Oftentimes circumstances can dictate a set course for an individual, but an entrepreneur needs the freedom to discover, solve problems, and find her own path to utilize her talent and creativity to build a successful enterprise. CEED not only addresses entrepreneurs’ needs in terms of skill building, but also provides a community, an environment where ideas can be tested, developed, scrapped, reinvented, and scaled. This environment, built on trust and peer interaction, is critical to helping entrepreneurs become who they really are: people who can make ideas and dreams a reality for themselves and others. Keeping true to that value will be a driving force for CEED in 2015 and beyond as we embark on new global services to expand our reach to more entrepreneurs and markets around the world.
Last year marked a new level of recognition and validation of CEED as an organization. Here are some of the highlights:
- Our year culminated in the first CEED Global Conference held in Casablanca, Morocco. This event attracted over 400 participants and was highlighted by the likes of Priceline.com founder, Jeff Hoffman, and Silicon Valley venture capitalist and innovation expert, Victor Hwang. The focus on Morocco highlights our program in the Maghreb which recently was recognized as an honorary awardee for global impact by United Nation’s Global Compact Office. The award recognizes firms trying to realize a more sustainable and inclusive global economy. In the words of the forum organizer, “CEED Morocco’s leadership team has taken an original initiative to build the capacity of young Moroccan entrepreneurs and develop the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through this award, we are also celebrating youth and women in leadership”.
- At the Global Conference, CEED honored finalists from 8 different countries in our ‘Entrepreneur of the Year” contest. The winner was Matej Fegus, CEO of DONAR d.o.o. Matej Fegus was selected based on his achievements in enhancing the capacity of his company, building his connections in the local and international markets, and developing his local community. Matej Fegus is a CEED mentor and regularly volunteers his time to share his knowledge and lessons learned with the next generation of entrepreneurs.
- The past year also included the launch of CEED in Tunisia, a new market for us and another important step in providing services to entrepreneurs in the North Africa who can leverage CEED community, connections and know-how to scale their firms. The launch comes at a critical time for the country of Tunisia.
- CEED Macedonia was recognized as a National Champion of the European Business Awards. The European Business Awards aim to recognize and reward quality, best practice and innovation in the business community in Europe.
- Collaboration & Outreach: CEED Kosovo has partnered with BiD Network and SPARK to further develop the ecosystem in Kosovo through the “Enhancing Entrepreneurship and Business Growth” project.
- CEED Albania and CEED Serbia launched “Empowering Women in Business”, an ongoing program which is a part of the USAID-funded Regional Economic Growth project, and networking series that focuses on enhancing leadership, management and entrepreneurial skills of early-stage women entrepreneurs in hopes of increasing the number of women contributing to the SME sector, and therefore the national economy of Albania and Serbia.
2015 marks CEED’s 10th anniversary. It has been honor and pleasure to work with amazingly talented and dedicated colleagues to grow the program for a decade. Our focus on serving entrepreneurs has helped us remain resilient, relevant and adaptive. This anniversary year will be a year in which CEED strives to reach new a new level of impact. We know that what makes CEED special is its entrepreneurs with all of their enthusiasm, hard work, openness, and determination that make our entrepreneurial community dynamic and ever growing. Our goal is to keep expanding the network into new markets and to drive membership value so that CEED continues to be the “go to place” for our members; a place where they can find the resources they need to grow, learn, and share their experiences with others to make the world a better place.