High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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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.

 

eMBA 2013 Field Report: Mobile in Mexico… and Loving It

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Leire Borderias, a member of  the London Business School Class of 2014, who is spending the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneur Arturo Galvan at Mexico’s Naranya:

I came to Mexico looking forward to being in a fast pace environment, gaining exposure to Latin America and making the most of my time working in a project with high and direct impact. I expected stretching myself further and getting both professional learning and personal growth…but this experience, by far, outweighed my initial expectations!!

Naranya is a mobile media and commerce company developing new products and building the mobile ecosystem for Latin American markets. It has also recently launched an accelerator program and early stage fund in Monterrey to help new start-ups get their business ideas off the ground. During my internship, I have been working with the innovation unit. The project is aimed at leveraging synergies across the company and fostering innovation processes to achieve an agile time-to-market. The broad spectrum that encompasses all the different realities of Latin America poses a great challenge.

In Latin America, mobile will become the primary way to access the internet but the majority of mobile users do not have access to banking and financial services. Nurturing innovation and growth requires solving some of the most basic customer pains such as facilitating access to payment methods. Working in this environment with colleagues who are giving their best and thinking out of the box to solve this sort of dare has been really fascinating and inspiring.

It has also been very rewarding to be part of Endeavor and learn more about how this successful nonprofit is making a significant, social impact all over the world. The local office of Endeavor does an excellent job supporting the entrepreneurs and Endeavor’s networking and mentoring community confers a very unique and valuable resource.

Life outside of work has been just as dynamic. I seized any opportunity to travel and hang out with my work and Endeavor colleagues who have become very close friends of mine. They have been amazingly supportive and their hospitality allowed me to acclimate very quickly and love the country, its culture and gastronomy… Yay.. Mexicooo lindo!!

 

In New Book, Endeavor Network Member Chris Schroeder Highlights Emerging Tech Entrepreneurship in Middle East

Endeavor network member Chris Schroeder has published a new book highlighting the quiet revolution in technology entrepreneurship happening across the MENA region.   The book, Start-Up Rising, is the product of dozens of interviews that Schroeder, an internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist, completed across the region.  As part of his work, Schroeder — who spoke at Endeavor’s June 2013 Entrepreneur Summit and has served as an ISP panelist — includes interviews with key Endeavor MENA network members such as Fadi Ghandour and Arif Naqvi and two recently selected Endeavor Entrepreneur companies,  Egypt’s Bey2ollak and Jordan’s Jamalon.

Schroeder traveled to Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and was impressed by the  thousands of  “talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.”  Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.

The book can be ordered online at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

 

 

eMBA 2013 Field Report: Becoming One with Acesso Digital — An Adventure That Was Anything But Ordinary

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Amanda Wu, a member of Cornell’s Johnson School of  Business Class of 2014, who is spending the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Brazil’s Acesso Digital:

Arriving in São Paulo at the beginning of winter, which meant 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius), I was encountered with a sense of comfort. The Brazilian landscape is one I am familiar with.

During my initial visit with Cornell, six months before my internship, I was fascinated with the people, business environment and culture. I knew I wanted to experience more of what Brazil had to offer. I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity with Endeavor and even luckier with one of the most dynamic companies I have ever encountered, Acesso Digital.

Acesso Digital is a B2B technology solutions leader in document digitalization. The company offers a solution to scan, organize and store digital documents. Acesso understands the importance of digitalization and partners with their clients to help streamline internal processes and to revolutionize corporate culture away from paper.  With some of Brazil’s largest retail, banking and telecommunications clients, Acesso is well positioned to capture the segment. But, Acesso has a bigger dream and that is to become the “most admired company in Brazil”.  Since I was one of Acesso’s first eMBAs, I was eager to help them achieve that dream.

The Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Diego Martins and Paulo Allencastro are everything but ordinary. They have fostered a work environment that is fun, spontaneous and anything but monotonous. Two months prior to my arrival, Acesso moved to a new office and it is spectacular! There are sprawling city views and a  ping-pong table.  Every employee receives a stipend to customize their own desk. Customary sites include: employees getting around the office on a bicycle or scooter, walk into your office and being surprised with balloons and chocolates on every desk, and a golden retriever puppy raffled off as a present to a lucky employee. It is no surprise to me that the company recently ranked number 1 as the “Best IT workplace” in all of Brazil.

