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eMBA Field Report: Halfway into my Brazil endeavor

By Anna Bae

Anna is an MBA student at Harvard Business School and is spending her summer as an eMBA with Minha Vida in Brazil.

I can’t believe it’s already been five weeks. And I wish I had more time left here in Sao Paulo. Roberto Lifschitz, one of the two founders of Minha Vida, and the team couldn’t make my life any easier, safer, and more delightful since the day I arrived. They sent an English-speaking driver to pick me up at the airport, put me in a hotel that’s in 3-minute walking distance to the office (and a bit too nice for a lowly intern), showed me around the city in the weekends, let me try some authentic Brazilian restaurants (there’s so much more than barbeque in Brazilian cuisine!), translated Portuguese conversations into English for me during lunches, drove miles to have a weekend brunch with me in my neighborhood, invited me over to their homes and even offered me a chance to travel with them. Encouraged by their hospitality, I’m trying my best to contribute to Minha Vida’s business as much as possible.

Minha Vida is an online health/wellness company that aspires to protect and improve Brazilians’ health by making medical and wellness information easily accessible, especially to mid/low-income population. Its revenue comes from the ads on the site and fees from its signature weight-loss program, “Deita e Saude” (D.S..) Because the online ad market is still fairly immature in Brazil, DS’s program fee is responsible for almost 70% of the revenue. For my Endeavor eMBA project, my own focus is making this cash cow more successful by improving DS user engagement.

DS has been growing very strong, meeting its aggressive revenue goals. But it recently started seeing a slight drop in the active user number and a rise in program cancellation.

Because I worked on several projects to improve online user engagement before business school, this task was not completely new but still challenging. I started by setting milestones for myself –- e.g. first week to understand the product, user, and the market; second week to diagnose the problem and benchmark against the industry leaders in the U.S.; and so on, to finish with the plans of actions. However, with the cooperation of Roberto and the DS crew, we managed to come up with some action items already, got them approved by the management, and are now in the execution mode. Beauty of a start-up.

Last week, we started an internal program that aims to spur user activity in the DS community space. DS has a blog space where its users can motivate each other, and data has proven that once a user participates in the community, s/he becomes much more engaged to DS overall and likely to extend her/his membership. This week, we are working with a designer, web architect, and a nutritionist to improve the “onboarding” experience of the new users — to wow the new users within 3-5 minutes after their registration. And more to come in the coming weeks…

I also had the pleasure to visit the Endeavor Brazil office by the invitation of staffmember Leticia Queiroz, and attend the welcoming event for newly selected Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Most of the new entrepreneurs’ businesses were related to security in the tech space (mobile, online), which is very important for a country where Internet usage is growing by over 10 million users a year. Located in a university building, Endeavor’s Sao Paulo office was still very busy and active even around 8pm. In the midst of the busyness, everyone was kind enough to get up from the chair to greet me with a customary cheek kiss. Many of them have just returned from the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco.

All in all, my stay in Brazil has been incredible. Can’t thank Endeavor and Minha Vida enough for this opportunity.

This picture is from my very first “happy hour” with my friends at Minha Vida.

Notes from Colombia: Where does entrepreneurial motivation come from?

Oriana Torres has been working at Endeavor Colombia since March 2007 in Entrepreneur Services. She posts regularly on her blog, Entrepreneurial Discovery, about all things having to do with entrepreneurship. She is a Business Administrator, has a diverse professional background and has worked in five countries in Latin America, Europe and Asia. She used to own a restaurant in the north of Bogota, called Sizzlers. Oriana speaks Spanish, her native language, English, German and a bit of Portuguese. This fall, Oriana will begin pursuing an MBA degree at Babson’s Olin School of Business.

The following are excerpts from a recent post called:

When No One is Watching…

I have been following Seth Godin’s blog for some time and I especially like his concise, powerful messages. He is the author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, influencing the way people think about marketing, change and work.

I was drawn to a recent post of his called “Self-directed effort is the best kind.” It made me think about how many things we do because we have to, versus how many things we do because they genuinely matter and mean something to us. I quickly did the exercise Godin describes and discovered that the balance for me was pretty good: there were a bunch of things that I do because I care and technically enjoy doing, while there are others I do because I have those metaphorical policemen watching over me.

I don’t think that it is necessarily bad to count on such policemen to provide incentive to behave a certain way. It’s not ideal, but it’s not really an issue as long as your self-directed actions exceed the quantity of the stuff you need extra incentive to do.

