New York, N.Y. – Fresh off winning British Airways’ Face of Opportunity contest in which 1,500 entrepreneurs competed for 10 free round-trip flights anywhere in the world to help expand business internationally, Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise is high on life – so much so he’s 30,000 feet off the ground today (Feb. 3).
Braun and about 250 contestants are mingling on airplanes en route to London as part of British Airways’ three-day global entrepreneurship conference that started Wednesday in New York City with presentations from influential international-business experts and renowned entrepreneurs.
“London is one of the major business and financial centers of the world, and many American businesses have their first European offices in London and then use London as a jumping off point to the rest of the world,” Simon Talling-Smith, executive vice president of Americas for British Airways, told BusinessNewsDaily.
From London, the entrepreneurs will travel to different destinations around the world such as Mumbai, Sydney and Tokyo for business meetings intended to help them grow their ventures.
Braun’s global strategies for Pencils of Promise, his nonprofit organization that builds schools in developing countries, wooed a celebrity panel and the voting audience of entrepreneurs at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
Judge Bill Rancic, the original winner of Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” and star of A&E’s “We Mean Business,” was most impressed with how much of Pencils of Promise’s funding (roughly 80 percent) goes toward building schools versus administrative costs. Barbara Corcoran, a judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and Bethnney Frankel, the runner-up on “The Celebrity Apprentice: Martha Stewart” and castmember on “Real Housewives of New York City,” joined Rancic as judges.
Before the contest, conference attendees listened to experts discuss international-relationship building, cultural etiquette, building an online community, maximizing international-business tips, money, financing and networking.
The conference emphasized the importance of face-to-face interaction but also stressed how social media and other online efforts could contribute to offline relationships.
Presenters included USA Today columnists Rhonda Abrams and Steve Strauss; Foursquare business-development manager Jake Furst; Mashable editor Adam Ostrow; StartupNation co-founder Rich Sloan; Women For Hire CEO Tory Johnson; Bakas Media founder Rick Bakas; Small Business Trends editor Anita Campbell; and U.S. Commerce Department international trade specialist Ryan Hollowell, among many others.