For my project at Acesso, I got the opportunity to collaborate with a fellow Endeavor eMBA who recently graduated from Harvard Business School. Our assignment was to bring a new perspective to the entrepreneurs and to develop new business opportunities. Through hosting interviews with Acesso’s top clients, innovation sessions with the leaders and employees, and even meeting with mentors in the Endeavor São Paulo network, it became evident that the new business opportunity would be to restructure Acesso’s product offering. The final result presented to Diego and Paulo consisted of five innovative product ideas, which included business opportunities in new industries, repackaging the current product offering and a completely new perspective of how Acesso can use their product.

As I reflect upon my experience, I only hope that I had a great impact that will propel Acesso to the next level. But the most important thing I realized is the bond I developed with Acesso Digital, Seres Acesso (employees) and Brazil was deeper than imagined. They are all a part of who I am. I am a Ser Acesso and Brazil will always be in my heart. Grandes beijos!

 

eMBA 2013 Field Report: Mobile Strategy at Brazil’s Minha Vida

Each summer Endeavor sends a number of incoming second-year MBA students, recruited from top schools, to work on-site with Endeavor Entrepreneurs on projects ranging from strategic planning to market expansion. The program is supported by a generous grant from Barclays. Following is a post from Allison Averill, who is spending the summer working with Endeavor Entrepreneurs at Brazil’s Minha Vida:

Five weeks into my project at Minha Vida in São Paulo, I couldn’t be happier with the progress we’ve been making. I’m working on mobile strategy for Dieta e Saúde, the largest online dieting program in Brazil. The Dieta e Saúde team is in the process of revamping their online platform and adding some exciting new products to their subscription-based dieting program. They’re taking a fresh look at their mobile products as part of this process. As I learned quickly, the project isn’t just about building an app with great features, it’s also about integrating mobile with the company’s overall business plan and coming up with a strategy that’s both cued in to the needs of the current user base and successful at acquiring new mobile-savvy customers.

I spent the first week getting up to speed with everything that’s going on in the company and in the mobile market in Brazil, which hasn’t quite reached U.S. levels ofsmartphone saturation, but isgetting there fast. From there, I began benchmarking Dieta e Saúde’s products against popular online and mobile dieting products in both the U.S. and Brazil. The proliferation of “freemium” weight loss apps, which offer the basics- a calorie counter, food database, and exercise tracking- for free and more advanced features for a monthly or annual subscription cost has changed the market in recent years. Still, established diets like Weight Watchers, Dukan, and South Beach, which offer their tools to paying subscribers only, are becoming more comfortable in the online space. Because Dieta e Saúde is a points-based dieting methodology, not just a calorie counter, it is important for us to find the right balance between these free tools and the more traditional diets that are expanding their products online.

I am currently working on designing surveys to collect some data from both our online subscribers and users of our free app. The idea is to figure out how we can improve user engagement by making the app a better tool for current subscribers, and how we can start converting more free app users into paying subscribers. If all goes well, I will have some data by the end of the week, present my findings to the team, and spend the last few weeks of the project working closely with my colleagues to map out a more detailed product plan.

I can’t thank the Minha Vida team enough for welcoming me into their office and making me feel right at home here in São Paulo. Although I am only here for a short time, I really look forward to following the company’s progress, especially in mobile. I am confident it will be great!

 

Startup PR Tip: To Get Press, Don’t Pitch Your Product

Reprinted from the OnStartup blog. Original article written by Dharmesh Shah can be found here.

I get pitches every day from entrepreneurs, PR agencies and book authors who hope to get an article about them written on my blog, OnStartups (300,000 readers) — or on HubSpot’s marketing blog (over 1.5 million visits a month).

It’s sad that most of those pitches fall flat and are likely to be completely ignored. A waste of time and money for everyone.

For example, here’s a pitch from a PR professional. I’ve changed it slightly to avoid embarrassing anyone:

“I’m working with a wonderful new business… The owners grew up together and decided to go into business… it’s a story I’m sure your readers will care a lot about!”

Uh, no. I don’t really care about their story. No one else probably will either — except maybe their moms.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the entrepreneurs are great people, but many entrepreneurs can tell a tale of struggle and euphoria and heartbreak and someday, against all odds, turning their dreams into reality and making their business a success. While occasionally we might be inspired or motivated, for the most part we’re just not that interested in other people’s stories. Unless those stories are particularly remarkable we’re more apt to just keep living our own dreams and writing our own stories. So, the things we’re interested in is not other people’s stories, but information that helps us write our own.

