High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Get RSS Feed

Global Board Member Fadi Ghandour Discusses Barriers to Scale for MENA Entrepreneurs

dubaiThis post comes from Fadi Ghandour, who is the founder of Aramex, a board member of Endeavor, and the Chairman of Wamda, an organization that works to empower entrepreneurs in the MENA region. View the original post on the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Insights page.

“Two-thirds of the Arab World ‘s population is below the age of 29. The region is not only growing younger, but also becoming more literate. With rising levels of education, connectivity, and mobility, the biggest challenge remains: How do we create good jobs for the restless millions?

Entrepreneurs are drivers of growth, innovation, and competitiveness. A recent World Bank report on small and medium sized companies (SMEs) shows that the highest contributors to employment are firms with less than 100 employees. And, not surprisingly, it is scalable businesses that generate the biggest share of economic opportunities. A study conducted by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Stanford University and Endeavor in 2011 reveals that the top 5% of the 380,000 companies surveyed across 10 European and Asian countries have generated 72% of total revenue and 67% of the total employment recorded by these companies.

And yet, although scalability is critical for job creation, company founders still encounter many barriers when starting and growing their businesses. For startups to thrive, the different ecosystem players must understand the nature and source of these obstacles and work hard to eliminate them. But without comprehensive, up-to-date data they will not be able to craft viable, practical solutions.

Wamda’s newest initiative, the Wamda Research Lab (WRL), is focused on publishing research and insights on regional entrepreneurial activity to inform policy makers, investors, and other stakeholders on the critical challenges and gaps in this space. In its first report, The Next Step: Breaking barriers to scale for MENA entrepreneurs, WRL identifies the hurdles company founders face in generating revenues, raising capital, attracting talent, building teams, and facilitating expansion. Our study reveals that 63% of entrepreneurs and 60% of experts consider finding talent to build teams as a major challenge. Access to new markets is yet another central issue: 47% of entrepreneurs and 50% of experts cited difficulty in finding partners to facilitate expansion as an impediment to scale. Moreover, 41% of entrepreneurs said that the biggest restraint to generating revenues is marketing products and services.

The fact remains that the region’s outdated education systems, which continue to graduate generations of unemployable youth with no competitive 21st century skills, and its fragmented markets that allow little mobility of people and companies, are stifling the growth of entrepreneurs, and innovators. Unemployment needs to be considered in every policy, national strategy, private-sector initiative, and social activity. It is time we collectively deploy our knowledge, resources, capital, and networks to enable entrepreneurship as a development tool. I encourage all stakeholders – governments, investors, entrepreneurship institutions, universities, civil society, large corporations, and entrepreneurs – to read this report and take its conclusions seriously, in the hope that they will trigger effective action and positive change.

Finally, I would like to thank Endeavor Insight for their guidance, support, and expertise throughout the entirety of this project.”

Endeavor and the SAP Social Sabbatical Program Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

SSIR_Logo_2013The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently profiled the Social Sabbatical program at SAP, an Endeavor sponsor, and the software giant’s efforts to transform emerging market economies by leveraging the expertise of its employees. Developed in partnership with  PYXERA Global, the program offers high-performing employees the chance to work with emerging market organizations and entrepreneurs in order to gain critical leadership and cross-industry skills.

Co-authored by Alexandra van der Ploeg, interim head of global CSR at SAP, and Deirdre White, CEO of PYXERA, the article emphasizes the need for corporations to better equip their talent base with knowledge of emerging markets, while also giving employees the opportunity to pursue socially-conscious causes. Launched in 2012, the Social Sabbatical program is SAP’s initiative to address these understandings, allowing employees to participate in short-term pro-bono assignments with growing organizations around the world.

In particular, a global group of 12 SAP employees, including marketing managers, software engineers, quality controllers and more, traveled to Johannesburg in October 2013 to spend a month advising four organizations, including the team at Endeavor South Africa. In order to address the challenges of growing a network of mentors and potential investors, three SAP employees worked with the local office to design an implementation strategy for an Investor Network event, research prospective markets and investors, and craft an internal and external marketing strategy. Learn more about Endeavor South Africa’s work with the program by clicking here.

Earlier in 2013, the Review also highlighted Endeavor’s partnership with EY on the Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows Program (now the EY Vantage Program), which also places high-performing employees on short-term assignments with emerging market companies. In the piece, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and Deborah K. Holmes, EY Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility, presented essential tips for designing successful CSR programs. Since 2006, EY Fellows have donated nearly 30,000 hours to working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs in the Americas.

View the full SSIR piece by clicking here.

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: John Donahoe

This video was filmed during Endeavor’s invitation-only 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco (June 2013).

