Tonight’s formal reception was overwhelming.
More than 400 entrepreneurs from around the world gathered in a palace (like, a REAL palace) to listen to lengthy speeches about the importance of entrepreneurship to the future of the global economy. One of the German delegates ate seven mini hamburgers in a row, and I helped one of the French student volunteers sneak in. Matthew Hudson aptly explained to me that my method of waiting in line to reach the wine was completely pointless.
‘This is a micro-cosmos of capitalism,’ he said. ‘If you want something, you have to push your way to the front’.
We ended the evening at a seafood restaurant across the road. Because there wasn’t enough room for more than thirty delegates to sit at one table, our group temporarily defected and joined the Italians, where we were met with a warm reception.
The chatter at our table inevitably led to people sharing photos and stories of their families, and I looked at photos of someone’s children – it looked like they were on a private jet. So many of the delegates are running companies worth well over six figures, and they are all world travellers. They seem at home here.
Barbara is fast becoming my favourite delegate. She can drink, yell, and swear louder than the entire Quebec delegation put together, and she has a clear grasp on what real life is for the vast majority of the people in our country, but she is also ambitious, and has managed to find a balance between wanting to be very successful and wanting to be socially responsible. I admire her for that.
Barbara explained to me that she felt just as overwhelmed by the wealth and diversity at the last G20 youth summit. Her advice is sound… listen, learn and don’t be intimidated. Every one of these people started somewhere.
I’ll be following Barbara around a lot tomorrow, I think.
Meghan Athavale, owner of PO-MO Inc. of Winnipeg MB is one of the 31 dynamic young Canadian entrepreneurs forming the official Canadian delegation at the G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit (G20 YES) in Nice, France, October 31-November 2, 2011. Follow her on Twitter @pomoinc.