlights the Memphis entrepreneurial connection, will be Tuesday’s reception from 10 to 11 a.m. at Cotton Tails in Laurelwood Shopping Center (389 Perkins Extd.) for native Memphian and global entrepreneur Leigh Rawdon.

Rawdon, who makes her home on the West Coast, is co-founder of Tea Collection, a clothing company that designs globally inspired fashions for women and children up to age 12.

Cotton Tails owner Miki Brugge said Rawdon’s story is a perfect example of Memphis entrepreneurship and its influence around the world.

“Leigh grew up here and developed her entrepreneurial talent that now is recognized everywhere. Her designs reflect international influences and make up about a quarter of our store. To say she’s popular is an understatement. Women here just can’t wait to get her newest designs. I think it’s perfect that she’ll be in her hometown, discussing her new designs during Global Entrepreneurship Week.”

The reception is free and open to the public, so make sure you stop by Cotton Tails on Tuesday to say hello to a hometown entrepreneurial success story.

And for a more detailed list of many of the upcoming GEW events, visit


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