Every summer, top graduate and undergraduate students in the engineering, business and computer science fields spend a summer working with an Endeavor and Endeavor Entrepreneurs to assist in technical work assignments. These students are driven by interests in bridging technology and society through innovation, design, and entrepreneurship. Following is a post from Wade Prospere, a PiLA participant who spent the summer working with the Endeavor Argentina office.
After graduating from Cornell University in 2010 and working as a Financial Analyst for Merrill Lynch for three years, I joined Endeavor Argentina in 2013 as a Princeton in Latin America fellow. I was drawn to Endeavor’s commitment to entrepreneurship as the key to sustained economic growth in emerging markets, and I wanted the opportunity to personally contribute to Endeavor’s impact. Working for Endeavor served as an incredible opportunity to learn—both from inspiring entrepreneurs and mentors, and from an amazingly talented global team.
Upon arriving in Buenos Aires in June of 2013, I joined Endeavor Argentina’s 8-person Search and Selection team. The Search and Selection team is responsible for driving Endeavor’s selection process, which involves: screening entrepreneurs, conducting candidate interviews, facilitating entrepreneur/mentor interaction, writing comprehensive company profiles, and preparing entrepreneur presentations for national and international panels. The most rewarding aspect of my Search and Selection role was personally meeting and working with Argentina’s most remarkable entrepreneurs. I worked with businesses in industries ranging from technology to healthcare to real estate. Each project gave me insight into the issues and challenges Argentina’s entrepreneurs face, and the opportunities that can arise from Endeavor’s powerful set of resources.
At the heart of Endeavor’s model is an unrivaled network of seasoned business leaders. These mentors help entrepreneurs unleash their potential by providing guidance, strategic advice, and inspiration. My greatest learning experiences from working at Endeavor Argentina came from business strategy meetings between entrepreneurs and mentors. Absorbing market-specific advice from mentors helped me frame candidate enterprises and address how Endeavor’s resources could help catalyze their businesses. Despite operating in a default-ridden country, Argentina’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is extremely robust, and it’s obvious to me that Endeavor has played an instrumental role in promoting entrepreneurship as a tool for development throughout the country.
On a personal level, working at Endeavor has been the most enriching experience of my life to date. Living in a foreign country and interacting daily with high-impact entrepreneurs provided a truly unique learning experience. Endeavor Argentina’s network and local staff could not have been more impressive. It was inspiring to see such a diverse group of leaders collaborating to use entrepreneurship as a building block to strengthen the economy. This perspective, along with the relationships I formed working at Endeavor, will forever affect the way I evaluate impact.
Endeavor’s model gains its power from its vast global network, which serves to select, mentor, and accelerate the best high-impact entrepreneurs from around the world. As Endeavor’s network grows, the resources available to entrepreneurs and mentors become more robust, and Endeavor’s ability to impact development becomes more profound.