So what should you do if you’re trying to spread the word about new products and services, landing new customers, bringing investors onboard… all the stuff you hire PR agencies to do for you or, more likely, try to do on your own?

If you’re looking for press, forget the formulaic, cookbook approach to crafting a winning media pitch. That approach may result in coverage in a few outlets… but not the ones you really want.

Quick rule of thumb: Any media outlet that will do a story based on a crappy pitch is a media outlet that will get you crappy exposure.

Let’s pretend you’re thinking about pitching me. (You can apply the following to any media outlet or blog, though.)

Here’s what to do and not to do:

Don’t tell me your story is unique.

No offense, but it really isn’t. There are thousands of Ramen noodle stories. There are thousands of 3 am “Eureka!” stories. There are thousands of maxed-out credit cards, relatives won’t return your calls, last-minute financing savior stories.

Your story is deservedly fascinating to you because you lived it, but to the average reader your story sounds a lot like every other entrepreneur’s story. Claiming your story is unique creates an expectation that, if not met, negatively impacts the rest of your pitch.

And if your story truly is unique, I’ll know. You won’t have to tell me.

Don’t tell me how much a little publicity will help you.

Never waste time by explaining how this could be a win-win relationship or, worse, by claiming you want to share your wisdom because you simply want to help others.

I know you want publicity, and I know why. I get it. We’re cool.

Know what I’ve done recently.

It’s easy to think, “Hey, he recently wrote about choosing a co-founder, so I should pitch a story about how I help people find co-founders”.

Um, probably not. If I just wrote about co-founders, I’m probably good for a little bit on that topic. Never assume one article indicates an abiding fascination with a particular topic.

But do feel free to pitch if you aren’t a member of the choir I just preached to. Different points of view catch my attention; same thing, different day does not.

Know my interests.

You certainly don’t need to know I enjoy late-night walks on the beach. (Hey, who doesn’t?) But skim a few posts and you’ll know I have a soft spot for company culture, startup funding, and startup marketing.

So if you really want to get my attention, don’t use the tried-but-in-no-way-true “mention you really enjoyed something recent the writer wrote” approach.

Instead put your effort into finding an angle that may appeal to my interests. If you can’t be bothered to do that you’ll never get the publicity you want.

Forget a profile piece.

Straight profile pieces that tell the story of a business are boring. (At least I think so, which is why I don’t post those)

The best articles let readers learn from your experience, your mistakes, and your knowledge. Always focus on benefiting readers: When you do, your company gets to bask in the reflected PR glow.

So, I don’t want to know what you do; I want to know what you know. If you started a company, share five things you learned about landing financing. If you developed a product, share four mistakes you made early on. If you entered a new market, share three strategies you used to steal market share from competitors.

And while you may think the “5 steps to” or “4 ways to” approach is overdone, keep in mind readers love them… and even if I decide not to frame the story that way, developing mental bullet points ahead of time is a great way to organize your information (which helps me) and ensure you have great talking points (which definitely helps you.)

Realize that the more you feel you need to say… the less you really have to say.

Some people think bloggers are lazy and look for stories that write themselves. I can’t argue with the lazy part, but I really don’t want to read a 1,000-word pitch with a comprehensive overview of the topic and a list of semi-relevant statistics. The best products can be described in a few sentences, and so can the best pitches:

So now let’s get specific. Pretend you’re crafting your pitch:

Remember: forget what you want.

Many people think, “Wow, it would be awesome if OnStartups.com ran a story about our new product—think of the exposure! So many VCs would read it! We’re looking for funding!”

Maybe so, but unless you focus on how readers can benefit from the story (learning about your new product isn’t a benefit to readers), that’s not going to happen.

Then, think about what I want.

I want to inform and occasionally – hopefully – entertain readers; the more you can help me accomplish that goal, the more interested I am in what you have to say.

Then craft your pitch with publicity as a secondary goal.

In the example above, the PR pro didn’t offer readers anything. His only focus was on getting publicity to benefit his clients.

Flip it around and focus solely on how you can benefit readers. When you do, your company will benefit by extension.

For example, if you want to spread the word about:

· New products or services: Share four lessons learned during the product development process; describe three ways you listened to customers and determined how to better meet their needs; explain the steps involved in manufacturing products overseas, especially including what you did wrong.

· Landing a major customer: Describe how you changed your sales process to allow you to compete with heavy hitters in your industry; share three stories about major sales that got away and what you learned from failing to reel them in; detail the steps you took to quickly ramp up capacity while ensuring current customers needs were still met.