In this keynote, eBay CEO John Donahoe speaks about the transformation of retail, bridging the online and offline, and the future of commerce. Under his leadership, eBay has become a global commerce platform and payments leader, with revenue in 2012 of $14.1 billion. Across its eBay, PayPal and GSI Commerce platforms, the company enabled $175 billion of commerce in 2012, which represents about 18% of e-commerce worldwide and about 2% of global retail. The company is also a mobile commerce leader, with a mobile commerce volume of $13 billion and a PayPal mobile payments volume of $14 billion in 2012. With eBay focused on enabling commerce as a partner, not a competitor, Donahoe addresses the importance of founders and entrepreneurs in innovating-at-scale and transforming the traditional retail industry.

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: Ali Partovi & Eric Eldon

This video was filmed during Endeavor’s invitation-only 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco (June 2013).

In this fireside chat, TechCrunch Editor Eric Eldon interviews Ali Partovi about his path from serial entrepreneur (iLike, LinkExchange, Code.org) to early-stage investor (Facebook, Dropbox, Zappos and Airbnb) to startup advisor. Hear why sustainable agriculture and food companies like Brightfarms and Farmigo are next on his radar.

Ali Partovi is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur & investor. Ali co-founded LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft for $265 million), and iLike (the first successful app on the Facebook platform). He was an early investor in Dropbox, Facebook, OPOWER and Zappos. Ali also co-founded Code.org, a non-profit to promote Computer Science education. Ali’s passion and current focus is sustainable food and agriculture.

Eric Eldon is the Co-Editor of TechCrunch. He was previously the Co-Founder and editor of Inside Network, where he managed publications including Inside Facebook, Inside Social Games and Inside Mobile Apps. Before that, he spent a couple of years covering technology and finance at VentureBeat, a leading Silicon Valley publication where he was the first employee. Eric attended Stanford University and graduated with a degree in International Relations in 2005. He reported and edited news for The Stanford Daily student newspaper.

Watch the playlist of excerpts from their discussion:

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: Alex Asseily and Fadi Ghandour

From Endeavor’s invitation-only 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco (June 20, 2013).

In this fireside chat, Alex Asseily, STATE Founder & Executive Chairman and Jawbone Co-Founder, talks with Fadi Ghandour, Founder of Aramex and Endeavor board member, about the relationship between and intersection of revolution and entrepreneurship — both across industries and geographies.

Looking to transform the consumer electronics industry with Jawbone, Alex Asseily’s company became a leader in the mobile lifestyle field with products like the Jawbone Icon & Era headsets, the Jambox wireless speaker line and UP personal health solutions. In addition to his role as Jawbone Chairman, he has also been lauded for his work with the software company STATE, a global opinion network, and with  organizations like General Assembly.

One of the Middle East’s leading businessmen and entrepreneurs, Fadi Ghandour founded Aramex, the region’s premiere logistics and transportation company, and served for over 30 years as the company’s CEO. As both an active supporter of the Endeavor network and a well-recognized investor, he has become a noted figure in the world of entrepreneurship and social innovation. 

Watch the playlist of excerpts from their discussion:

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: Dave Goldberg and Wences Casares

From Endeavor’s invitation-only 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco (June 20, 2013).

Over their careers, Endeavor Entrepreneur and Lemon Wallet CEO and founder Wences Casares and SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg have been entrepreneurs, investors, founders and successful CEOs. In this frank fireside chat on leadership through a company’s — and an entrepreneur’s — life cycle, the two draw straight from their years of experience in the business and venture capital worlds. Casares reflects on his role as founding CEO of five companies and Goldberg describes both a founder’s and a CEO’s mentality as he took SurveyMonkey from a 14-person team to a $1 billion global business.

Watch the playlist of excerpts from their discussion:

Dave Goldberg & Wences Casares:

On Following Your Passion

On Being an Entrepreneur-In-Residence

On Venture Pitching and Investments

On Building SurveyMonkey Into a Billion Dollar Business

On Successful Managers and Emerging Markets

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Video: Ben Horowitz and Chris Schroeder

From Endeavor’s invitation only 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco (June 20, 2013).

Internet entrepreneur, investor and author Chris Schroeder has spent years researching the rise of a new generation of start-ups and entrepreneurs across the Middle East. Ben Horowitz has seen many generations of entrepreneurs, investors and companies from the front line: from his internship in the 1980s at Silicon Graphics (the Google of its day) to co-founding Opsware (sold to HP to $1.6 billion) to building US$2.7 billion venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Schroeder and Horowitz compare notes: what does it take to build a generation of entrepreneurs, investors and advisors that will bring innovation and impact to a region?

 

0:09 All the Creative, Smart People in the World Can Play

6:49 Snapshot of Innovation and Investing Around the World

18:10 On the Network Effect and Building Ecosystems beyond Silicon Valley

29:51 Final Words of Advice

 

Timed for G20, EY Issues a New Entrepreneurship Barometer Report

As part of its continuing thought-leader efforts surrounding the G20 meetings, Endeavor Partner EY released a new version of its Entrepreneurship Barometer report this week.  The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013 is designed to help leading countries benchmark their progress and performance on this vital issue. It enables each G20 nation to identify current strengths in its entrepreneurial environment, as well as the main opportunities for further development.  As a result, the Barometer provides a powerful framework to help countries understand and improve the ecosystems that are vital to the success of the entrepreneurs of the future.

