High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Insight Spotlights Scaleup Ecosystems in Bangladesh and Uganda

As part of a series of reports focused on scaleup ecosystems worldwide, Endeavor Insight has analyzed the impact of scaleup companies on the economies of two emerging markets: Bangladesh and Uganda. Entitled “The Critical 5 Percent” (Bangladesh) and “The […]

March 24th, 2015 — by admin

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Lebanon’s Hind Hobeika, Founder of Instabeat, Honored on BBC’s 100 Women 2014 List

Lebanon entrepreneur Hind Hobeika, founder of wearable tech company Instabeat, was named to BBC’s 100 Women list this year which recognizes women who are leading industries and igniting change around the world. Instabeat produces a unique device that […]

October 29th, 2014 — by admin

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Spotlight on Endeavor’s Newest “Green” Entrepreneurs

Climate change and the protection of our environment have emerged as global issues. While individuals can limit the deterioration of the environment by changing little habits in their everyday lives, it is also crucial to get  companies across the globe involved, particularly in developing countries where attention to environmental issues has traditionally not been as strong as in the US or Europe.

Endeavor has over two dozen entrepreneurs across its portfolio whose businesses directly address climate change issues from energy conservation to waste-water management and agriculture (including natural fertilizers and other bio solutions). Enrique Gomez Junco of Optima Energia in Mexico has built a model business focused on energy saving solutions.  Luiz Chacon of Brazil’s SuperBAC is a pioneer of waste-water management solutions. Nicholas Cock Duque is building a line of eco-friendly household products at Ecoflora.

Thanks to a grant from Zennstrom Philanthropies, Endeavor continues to seek out and help emerging companies who can contribute to addressing climate change and become role models in their countries. Three companies selected over the past eighteen months provide great stories of the growing trend towards sustainable “green” entrepreneurship in developing countries.

Carrot is the first car sharing service in Mexico City. The founders, Jimena Pardo and Diego Solarzano, are determined to solve the pollution issue that is caused by the vast amount of traffic in Mexico City. Carrot not only makes it easy and affordable for individuals to get around Mexico City, but it also helps solve the pollution problem by encouraging people to share and use electric or hybrid cars. Over the past year Endeavor Mexico has built an advisory board for Carrot and provided mentors to aid with customer acquisition strategy, among other areas.


Bionativa develops, produces, and sells phytosanitary products, naturally derived fungicides, bactericides, biological stimulants, and bio-insecticides to Chile’s medium and large-scale farmers. These organic products are just as effective as chemical substitutes but are produced at a fraction of the cost. The founders, Eduardo Donoso and Paulo Escobar, have chosen to focus on Chile’s large, conventional agriculture industry rather than just focus on smaller organic producers. Given Chile’s pivotal role as a global supplier of fruits and vegetables, encouraging mainstream players to adopt organic inputs has the potential to have a major impact on the sector. Endeavor Chile has created an Advisory Board for Bionativa and is helping focus the management team on sales strategy.


Indonesia’s Tirta Marta produces innovative plastics – some produced from locally grown tapioca rather than petroleum – that decompose in only two to three years as opposed to the hundreds of years it takes generic plastic. Founder Sugianto Tandio, who was recently named a Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year, has convinced most of Indonesia’s largest retailers to buy these environmentally friendly plastic bags, thereby keeping millions of pounds of plastic from contaminating the environment. Next stop, the US market. Since being selected at the Athens ISP in March 2013, Endeavor has already arranged ten mentoring sessions for Sugianto.

Endeavor has always believed in the power of local role models.  Hopefully, the entrepreneurs behind Carrot, Bionativa and Tirta Marta and the many other Endeavor “green” entrepreneurs can prove that “green” business can be a profitable alternative.


Endeavor Board Chair Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Visits Colombia: Meets with President, Entrepreneurs and Local Business Leaders

Endeavor board chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr.’s successful visit to Colombia was capped by a meeting with Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos.

