Telefónica’s Wayra UK Academy in London was the location for the launch of this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s biggest campaign to promote entrepreneurship.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship across the world. Hosted by Youth Business International in the UK, the event marks the first of over 2,500 across the country to promote entrepreneurial activity. Attendees included a number of celebrated UK entrepreneurs and the Rt. Hon. Michael Fallon MP, Minister for Business and Enterprise.

Wayra Europe Director, Simon Devonshire said: “We are thrilled that Global Entrepreneurship Week chose to launch their 2012 UK campaign at Wayra London, which is now home to nineteen amazing digital start-ups. We have two important things in common with GEW. One, we both share a passion for supporting people brave enough to take the plunge and create their own business. Two, we are both global – Wayra now has twelve of these academies in eleven countries, we are creating silicon valleys all over the world. Our ultimate goal is to see entrepreneurs realise and reach their full potential. We wish the GEWUK and the entrepreneurs it inspires, every success for the future.”

Wayra has academies across Europe and Latin America. The London Academy was officially opened on June 29 by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. It held its first “call” last year, receiving over 1000 applications, before being narrowed down to 30 finalists and 16 winners. Three more start-ups joined in September, bringing the total to 19. Each winning start-up received around £40,000 of investment from Telefónica, a state-of-the-art workspace in central London and regular access to mentoring from business leaders with a variety of expertise.

In October 2012, Telefónica was recognised as the best example of an entrepreneurial culture within a corporate business structure at the 2012 Corporate Entrepreneur Awards.

Wayra translates as “changing wind” in Quechua, a language of the central Andes. The global business accelerator was launched in April 2011 by COO of Telefónica S.A. José María Álvarez-Pallete.

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