High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Endeavor and Abraaj Capital form strategic alliance to foster entrepreneurship in MENASA

Official press release pasted below:

- Endeavor regional headquarters to be established in Dubai, hosted by Abraaj Capital

- Will offer opportunities for early stage businesses to access mentors, advisory boards and top business networks

Dubai, UAE; November 8, 2010: Abraaj Capital and Endeavor announced today a strategic alliance to combine the expertise of the region’s largest private equity firm with Endeavor, a non-profit organization that transforms emerging markets by establishing high-impact entrepreneurship as the leading force for economic development.

The joint venture will include the founding of an Endeavor regional hub for the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, which will be hosted by Abraaj Capital and headquartered in Dubai. This will become a base for the organisation to grow its capabilities in the Arabian Gulf and beyond, offering the opportunity for early stage businesses to access the mentorship and networks required for them to flourish. The Dubai office will allow Endeavor to promote its expansion to new countries in the region and to provide expanded services to its country affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, all of which will continue to operate independently.

Proof of the value that Endeavor’s high-impact entrepreneurship growth can bring can be found across the globe. In Latin America, businesses assisted by Endeavor have created over 100,000 jobs and generated over $3 billion in annual revenues. With the United Nations Development Program estimating that Arab countries alone will need to create more than 50 million new jobs by 2020, the fostering of entrepreneurship is critical in meeting this need.

Abraaj Capital is already a champion of entrepreneurship in the MENASA region, hosting the landmark Celebration of Entrepreneurship, which will bring together the many elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the event, Abraaj Capital will also announce further details of its Riyada Enterprise Development investment platform, a $500m fund that will invest in SMEs throughout the region, providing much needed capital and support to a broad range of businesses.

Arif Naqvi, CEO and Founder, Abraaj Capital said: “The growth of entrepreneurship is a commitment shared by both Abraaj Capital and Endeavor. Through their focus on high-impact entrepreneurship they have demonstrated how fostering SMEs can contribute positively to job and wealth creation. The partnership is a natural union of two like-minded institutions.”

Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder and CEO of Endeavor said: “I am incredibly passionate about the prospects for growing high-impact entrepreneurship in this region, which has an amazing amount of talent and energy. Endeavor will dramatically increase its presence in countries across the MENASA region over the next five years to ensure we are doing our part.”

About Abraaj Capital:

Abraaj Capital is the biggest private equity group in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA). Since inception in 2002, it has raised close to US$ 7 billion and distributed almost US$ 3 billion to its investors. Headquartered in Dubai, the Abraaj Group operates eight offices in the region including in Istanbul, Cairo and Riyadh. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group or its predecessor entities have made 36 investments in 11 countries and achieved more than 20 exits.

More than 75 world-class investment professionals work for Abraaj Capital, which manages seven funds; four buyout funds; Riyada Enterprise Development Fund, a Fund dedicated to small and medium enterprises; ASAS, an income-generating, sale-and-leaseback Fund; and a real estate Fund. Assets under management at the end of 2009 were US$ 6.1 billion. Funds managed by the Abraaj Group have holdings in about two dozen companies in the region including Air Arabia, the region’s biggest low-cost carrier; Acibadem Healthcare Group, Turkey’s largest privately owned hospital operator; and Al Borg Laboratories, the Middle East’s biggest privately owned medical-testing laboratory company.

Abraaj Capital has won many regional and international awards, including five consecutive years as ‘Middle Eastern Private Equity Firm of the Year’ from London-based Private Equity International. Abraaj Capital Ltd., a member of the Abraaj Group, is licensed by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The group is also an associate member of the European Venture Capital Association.

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