High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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How Lebanon can create its own Silicon Valley by improving access to finance

Endeavor Insight released a report, “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon.”

“Silicon Valley” is synonymous with successful entrepreneurship.  While its roots lie in a verdant valley in Northern California, it is a phenomenon not solely confined to the United States.  A fundamental Endeavor belief is that “Silicon Valleys” can be created anywhere—that a network of entrepreneurs, funders, and entrepreneurial support organizations can create a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in countries, cities, and markets all over the world.  A new report from Endeavor Insight tests this theory.  It focuses on the potential of Lebanon, a country not immediately associated with entrepreneurship, to foster and support high-impact entrepreneurship.  Specifically, it analyzes one aspect of a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem—access to finance.  Through interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese entrepreneurship actors (including VCs, incubators, and entrepreneurs), the report maps out the current funding landscape in Lebanon, its main barriers to progress, and its biggest future opportunities.

Simply stated, the Lebanese funding landscape is still at a fairly nascent stage opportunity remains in the next few years. This potential is mirrored in the past trajectory of growth: the number of VC deals done from 2010 – 2012 is twenty-one versus just three from 2000 – 2009.  Unfortunately, many of the VCs and bank guarantors came before the facilitators and incubators, which make it difficult for entrepreneurs and funders to be on an equal playing field.  The first three VC firms emerged in 2008 and 2009 while five accelerators and facilitators emerged shortly after, from 2009 to 2011.

With that said, a robust environment of incubators and entrepreneurial support organizations has gained traction in the last three years to assist entrepreneurs in raising funds.  These developments bode well for Lebanese entrepreneurship.

The report goes on to further outline immediate, actionable steps which the government, entrepreneurs and funders can take to move the ecosystem forward.

To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.

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2012 Endeavor Gala Highlights Game-Changing Entrepreneurship

On Thursday, November 8, over 450 people attended the 2012 Endeavor Gala at 583 Park Avenue in New York City. Endeavor’s only annual fundraising event, the Gala raises about $2.0 million each year to further Endeavor Global’s mission to select and accelerate the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

Endeavor co-founder & CEO Linda Rottenberg said that this year, in honor of Endeavor’s 15th anniversary, the team wanted to do “something special.” The organization invited five game-changing Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Nikos Kakavoulis of Daily Secret (Greece); Yasmine Shihata of Venus Media & PR (Egypt); Bento Koike of Tecsis (Brazil); Nevzat Aydin of Yemeksepeti.com (Turkey); and Martin Migoya of Globant (Argentina), to participate in a panel discussion on entrepreneurship.

Rottenberg explained that in the wake of the chaos Hurricane Sandy wreaked on New York City, she wanted Gala guests to understand why Endeavor views high-impact entrepreneurship as the answer to many of the global economy’s problems.

“[Entrepreneurs] do view our increasingly chaotic world much differently than most of us,” Rottenberg said. “For them, chaos is not the enemy, chaos is their friend. When economies turn down, entrepreneurs look up…I invite you into our world, and I think that once you meet these big dreamers, you’ll understand why we’re so hopeful about the future at Endeavor.”


In addition to the panel discussion, attendees heard from Endeavor Global Chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Bronfman, Jr. thanked donors and partners for their commitment to Endeavor. “What you’re doing  and how you’re helping us is absolutely critical to creating entrepreneurial ecosystems in each of these countries,” he said.

Dinner ended with a performance by up-and-coming UK singer Rumer! Following dinner, guests enjoyed Endeavor’s annual after-party, with special guest DJ Hannah Bronfman.

Click here to view photos from the Gala cocktail and dinner. Click here to view photos taken in front of the Endeavor banner.


Global Entrepreneurship Week Endeavor Tip of the Day: Start With What You Know

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

The best business ideas are often right under your nose. When launching a company, instead of searching for a ground-breaking business idea, start with what you know. Entrepreneurs can identify a competitive advantage in an industry and get feedback more quickly if they already know the industry and potential customers. Many leading entrepreneurs have become successful by creating businesses in an area where they have prior experience.

Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown shared her insight on what “start with what you know” means to her.

“I’ve had a lifelong love affair with makeup. When I was a little girl, I used to take my mother’s makeup and paint all of my dolls’ faces, and I even painted the dog’s face! It wasn’t until I was in college trying to figure out what to do with my life that my mother asked me, ‘Pretend it’s your birthday, and if you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?’ I told her I wanted to go to Marshall Field’s and play with makeup. She said, ‘Then you should become a makeup artist.’ And I did. I was frustrated by the lack of flattering makeup options for women. The colors that were available made women look like they had makeup on — so you noticed the makeup before the woman. There was nothing on the market that accentuated a woman’s natural beauty. When I first got into making makeup, I didn’t necessarily want to start a company. I just wanted to make a lipstick that looked like lips, only better. This first lipstick became Brown No. 4 and it was a pinky brown. I realized that not all women like nude shades, so I created nine more lipstick shades inspired by different women I knew. I launched those 10 lip colors at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991—and that was essentially the start of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.”

Twenty years later Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are sold in 56 countries and 988 stores worldwide. As it turns out, “starting with what she knew” was the key to Bobbi’s success.

Data from Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship suggests that most high-impact entrepreneurs “start with what they know.”

Among the best Endeavor Entrepreneurs – those whose companies have grown at an average of 20% or greater over the last three years – 94% started businesses that met three criteria:
1. The business was in a market or industry in which the entrepreneur already had expertise;
2. The business utilized skills that the entrepreneur already had acquired; and,
3. The entrepreneur was close enough to customers that he could engage them very early and often.

Hairdresser turned High-Impact Entrepreneur by starting with what she already knew, hair.

When Heloísa Helena Assis recognized that women with curly hair (like herself) did not have access to quality hair care products in Brazil, she decided to draw on her experience as a hairdresser to develop a patented product that tames and smoothes curly locks. Shortly thereafter Heloísa and her business partners Rogério, Leila and Jair opened the first Beleza Natural salon in 1993. An immediate success, Beleza Natural quickly grew into 26 franchised salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, which today employ over 1,000 people. Each franchise serves up to 1,000 customers per day, processing up to forty clients at a time through their seven-step process. Clearly, because she herself was the target customer for Beleza Natural’s first product, Heloísa was able to develop a product that would serve customers needs for years to come and provide the basis for Beleza Natural’s success.

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