· Bringing in key investors: Explain how you helped investors embrace your vision for the company; describe four key provisions that create the foundation for a solid partnership agreement; share the stories of three pitches to VCs that went horribly wrong and how those experiences helped you shape a winning pitch.

Sound like a lot of work? It is, but it’s worth it. When you offer to help people solve problems and learn from your mistakes, bloggers and writers will be a lot more interested.

More importantly, readers will be more interested in the news you want to share because first you helped them—and that gives them a great reason to be interested in your business.

 

Linda Rottenberg’s Day 1 Speech

Linda Rottenberg, CEO and Co-founder of Endeavor, delivered a speech in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Entrepreneur Congress (GEC) hosted by Endeavor Brazil. The speech was part of Endeavor Brazil’s “Day 1” series, where entrepreneurs talk about days that forever changed their entrepreneurial journeys.

Linda spoke before a packed audience about her “Day Ones,” including the day when, as an Ashoka fellow in Argentina in the late 90s, she had her “eureka moment” and first thought up the Endeavor model; the day when Argentina business tycoon Eduardo Elsztain agreed to fund the launch of Endeavor’s first office in Buenos Aires; the day when Endeavor Global Board Chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. pushed Linda to ratchet Endeavor’s global presence up to 25 countries by 2015; and finally, the day when she realized that in order for Endeavor to lead a global high-impact entrepreneurship movement, she needed to hire senior leaders, thereby  transforming her team from a rock star into a rock band.

Other Day 1 speakers included Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry Group, Luciano Huck, Brazilian TV star (and the first Brazilian to garner one million twitter followers), and Edivan Costa, Brazilian Endeavor Entrepreneur and Founder of business registration company, SEDI.

 

 

New York Times’ Thomas Friedman Cites Endeavor Mexico Companies As Part of “Just Do It” Generation

During a recent visit to Mexico, New York Times’ columnist Thomas Friedman spent time visiting with Endeavor Mexico MD Pilar Aguilar and a number of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. These visits strongly influenced a column he went on to publish about the positive side of things in Mexico. Friedman writes that the country continues to have many challenges but that there is great hope in “what Mexico is doing right.” Friedman turned to examples of innovative entrepreneurs he met in Monterey and explained that these individuals have chosen to pursue their dreams and build successful companies despite a seemingly difficult environment. Among them were Arturo Galvan of Naranya, Patricio Zambrano of Alivio (a spin-off company of Imagen Dental) and Raul Maldonado of Enova.

The complete column is available on the New York Times’ website here.

 

Linda Rottenberg discusses “scale-ups” with WOBI

Endeavor CEO and Co-Founder, Linda Rottenberg, spoke with the World of Business Ideas (WOBI) on the inflection points entrepreneurs face.

Is it okay to fire a friend? Should your company take capital? Do you want to franchise? “All of these strategic questions are the decision making points that we find at endeavor,” Rottenberg says. “ [These] are the moments of inflection when companies either stay flat or have that hockey stick effect.”

She discusses in the interview that not everyone is going to be a high-impact entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurship at the end is about the stomach. Do you have the stomach to make those tough decisions and to try to mitigate risk?”

Rottenberg finds that most entrepreneurs are not fearless risk takers. They want to be responsible and make smart choices. But where can they go for help?

“I think mentorship is really key,” she tells WOBI. Rottenberg believes that learning from the successes and failures of others can help entrepreneurs get past these points and properly scale their businesses.

The founders of WOBI, Nelson Duboscq and Eduardo Bruchou are two of Endeavor’s earliest entrepreneurs who have benefited from such mentorship. Since joining Endeavor’s network in 1999, their company HSM Group, which provides executive management education, has grown in revenues by 397%. HSM launched WOBI last year, providing another multimedia platform for sharing innovative business ideas from experts like Rottenberg.

Watch the video, “Linda Rottenberg: When Real Entrepreneurs Come to Life” on WOBI here.

For Rottenberg’s previous video, “Five Lessons for Aspiring Entrepreneurs”, see here.

eMBA Alumni Gather Over Wine and Cheese for Reunion in NYC

Alumni of Endeavor’s eMBA Program – which places business school students at Endeavor companies worldwide – mingled at Moore Bros. Wine Co. to network and exchange stories of their educational experiences overseas. Here are short interviews of some of the attendees:

 

 

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