Although there have been a number of international studies on entrepreneurial ecosystems, there is still a need for better tools and data to help countries measure their performance on this issue. This report makes an important contribution to this endeavor by capturing insights from key research initiatives.  A key conclusion of the report:  Mature markets continue to provide the best ecosystems for entrepreneurship development but rapid-growth markets — such as Endeavor countries Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — are closing the gap.

EY hopes the report will grab the attention of government leaders attending the G20.  “The need to act is clear. Entrepreneurs have the power to create jobs and drive growth – but first we need to give them the tools and the environment that will enable them to succeed,” said Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets at EY.

For a complete copy of the report, click here.

 

Fostering High Impact Entrepreneurship in Indonesia

Endeavor Indonesia Managing Director Sati Rasuanto was recently published in Strategic Review, an important Indonesian policy journal, writing on the subject of  how to create the necessary conditions for high impact entrepreneurship to flourish in that country.  Rasuanto points out that surveys show that Indonesians are “far less likely to start their own businesses than their Singaporean or American counterparts.”  In the article she outlines some of the necessary steps toward increasing awareness and participation in entrepreneurial activities.  Endeavor launched in Indonesia in 2012 and has already selected its first four Indonesian Endeavor Entrepreneurs.  To read the full article, click here.

Guest Opinion: The Body Shop Experiment with Entrepreneurship and CSR

The following post was submitted by the authors, Bruce Sheppy and Bryan Mcintosh, and represents Endeavor’s continued interest in sharing different views on measuring impact and social entrepreneurship.  The opinions are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement or the opinion of Endeavor.

An Undiscovered Country

The Body Shop experiment with Entrepreneurship and CSR 

The Body Shop’s business has been an entrepreneurial enterprise of remarkable success. Its core lies on the principle, pioneered by founder Anita Roddick, that ‘(…) the business of business should not be just about money, it should be about responsibility.’   The company is the symbol of the 1970’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) revolution.

Presently, The Body Shop is part of one of the major ‘Giants’ of the cosmetic industry – L’Oreal Group – but its overall performance has been abysmal since the company’s acquisition in 2006.  The Body Shop accounts for 4% of L’Oreal net sales figures. The overall net sales figures show a weak performance of the company with £754m for 2010 with a like-for-like growth of -1.1%. The L’Oreal Group attributes the company’s 2010 strategic reorganization as the consequence of the poor sales performance. L’Oreal Group financial statements (2010) reveal a contrast in global sales performance: whereas developed countries sales continue to weaken: in other markets, such as Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe, the company reports a strong sales performance. While the company is still the face of cruelty free and ethics in business practices, its competitors, such as Lush, are in the forefront of customer service. Body Shop is the weakest company in the L’Oreal Group with an overall 8.7% profit.

CSR is based on a pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility – financial, legal, ethical and discretionary – and its applicability to general business practices. The rationale for this pyramid is that there is a natural progression of any business from being financially sustainable to an ultimate progression of volunteer engagement in social actions.

Nevertheless there is no concrete evidence that demonstrates the applicability of the concept to business strategy. The perceived applicability of CSR in business strategies balances marketing strategies of brand enhancement with an inefficient solution against global poverty in emergent economies.   Many now question the idea of Fair Trade and wonder whether the global labor standards set by developed nations are naïve when considering the economic, social and cultural factors of each country.

The Body Shop is the face of CSR practices but it is also a business in serious trouble. It has been traditionally focused on issues of compliance, transparency, volunteerism and philanthropy.   The Body Shop is no more the brand that it was once up on a time. CSR practices pioneered by Anita Roddick have enjoyed success in the past but lack in integration with the business principles and The company is lacking in innovation and in understanding what the customer wants. The marketing strategy that follows is one of an abundance of promotions, discounts and loyalty programs but lacking in a core selling proposition to its customer.

In conclusion, the Body Shop, once the epitome of doing responsible business responsible and a pioneer of fair trade practices across the globe, now languishes at a crossroads. Without any demerit to its principles, the fact is that the company is suffering from a steady decline of its sales figures – and.

The company’s CSR vision lacks a strategic integration with customer service and marketing . The CSR ideology is not matched with  a marketing strategy that can translate into feasible business practices.  The alternative might be to address either an integration of CSR with business strategy, or to adopt a different outlook on how to address the issues by responsibly doing business – the undiscovered country of totally responsible entrepreneurship.

To contact the authors:

Bruce Sheppy, Associate Professor of Marketing,  Richmond University, The American International University in London, 16 Young Street, Kensington, London W8 5EH. bruce.sheppy@richmond.ac.uk

Bryan McIntosh, Ph.D. Associate Professor of International Business, Richmond University, The American International University in London, 16 Young Street, Kensington, London W8 5EH, bryan.mcintosh@Richmond.ac.uk

Click here to learn more about business administration, international business and entrepreneurial degree programs at Richmond University.

 

Contact us

Press center

Community

Newsletter Sign Up