History of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers

Oct. 8, 2019


The annual Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) was held from September 26-28, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. The McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship is among an elite group of universities to provide leadership for the GCEC, and remains committed to sharing their expertise in entrepreneurship education with the world.

Sherry Hoskinson, CEO of Genius Avenue and former director of the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship, reflects on the University of Arizona's role in the GCEC:

"GCEC has not always been GCEC. It started as NCEC—the National Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers.  At its start in the mid 1990s, the “consortium” consisted of fewer than 10 schools—all pioneers in what was an almost unknown and unrecognized field of study.  The University of Arizona’s center was among them.  The center—then called the Karl Eller Center for the Study of the Private Market Economy, housed the Berger Entrepreneurship Program. 

Those eight schools met at the University of Maryland to explore and build on the trajectory of entrepreneurship education and the determinants of growth and influence.  The organization has consistently focused on the unique roles and diverse responsibilities of entrepreneurship center directors in creating meaningful roles in institutions that didn’t always believe in the value, and often felt was not appropriate for business schools.

So strong was the need for these types of discussions, within a few years the membership reached over 200. Each year, the annual conference attracted more leaders and more topics. 

Deep relationships, the spread of entrepreneurship across disciplines, robust research and research support, and the art of teaching and developing entrepreneurs, have held the focus of the membership.  More and more, topics such as fundraising, center launch and growth, and qualifying student outcomes are part of the discussion.  The organization has played a key role in shaping the phenomenal growth of entrepreneurship education.  Today, virtually every school has some entrepreneurship offering—ranging from specialty programs, such as Women in Entrepreneurship—to vast powerhouse schools with highly funded centers that serve all areas of their university, ecosystem stakeholders, and leading national and global discussions.

GCEC is where we all learn from each other, and acknowledge and celebrate one another.  The GCEC awards program, introduced in the mid-2000s, was designed and launched through leadership of the UA Center.  The University of Arizona has maintained a leadership and influencer role from the beginning, retaining an executive board seat for over two decades. In 2008, the University of Arizona hosted the annual conference and launched the expanded focus, changing from National Consortium to Global Consortium.  This year’s annual conference, held in Stockholm Sweden, was attended by colleagues from 28 different countries. The opportunity to explore the influences of culture, location, and geography as they relate to entrepreneurial opportunities and methods for teaching, have never been better.  

The University of Arizona has twice received the organization’s premier award—the Nasdaq Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence.  Only one other center matches this. We will strive for an unprecedented third award."