I’m not an expert, I’m just drawing from Godin. This is a blog about entrepreneurship and therefore, I couldn’t help thinking about this in the entrepreneurial context. I immediately thought about Endeavor.

The first thing is that Endeavor, in the context of Seth’s post, is an army of policemen that force our Entrepreneurs to excel beyond what they would do on their own. I am aware that the word “force” is very strong, but after having worked as an Entrepreneur Services Manager for more than four years at Endeavor Colombia, seeing first hand how Entrepreneurs respond to our services, I feel confident that that Endeavor makes a difference not only through sharing knowledge. The real difference is in our capacity to act as “accountability agents” for Entrepreneurs. We are always there to remind them of their commitments: they need to create a business plan to move to the next level, or hire a manager, put together a board of directors, or even more simple things like analyze their financial statements to look for possible red flags. I am 100% sure that 90% of our Entrepreneurs want to and can do all of these things themselves, but for some reason they need the extra motivation. It’s not just a matter of knowledge, it’s about self-directed drive. The question for me, is where does the self-direction come from.

I had a debate recently with some colleagues about Endeavor’s role in Entrepreneurs’ project implementation. We disagreed about how involved the ESM — Entrepreneur Services Manager (also called Key Account Manager in our jargon) — should be in the Entrepreneur’s day-to-day activities in order to keep them on track and make sure things got done. Ultimately, our model only works if the Entrepreneurs execute the things the mentors advise in a timely way. Some people were adamant that “self-directed effort” had to drive the process and set the pace. Other people (like me) thought that we are actually there to provide any oversight that helps them go beyond what “self-directed effort” allows, even if this implies an important investment of time and energy. In the end, it’s the same time and energy that the personal trainer puts in to make you burn 700 calories instead of 500, as Seth’s analogy suggests.

So I ask my readers: what do you do when no one is looking? What do you make when it’s not an immediate part of your job? How many push ups do you do, just because you can?

Steve Welch of IBM talks about the development of Watson at Endeavor Summit

In mid-February of this year, NBC broke its ratings record as millions of American viewers tuned in to a see a game of Jeopardy! The impressive turnout wasn’t due to a collective bout of nostalgia, but interest in a particular unique contestant. Watson, a super-computer engineered by a team of 24 researchers at IBM, made history as the first non-human contestant to compete on the game show and beat the defending champion, effectively earning a one million dollar prize and awakening the world to a new brand of artificial intelligence.

Steve Welch, a Distinguished Engineer and Manager of Health Informatics for IBM and a member of the team that worked on Watson, spoke at the Endeavor Summit this summer about the engineering behind Watson’s development and the implications of this innovative technology for the world.

The biggest hurdle in developing Watson, Welch said, was getting a computer to understand natural human language. Unlike computer code, equations, or the key search terms we usually use to ‘talk’ with our computers, human language is nuanced, ambiguous and contextual. Years of experience and cognitive processes go into any form of verbal human communication, making it virtually impossible for a computer to decode. The breakthrough came in the form of a new paradigm that was created by an IBM summer student. His system reconfigured the way computers process language and provided IBM with the framework that would eventually define the super-computer’s consciousness.

Watson’s ‘brain’ is composed of seven banks of processors and 2,800 cores. The team of engineers and researchers behind his development spent years inputting thousands of pages of data into Watson’s knowledge base that could be called upon when answering questions on Jeopardy (Watson was not connected to the Internet during the game.) Unlike traditional search engines, Watson weighs supporting evidence for a number of different answers before producing a response. When it reports an answer, it can also provide the evidence that led to it and a level of confidence in the findings. Just like a real human, Watson learns to trust different sources of information based on past experience.

Watson’s development marks not only an innovative leap for technology, but also for art. IBM went to great lengths to develop Watson’s humanity, bringing in a voice actor to record thousands of lines and sounds as the basis of Watson’s ‘voice,’ and hiring a generative artist to design Watson’s face. The image created is a swarming globe that has 27 different states to illustrate Watson’s various moods – when he is very confident in is answer, the globe will swarm towards the top of the screen and glow green.

A member of the audience asked Welch where Watson was now: has it retired on its earnings to a life of leisure? Of course not. For now, Watson is an IBM employee working in healthcare and finance, two industries where there is an influx of information to be processed and analyzed. In the future, IBM hopes to develop practical applications for the Watson technology that will create benefits in many different facets of society.

eMBA Field Report: #Tahrir

By Andrew Smeall

Andrew is an MBA student at NYU’s Stern School of Business and is spending his summer as an eMBA at Hindawi in Cairo, Egypt. Enjoy his insights on life in an area that has received much attention of late…

I was certainly a bit nervous to assume my post in Cairo this summer, with articles like this quoting residents about the sense of danger in the city.

