Jonathan Ortmans


Global Entrepreneurship Network

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Jonathan Ortmans is founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), an organization that provides a platform of programs and initiatives building one ecosystem to help new firms start and scale. GEN is headquartered in Washington, DC, but operates in 170 countries where it works to foster healthier local ecosystems to help entrepreneurs unleash their ideas and turn them into promising new ventures—creating jobs, unearthing innovations for society and strengthening economic stability around the world.

Ortmans launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Each November since then, millions of people are welcomed into the entrepreneurial culture through thousands of local GEW activities and competitions all happening in one week. Through building GEW, he assembled a broad multi-disciplinary coalition that is the backbone of GEN operations, including entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, researchers and affiliated support organizations.

Ortmans also chairs the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that gathers 8,000 leaders annually each April from the entrepreneurial ecosystems GEN serves to collaborate on effective approaches to advancing entrepreneurial growth. After launching it in 2009 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, he has now chaired the GEC in Dubai, Shanghai, Liverpool, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Milan, Medellin and Johannesburg. The GEC will celebrate its 10th year in April 2018 in Istanbul.

As an economist, Ortmans has worked on Capitol Hill and served for several years as Executive Director of a Washington think tank. Using this experience, he has built a robust global entrepreneurship policy initiative called Startup Nations which, in collaboration with the World Bank, drives scholarship, policy hacks and knowledge sharing across borders between governments and advisors around policymaking to advance the rates that firms start and scale. Startup Nations meets each November for the Startup Nations Summit and culminates in the Startup Nations Ministerial each April.

Ortmans founder experience includes two successful exits early in his career. He has served as a longtime advisor to the Kauffman Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, beyond chairing the Boards of dozens of GEN affiliates, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow.

Ortmans speaks and writes about high-growth entrepreneurship regularly and has emerged as a global strategist for healthier ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world.

He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and three young children.