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How Kauffman Foundation uses open source to manage 150+ websites

Jozef Toth's picture

iKOS created a new platform for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) with the help of Drupal 7 and the Ageir replication system. The new platform unified the websites of the 150+ GEW partner countries, with regards to the marketing-design appearance, communication systems and functionality of the websites, which were previously independent of each other.

I first learned of iKOS when I met Jozef and David in Liverpool at our Global Entrepreneurship Congress in March 2012. We already had a 'global' site build on Drupal and I had a vision for a global platform that would really demonstrate the size and scale of Global Entrepreneurship Week. iKOS' dedication and experience with Drupal convinced me that they were the right team for the job. Since that time, their willingness to think with us and work through the project has been great as we continue to add new functionality and expand the reach of the platform.

 

International festival of innovators

iKOS created a new platform for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) with the help of Drupal 7 and the Ageir replication system. The new platform unified the websites of the 150+ GEW partner countries, with regards to the marketing-design appearance, communication systems and functionality of the websites, which were previously independent of each other.

The Global Entrepreneurship Week is the biggest international festival of innovators, bringing together their creative ideas that create new jobs, foster economic growth and promote human well-being. This initiative is designed to support young entrepreneurs in particular and was established by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation - the largest American foundation to focus on entrepreneurship, working in partnership with Dell. In 2014 more than 8 million people attended the GEW, including guests, competitors, judges, speakers and many others. GEW is held annually in November.

As Mark Marich, Executive VP of GEW said, "Global Entrepreneurship Week is working with host organizations in 150+ countries who run national awareness campaigns - with 20,000 local partners conducting 30,000 events, activities and competitors each November to support entrepreneurs and build startup ecosystems." Good communication channels are essential in order to meet these challenges. The communication is two-way and happens on multiple levels.

 

How was the project birthed?

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation launched a global website - Gew.co, which is based on Drupal. The quality of the websites in GEW partner countries varied from high quality, similar to Gew.co, to modest or even non-existent. Therefore, the GEW leaders decided it was necessary to unite the respective websites of all the 150+ partner countries and so it was necessary to create a platform in order to do this.

The Drupal and Aegir based system helped the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to save significant amounts of both time and money, as well as reducing the "go to market" time. Adding another country to the database, and launching a new website, is no longer a matter of lengthy development, but instead takes only a few hours.

 

Services provided by iKOS

iKOS which specializes in using Drupal to build online communities was approached by the Kauffman Foundation. iKOS, after conducting a full and thorough analysis used Drupal 7 and the Aegir replication platform to develop a  multisite architecture built on one codebase. It enables every country to present their own GEW country specific control independently, submit activities and add new GEW partners in separate databases, whilst retaining the ability to centrally mange changes across all the 150+ websites.

The Advanced Search facility means it is possible to easily find and filter activities in the proximity of each "location". Each country's website has built in tools enabling them to localise content into their own  language. The translation capability of the websites, enables the principals of the global GEW organizations to be pushed at the local level and have a deep impact on the local community of entrepreneurs.

 

Successfully overcoming challenges

At the beginning of the project iKOS faced two main issues:

a) How to produce more than 150 identical websites

b) How to manage and maintain the websites.

iKOS team's first task was to develop the installation profile that contains all of the functionality of the code. This is about managing change within the code. If the team changes one part of the code then it affects all of the websites in the partner countries.

The second issue was solved deploying a special system for managing websites, called Aegir. Thanks to Aegir, the websites of the partner countries are automatically backed up. In the event of complications or malfunctions, it is possible to revert back to the previous version at any time. Aegir also ensures the continuity and integrity of the site. The original version of the website works until the new version is published.

 

The results of the new platform

Through the implementation of the platform, the iKOS team achieved consistency, ease of use and the option to update all 150+ websites at once. The platform also unified the visual branding elements, ensured the rapid deployment of new versions of webs pages and enabled access and permissions to be easily changed for partners within the GEW ecosystem. The platform also enabled information such as lead articles to be sent from the global site, Gew.co, to partner countries and vice versa.

Thanks to the platform, statistics about activities at the local level are synchronized into a global database on Gew.co. Last but not least, the iKOS team created a central library (entrepreneurship resources library). Its purpose is to encourage the community of partner countries to invest into the library relevant documents and materials to encourage sustainable development, education and growth of entrepreneurship. In the future iKOS plans to expand the platform, expanding both the commerce applications and event management features. With the help of gamificaiton we would like to encourage the creation of online activities, resource sharing, and enable the local communities of the GEW to have a deeper involvement.

About Global Entrepreneurship Week

During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. In five years, GEW has expanded to 150 countries - building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and sponsored by Dell, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of roughly 20,000 partner organizations.

For more information, visit http://genglobal.org/gew and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

 

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundaiton is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets.

For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org and follow the Foundaiton on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

 

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