Last week, Endeavor Brazil welcomed non-profit executives, entrepreneurs, and policy makers from over 100 countries to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Rio de Janeiro.
The GEC is the main planning event for Global Entrepreneurship Week, a celebration and promotion of entrepreneurship that takes place each November in 115+ countries around the world. During GEW, NGOs, universities, and corporations host events that are designed to build their countries’ entrepreneurial ecosystems and to raise awareness of entrepreneurship as a viable career option. GEW was launched in 2008 by former Kauffman Foundation President Carl Schramm. Since that time several Endeavor affiliates have served as GEW lead delegates, planning events and recruiting partner organizations.
Each March, these lead delegates come together for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, where they discuss best practices for planning GEW and for supporting entrepreneurship in their local markets. Past Global Entrepreneurship Congresses have taken place in Liverpool, Shanghai, Dubai, and Kansas City. This year, as lead host of the GEC, Endeavor Brazil managed all conference logistics, including fundraising and speaker recruitment.
Over the conference’s four days, attendees had the opportunity to hear from global policy and entrepreneurship experts including Endeavor executives and entrepreneurs.
Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor’s co-founder & CEO, moderated a panel discussion on the challenges of scaling a start-up to become a global player. She was joined by Endeavor Entrepreneur Hernán Kazah, Co-Founder, MercadoLibre.com and Co-Founder, Kaszek Ventures; Dave McClure, Founding General Partner, 500 Startups; and Alexandre Hohagen, VP of Sales, Facebook LatAm and former LatAm Managing Director, Google. Hernán, Dave, and Alexandre spoke about the challenges of building a company in growth markets like Brazil, the importance of founders developing the skill sets needed to run large organizations, and best practices for hiring talent.
Linda also delivered- to a packed audience- an “Endeavor Day One Talk” about the moments that forever changed her path as an entrepreneur. Linda’s “Day Ones” included 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.
Throughout these experiences, she stuck to one basic belief: crazy is a compliment. In fact, Linda told the audience, “If you’re not being called crazy, then you’re probably not thinking big enough.”
In addition to Linda, GEC attendees heard “Endeavor Day One Talks” from Endeavor Entrepreneur Edivan Costa, Founder, SEDI; Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundry Group; and Luciano Huck, TV star, entrepreneur, and the first Brazilian to garner one million twitter followers.
After four days at the beautiful Lagoon in Rio, the GEC ended with a celebration on Sugar Loaf Mountain that was catered by Endeavor Brazil company Spoleto.