Upon arriving, however, I found the city quiet and friendly. Other than the looming, burned-out husks of the NDP headquarters and the Arkadia shopping center (which some bloggers have suggested preserving as memorials to the revolution), few visible traces remained of the January 25 demonstrations. Cairo appeared to be its normal, bustling, crowded self.

But apparently my visit has been anything but typical for this country, usually so dependent on tourism. On my first weekend here I wandered around an empty Egyptian Museum, and found myself almost alone in the room with King Tut’s treasures (normally it looks more like this I am told). The next week, I explored a sedate Khan el-Khalili market. Instead of the shoulder-to-shoulder squirming I was told to expect, I was able to ignore the hawking of the few active shopkeepers from within a large peaceful bubble of personal space. The economic situation here is precarious; the New York Times reports tourism is down 40%, which translates to a 2.5% decrease in GDP.

Cairo seemed to see the arrival of a visitor, any visitor, as a welcome sign that that recovery was on the horizon. I have been showered with friendliness and optimism. To my extremely untrained eye, however, I got the sense that the nation was holding its breath–no one seemed sure who was taking charge, no one seemed to think the country was ready for free elections in September, and a post-revolutionary sense of nationalism and divisiveness seemed to be growing. The system was clearly under intense stress.

The first cracks appeared yesterday, as Tahrir Square erupted in violence for the first time since February. The KFC I had eaten at on Tuesday while getting my work visa processed was looted and burned. About 1,000 people were injured in clashes with the police–who eventually ceded crowd control to the army–and sit-ins continue today.

Through all this, work at Hindawi goes on. We are located in the southeast of the city, and my commute to work passes over and around Tahrir on the giant flyover 26th of July Bridge. Although you can see smoke rising in the distance, the roads are clear and traffic is flowing (or what passes for flowing in Cairo) smoothly. Endeavor Entrepreneur Ahmed Hindawi and the staff here have been extremely welcoming, and I have been invited to join the strange Hindawi ritual of daily strategy lunches at the local Chili’s, of which I am now the Foursquare mayor.

Apart from our lunchtime brainstorm sessions, my work has focused on developing uFollow.com, a content aggregation platform. The site is not only one of the best ways to search for written content online, it also offers one of the only ways to follow specific authors across different platforms. While the project is a fairly straightforward marketing challenge, it comes with some interesting wrinkles.

With Egyptian wage levels, Hindawi can afford to do something that a start-up in the US never could: employ a team of highly-educated, talented researchers to comb the web looking for excellent content, build custom XSLT files to crawl thousands of sources and find bios and photos for nearly 40,000 authors. The same staff, however, struggles where a US start-up would thrive. Almost no one at Hindawi actually uses uFollow, and at times there seems to be a disconnect between the staff and the product or its audience.

So my challenge for the next six weeks: build a strong and engaged user base for uFollow, try and get a tech evangelist or two to back the product, avoid getting blown out of the water by Google+, and develop a long-term HR solution so that Hindawi can manage and build the community going forward.

I hope all of my fellow eMBAs are well, wherever you are in the world, and sorry for being so long-winded!

Linda Rottenberg discusses emerging market entrepreneurship in interview with The Street

In an interview with The Street at last week’s New York Forum of business leaders and thinkers, Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg highlights the role of entrepreneurs in Emerging Markets. Read more about the panel entitled America, The Ordinary?, on which Rottenberg spoke.

Please click HERE to view the interview.

Interview transcription of Linda’s comments:

Endeavor operates in emerging markets around the world, so we have operations in Latin America, the Middle East, South Africa. We’re about to launch in Indonesia, looking at Poland. So we’re looking broadly at the Emerging Markets, and I think we’re seeing a few different types of innovations emerging.

One is what I call emerging markets parallels – or some people call them the Emerging Market Copycats. We have a company in Argentina that created the e-bay of Latin America, MercadoLibre and was able to take it public on the NASDAQ. We have, a friend of mine Fadi Ghandour, who created the FedEx of the Middle East created Aramex—took he that public on the NASDAQ.