Bronfman spent a week visiting Bogotá and Medellín, meeting with local business leaders, Endeavor Entrepreneurs and mentors.  The trip to Medellín was particularly timely as Endeavor Colombia is looking to locate a regional office there. During the meeting with Santos, Bronfman and Endeavor Colombia Managing Director Adriana Suarez (pictured at left together with the president) discussed Endeavor’s activities in Colombia and the possibilities for Endeavor to provide advice to the presidential office on how to further develop and strengthen Colombia’s emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem. Endeavor’s Insight team is currently completing a mapping study of the Bogotá ecosystem that should be a valuable resource.

Linda Rottenberg and Endeavor featured in USA TODAY

USA TODAY featured Linda Rottenberg in its newly debuted “Change Agent” series. In addition to publishing an article that highlighted Endeavor’s success “revolutionizing entrepreneurship in emerging nations,” USA Today posted a video interview with Rottenberg to their website. The article examines Endeavor’s model and highlights key entrepreneur success stories such as Leila Velez  (Beleza Natural), Wences Casares (Patagon/Lemon) and Martin Migoya (Globant). It also discussed Endeavor’s pending launch in Miami and other US cities.

The Change Agents series aims to “highlight innovators and entrepreneurs looking to change business and culture with their vision.”  For a link to the article and accompanying video on USA TODAY.com click here.

Mexican Entrepreneur Naranya Creates Mobile Start-up Accelerator

Endeavor Entrepreneur Naranya, a leader in innovative mobile communications technologies, has launched an accelerator program in Monterrey, Mexico, to help new start-ups get their business ideas off the ground.   Launched by Naranya’s R&D subsidiary, Naranya Labs, the program is hoping to identify 75 worthy mobile development projects that will initially receive US$20,000 in seed funding along with free workspace and technical, business, legal and design advice.  Companies will be eligible to compete for a second round of funding at the $200,000 level.

Naranya joins a number of later stage Endeavor Entrepreneurs who are moving beyond traditional mentorship and  turning to a range of things, from venture capital to incubators, to support continued entrepreneurial innovation in their countries.  Companies participating in the Naranya accelerator will have access to test their business ideas via Naranya  platforms and relationships with leading carriers across Latin America reaching over 100 million mobile users.

The accelerator program will be managed by Rogelio Martinez, a former CIO of media group Reforma, who co-founded Naranya Labs with Naranya CEO Arturo Galvan.   Martinez was recently interviewed by Startup Buzz  and talked about Naranya’s interest in playing a role in a rapidly developing technology ecosystem in Mexico.  “We are seeking to be an active part…” said Martinez, noting that the accelerator will be housed inside Naranya Labs to “create a breeding ground of fresh ideas that can be tossed back and forth between up and coming entrepreneurs and experienced Naranya employees.”

The first class of start-ups will begin this summer but will then move into a program of regular spring and autumn sessions.




Fostering High Impact Entrepreneurship in Indonesia

Endeavor Indonesia Managing Director Sati Rasuanto was recently published in Strategic Review, an important Indonesian policy journal, writing on the subject of  how to create the necessary conditions for high impact entrepreneurship to flourish in that country.  Rasuanto points out that surveys show that Indonesians are “far less likely to start their own businesses than their Singaporean or American counterparts.”  In the article she outlines some of the necessary steps toward increasing awareness and participation in entrepreneurial activities.  Endeavor launched in Indonesia in 2012 and has already selected its first four Indonesian Endeavor Entrepreneurs.  To read the full article, click here.

Guest Opinion: The Body Shop Experiment with Entrepreneurship and CSR

The following post was submitted by the authors, Bruce Sheppy and Bryan Mcintosh, and represents Endeavor’s continued interest in sharing different views on measuring impact and social entrepreneurship.  The opinions are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect an endorsement or the opinion of Endeavor.

An Undiscovered Country

The Body Shop experiment with Entrepreneurship and CSR 

The Body Shop’s business has been an entrepreneurial enterprise of remarkable success. Its core lies on the principle, pioneered by founder Anita Roddick, that ‘(…) the business of business should not be just about money, it should be about responsibility.’   The company is the symbol of the 1970’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) revolution.