What’s interesting is those companies—those entrepreneurs—are becoming the angel investors and the mentors for the next generation. So for example, in actually both Latin America and the Middle East, we’re seeing a lot of gamers and we’re seeing actually a company called Globant that’s doing all of the back end content provision for Disney, Electronic Arts. So you’re seeing content and gaming started from these countries but actually supplying U.S. companies.

The other thing is we’re seeing about 50 percent of the high-impact entrepreneurs that Endeavor supports coming not in high tech sectors, not in consumer internet. They’re looking at retail and consumer goods and making stuff. They’re starting in retail and consumer goods or supply chain companies, but they’re the engines of growth, and not only that: they’re looking not only nationally but internationally—a new phenomenon that I was talking about on stage in the New York Forum was the idea of E to E: Emerging Market to Emerging Market.

So I think that when we look at the next wave of innovations, I think of course Americans will still have LinkedIn and Facebook and Zinga, and we are not going anywhere. But I think we’ve got to be global from the start looking at these companies. It’s no longer this statement I heard in Silicon Valley: “It’s Florence in the Age of the Renaissance. Why would we look anywhere else?!” We have to look internationally from the beginning, and I think we are going to find some Emerging Market innovations that we then adapt back here.

eMBA Field Report: Off to the movies in Mexico

By Jacob Ritvo

Jacob is an MBA student at the Yale School of Management and is spending his summer as an eMBA with Cinemagic in Mexico.

Working in another language is hard. Basic skills that are second nature in English become taxing in Spanish—reading takes longer, listening demands greater concentration, and writing and speaking require considerable thought just to form a cogent sentence. Plus, there is the challenge of learning colloquialisms (por favor becomes porfa) and growing my business vocabulary (it turns out EBITDA is also EBITDA in Spanish). And yet, my first two weeks as an eMBA with Cinemagic in Puebla, Mexico, have been nothing short of wonderful.

With Don Lorenzo Servitje, founder of Grupo Bimbo, the world's largest bakery, at a CSR conference.

My first assignment was to prepare a series of presentations on Cinemagic’s business model and CSR programs—two for a pair of case discussions on Cinemagic with international students at IPADE Business School, plus one for a session on disruptive technologies and products that Roberto Quintero, the founder, will participate in at the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco. Researching and assembling the presentations proved to be a great vehicle for better understanding our business model, customers, and industry. Although I still don’t know

Cinemagic entrepreneurs, IPADE students, and Kung Fu Panda at our Atlixco, Puebla, theater.

Cinemagic inside and out, I know it well enough to now set my sights on tackling some of the challenges we face with regard to competitive, financial, and customer strategies.

Roberto and his co-founder Pepe Irigoyen have been gracious about including me in top-level meetings, seeking my opinions as a consultant and introducing me to the way business is done in Mexico. I’ve joined them at a pitch to investors, negotiations between Cinemagic, a real estate developer, and the mayor of a city where we want to build a cinema, a conference on social responsibility with business leaders from across Mexico, and the aforementioned sessions with IPADE students.

Roberto, Pepe, and my other coworkers have also been extremely welcoming and hospitable, taking me on tours of Puebla and neighboring Cholula, inviting me to break bread with their families, and introducing me to local culture. Tonight, we’re off to las luchas (Mexican wrestling) as an office, and there is much more interesting work and fun activities in store.

Rottenberg optimistic about American entrepreneurship on panel at New York Forum

The second day of the New York Forum — an annual event dedicated to forging collaborations and finding solutions to today’s most pressing issues — began with a panel discussion on the topic“America, The Ordinary?” The video of the complete session (in two parts) can be accessed below or by clicking these links: Part 1 / Part 2.

Participating on the panel were Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg, in addition to Esther Dyson (Chairman, EDventure Holdings), Thomas Friedman (Columnist, The New York Times), Jeffrey Kindler (former Chairman and CEO, Pfizer), Jonathan Miller (CEO, NewsCorp Digital), and Edmund Phelps (Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University; Nobel Prize in Economics, 2006). CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo moderated the panel.

Bartiromo kicked off the panel bluntly: “Has the U.S. lost its edge?”

Answers to the question varied from frustrated to optimistic. Rottenberg emphasized that the United States is still extraordinary, but can learn much from emerging markets such as the ones Endeavor supports. The confidence and rapid growth in these markets have the potential to benefit the U.S., which panelists agreed is in need of an entrepreneurial jolt.

With the explosion of tech businesses and buzz, innovation and entrepreneurship have become nearly synonymous with new technology. “Optimism about innovation in America is inspired by headline innovations in Silicon Valley,” asserted Edmund Phelps, “but if you look across the breadth of the economy, you come away feeling that the typical company is less innovative than it was before.”