Presently, The Body Shop is part of one of the major ‘Giants’ of the cosmetic industry – L’Oreal Group – but its overall performance has been abysmal since the company’s acquisition in 2006.  The Body Shop accounts for 4% of L’Oreal net sales figures. The overall net sales figures show a weak performance of the company with £754m for 2010 with a like-for-like growth of -1.1%. The L’Oreal Group attributes the company’s 2010 strategic reorganization as the consequence of the poor sales performance. L’Oreal Group financial statements (2010) reveal a contrast in global sales performance: whereas developed countries sales continue to weaken: in other markets, such as Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe, the company reports a strong sales performance. While the company is still the face of cruelty free and ethics in business practices, its competitors, such as Lush, are in the forefront of customer service. Body Shop is the weakest company in the L’Oreal Group with an overall 8.7% profit.

CSR is based on a pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility – financial, legal, ethical and discretionary – and its applicability to general business practices. The rationale for this pyramid is that there is a natural progression of any business from being financially sustainable to an ultimate progression of volunteer engagement in social actions.

Nevertheless there is no concrete evidence that demonstrates the applicability of the concept to business strategy. The perceived applicability of CSR in business strategies balances marketing strategies of brand enhancement with an inefficient solution against global poverty in emergent economies.   Many now question the idea of Fair Trade and wonder whether the global labor standards set by developed nations are naïve when considering the economic, social and cultural factors of each country.

The Body Shop is the face of CSR practices but it is also a business in serious trouble. It has been traditionally focused on issues of compliance, transparency, volunteerism and philanthropy.   The Body Shop is no more the brand that it was once up on a time. CSR practices pioneered by Anita Roddick have enjoyed success in the past but lack in integration with the business principles and The company is lacking in innovation and in understanding what the customer wants. The marketing strategy that follows is one of an abundance of promotions, discounts and loyalty programs but lacking in a core selling proposition to its customer.

In conclusion, the Body Shop, once the epitome of doing responsible business responsible and a pioneer of fair trade practices across the globe, now languishes at a crossroads. Without any demerit to its principles, the fact is that the company is suffering from a steady decline of its sales figures – and.

The company’s CSR vision lacks a strategic integration with customer service and marketing . The CSR ideology is not matched with  a marketing strategy that can translate into feasible business practices.  The alternative might be to address either an integration of CSR with business strategy, or to adopt a different outlook on how to address the issues by responsibly doing business – the undiscovered country of totally responsible entrepreneurship.

To contact the authors:

Bruce Sheppy, Associate Professor of Marketing,  Richmond University, The American International University in London, 16 Young Street, Kensington, London W8 5EH. bruce.sheppy@richmond.ac.uk

Bryan McIntosh, Ph.D. Associate Professor of International Business, Richmond University, The American International University in London, 16 Young Street, Kensington, London W8 5EH, bryan.mcintosh@Richmond.ac.uk

Click here to learn more about business administration, international business and entrepreneurial degree programs at Richmond University.


July 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit Edition Newsletter

To view the July Summit Edition newsletter, a recap of the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit and all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

Reminder: To receive our monthly newsletters by email, please enter your email address in the sign-up box at the bottom of our homepage.


Endeavor Mexico Company Kubo Financiero forms alliance with KIVA, news covered by Reforma

Endeavor Mexico company and microfinance institution Kubo Financiero recently partnered with US non-profit KIVA, which has distributed over $400 million in loans since 2005. As a result, some Kubo borrowers will now have their loans posted on KIVA’s lending site.  Notably, the Kubo-KIVA alliance was covered by Reforma, one of the most widely-circulated newspapers in Mexico.

Founded by Vicente Fenoll, who was selected by Endeavor in 2004, Kubo gives out small loans (USD $25-$4,000) via a peer-to-peer lending site to finance everything from education courses to health treatments. One example of a Kubo project posted on KIVA’s site was from a taxi driver asking for a USD $1000 loan to finance maintenance of his vehicle.