Rottenberg underscored the point that innovation is not limited to tech companies, drawing on the example of successful Endeavor Entrepreneurs operating in traditional bricks-and-mortar industries. She asserted that family and consumer-driven businesses in these industries could become engines of growth and job creation in the U.S. as they have in emerging markets.

Meanwhile, panelists recognized that high technology continues to play a major role in domestic innovation. “Cloud computing, social web, YouTube…they all came out of the US literally in this last decade,” acknowledged Jonathan Miller. “We have a system in which people can get money from angels, VC and that system is really good.”

The point was also raised that while America is still a world leader with transformative influence, entrepreneurs have much to gain by learning from emerging markets — embracing them and the spirit they embody. Said Rottenberg: “You can be both global and make your country great.”

U-Mich MBA students share reflections on working with Endeavor Entrepreneur

This past spring, 12 graduate students from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business spent the end of their first year gaining hands-on business experience through the school’s Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) program. This mandatory experiential learning program is a hallmark of Ross’ curriculum, which allows students to engage in live cases by working with a small team inside a company for the last seven weeks of their first year. About half of the projects are domestic and half international, with the common goal of exposing students to real life business problems and giving them the opportunity to devise solutions.

This year, MAP partnered with Endeavor to connect students with three companies run by Endeavor-supported companies, including TOP Systems (Uruguay), Aguamarina (Chile) and PIWorks (Turkey). Student teams of four worked with these businesses providing consulting skills—and immersing themselves in the countries’ cultures, languages, and professional customs.

For the first of a two-part series on the MAP Program, I spoke with MBAs who worked at Top Systems, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Alvaro Domínguez. The following post features students who worked with Aguamarina. Students from the PI Works team could not be reached, but look out for future news on this rising mobile network optimization company.

Check out some of the photos from the various MAP trips on Facebook!

The Top Systems MAP team with Alvaro Domínguez

What drew you to Top Systems?

Santiago: I chose this project because it involved entrepreneurship and venture capital. Interested in information technology, and also interested in Uruguay, this was a great option for me. Based in Montevideo, Top Systems develops office software for banks. Our project involved a new initiative to leverage cloud-computing technology to develop back-office software solutions for microfinance organizations.

What were some of the challenges you faced?

Rytas: One of the issues we ran into was that we initially had to do a lot of research on microfinance and cloud-computing in South America, which was not as easy as we thought it would be. Resources were not readily available due to the lack of transparent governement regulations and reported data within those industries and countries. If we were to have taken the same project on in the U.S., it would have been much easier.

Also, we had to deal with the language barrier, which was challenging at some points. Fortunately, CEO and Endeavor Entrepreneur Alvaro Dominguez spoke English very well, as did some of the staff. I think this is one of the inherent challenges you face when dealing with international companies. That said, we were fortunate to have Santiago, a native Spanish speaker, to help us!

What role did Endeavor play in your experience?

Rytas: What Endeavor offered us was not only a place where entrepreneurs would provide an institutionalized business experience, but it also gave us experience determining a specific project and how that project was going to be accomplished. It was a very symbiotic relationship in that it paired us—students looking to apply our skills—with a company in need of those skills. Endeavor put us together in what was really a perfect partnership.

Santiago: I love how Rytas phrased it—a perfect partnership. I was actually familiar with Endeavor before we got into this project, having worked with them in Argentina. Knowing about the mentorship and coaching that Endeavor does and the resources they provide to their affiliate companies, I had high esteem for Endeavor, which is one of the reasons I chose this project.

Final thoughts?

Santiago: Our team thrived on the program because we had the drive to excel and because we wanted to make sure we provided quite a bit of value-add to the project. Ultimately, this is why Endeavor initially engaged with the MAP office: we are part of the overall resources that Endeavor offers these exciting companies.

Rytas: I think the project went very well overall, and we’re keeping in touch with TOP Systems to follow the progress. We left them with a framework to launch the program, and though they weren’t ready to launch it while we were there, they’re hoping to implement it shortly. In addition to the business work, the people we met were very accommodating, which made our stay enjoyable and an overall fantastic experience.

About the MBA students

Santiago Garcia-Balcarce: Before coming to Ross, Santiago worked in the Bay Area leading a high-tech business incubator that supported U.S. and foreign start-ups and entrepreneurs. Prior to that, he was part of the investment team of a top-tier venture capital fund also based in the Bay Area.

Rytas Vygantas: Prior to getting his MBA at Ross, Rytas worked in investment banking covering financial institutions. After completing his MBA, he hopes to pursue a career in venture capital and says he looks forward to having a chance to work with driven and successful entrepreneurs like Top Systems.

Linda Rottenberg discusses Endeavor’s experience and future in Latin America

Recently the magazine Alternative Latin Investor interviewed Endeavor CEO & Co-Founder Linda Rottenberg. Click HERE to read the full article [note: requires free registration].

In the interview, Linda discusses her motivation for starting Endeavor, and what Endeavor has done for those trying to start businesses in Latin America. She notes:

“Before Endeavor the word entrepreneurship was not in the dictionary in Portuguese, Spanish or Arabic. Endeavor Entrepreneurs did not know they were entrepreneurs until they entered the Endeavor Search & Selection process. We’ve come far in thirteen years since the Argentine taxi cab driver with a PHD in physics inquired ‘How can I possibly start my own company when I don’t even have a garage?'”

In sharing her expertise, Linda notes the particular importance of High-Impact Entrepreneurship: “Historically in most economies it is only a small number of high-impact, high-growth entrepreneurs that create the vast majority of new jobs.” From there she describes how Endeavor tailors its efforts to supporting truly promising companies that think BIG as well as its continuing role in supporting High-Impact Entrepreneurs in Latin America by providing access to mentors, networks and role models.

Join me in recognizing high-impact female entrepreneurs – by Joanna Rees, Endeavor board member and San Francisco mayoral candidate

By Joanna Rees

I have long believed in taking risks, rising to challenges, and persevering. Whether climbing the corporate ladder, starting my own venture capital firm, or most recently entering the 2011 race for Mayor of San Francisco [Editor’s note: learn more at joinjoanna.com], I have always tried to live by these convictions. Through all of these experiences, there is nothing that excites me more than working with entrepreneurs. Their passion, vision and tenacity are inspirational. Helping them build and scale their businesses led me to join the Board of Endeavor Global. Through my work with Endeavor, I have met so many High-Impact Entrepreneurs who consistently take risks, rise to challenges, and serve as role models. Through their work, commitment and passion they inspire countless other entrepreneurs.

I want to tell you the story of my friend Francesca Romana Diana, who is a great example of a High-Impact Entrepreneur. Francesca was born in Italy, traveled to Brazil and became inspired by the beautiful stones and gems found in the region. She launched her own jewelry design and manufacturing company. After fifteen years of building a successful jewelry business with her husband, Francesca lost everything when the two split. He retained the name of the company, Francesca Romana, and held all the assets. At perhaps the most difficult time in her life, Francesca, who was also a mother with a young son, courageously built a new luxury jewelry business from scratch. Since her name was taken she used her full name Francesca Romana Diana. Her talent and determination prevailed.  

She is now an internationally acclaimed designer, creating beautiful, whimsical accessories out of semi-precious stones. She has boutiques in major cities in Brazil and Europe and sells her jewelry through retailers in the U.S. She is not only a very successful entrepreneur but she is a phenomenal role model, especially for women. Francesca’s determination, energy and gumption prompted me to send my daughter, Taylor, to spend a week with her to learn from such a strong female role model.

All entrepreneurs face barriers, especially females. It is even harder in emerging markets where there are numerous cultural challenges and few support systems. Networks, especially peer networks, can be one of the best resources to overcome these barriers. With more than 600 entrepreneurs in 11 emerging markets, Endeavor has an invaluable pool of entrepreneurial expertise. This kind of network can be a powerful and steady source of support, inspiration, and advice.

On June 28-30, Endeavor is holding its 2011 Entrepreneur Summit in San Francisco, California. As part of its Summit, Endeavor along with Veuve Clicquot will host a Women Entrepreneur Breakfast on June 29 to bring together High-Impact female Endeavor Entrepreneurs and leading Bay Area business women. At the Women Entrepreneurship Breakfast, I will be presenting the Endeavor Entrepreneur nominees of the “Veuve Clicquot High-Impact Female Entrepreneur of the Year” Award.

In addition to celebrating these incredible women, I’m excited to bring together leading business women and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area with Endeavor Entrepreneurs from around the world. I look forward to continuing the dialogue about the barriers and challenges that female entrepreneurs face and the importance of support networks.

For more information on the Women Entrepreneur Breakfast, please contact Maggie.Krummel@endeavor.org.

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