2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit: Event Roundup

This year’s Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit offered entrepreneurs the chance to learn how to fine-tune their business savvy from some of the top innovators in the world.  Held in San Francisco from June 19-21, the biennial conference invited Endeavor Entrepreneurs to hear business leaders’ secrets to  success, participate in one-on-one “Global Connection” mentor-ship sessions, and attend a wide array of interactive workshops and break-out sessions.

Pre-Summit Visits

On the morning of June 19th, Endeavor Entrepreneurs had the opportunity to participate in three different pre-Summit visits: lunch with Zynga founder Mark Pincus at the company’s headquarters and tours of Dropbox and Google.

Investor Network Day

On the morning of June 19th, the Summit kicked off for many participants with an Investor Network event at GreenbergTraurig. The event featured a panel of three investors leading a discussion about raising capital to sustain and grow a business. Steve Alper (Managing Director and Head of Investment Services for Barclays), Santiago Subotovsky (Endeavor Entrepreneur and principal at Emergence Capital), and Dave McClure (Co-Founder of 500 Startups) offered their top tips to Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Funding projects, pitching an idea, and reading the market in order to strike at opportunities were among the most hard-hit topics. The panelists also stressed the importance of making the most of Endeavor’s guidance.

Separately, investors from around the world met to discuss trends and opportunities in emerging market investments. A popular speed networking session between entrepreneurs and investors followed, along with a cook-off competition over lunch at the Williams-Sonoma facility.


One of the most memorable talks was a conversation between Jack Dorsey, Twitter mastermind and chairman and founder of Square, and Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Jelly, and The Obvious Corporation. Stone and Dorsey drew attention to the power of an idea as fuel for a successful business, pointing out how Twitter’s focus on communication as a marketing tool made it what it is today. Passion, said Stone, is what has driven businesses to become phenomena;it’s the most important capital an investor has.

In another keynote, John Donahoe, CEO of eBay noted how vital it is to fine-tune yourself to subtle shifts in the pulse of the market, especially in a business world growing increasingly virtual where distinctions are harder to point out.

Speaking with Eric Eldon of TechCrunch, the successful investor Ali Partovi encouraged the audience to take risks when necessary.

Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey, and Wences Casares, an Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board member whose technological prowess launched many high-impact ventures, had an engaging discussion. Goldberg offered his advice on choosing a team that works. “Work with people you like to work with, work with people smarter than you, and work to people’s strengths.”

John McIntire and Andres Moreno of Open English held their own gem-filled discussion, while Mitch Free, founder of marketing company MFG.com, delivered the much-tweeted “Every person is a genius in something.”

Master tech advisor Ben Horowitz and washingtonpost.newsweek interactive CEO Chris Schroeder, as well as Roy Gilbert, CEO of Grockit, and Gina Bianchini, who co-founded the social platform Ning, spoke in two separate conversations about the need for drive and perseverance. Bianchini affirmed the necessity of having patience when embarking on a business venture, stating that failure is often part of the path to success.

Then there was Jawbone founder Alex Asseily and Fadi Ghandour of Aramex’s take on failure, as something not just to overcome, but to learn from: “Rejection strengthens us, but it is also feedback that you need to continue to improve,” as Asseily phrased it.

Jenn Lim, co-founder and CEO of Delivering Happiness, shared her discoveries about the subject on the road to business success. By mixing “pleasure, passion, and higher purpose,” companies can find success beyond numbers by bringing a sense of fulfillment to employees’ lives.

Endeavor President Fernando Fabre and Bain partner Chris Zook concluded the summit. Fabre discussed his vision of the ideal lifecycle of the high-impact entrepreneur—from success to giving back. Zook took a similar approach, returning to the words of Aristotle as a guide for the future: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is a habit.”

Workshops and Breakout Sessions

By attending smaller workshops and “hot topics” sessions, attendees benefited from personalized coaching and advice – in a sense, small “team meetings” with some of the best entrepreneurial minds today. There were nearly twenty different workshops, side panels, and group discussions that took place, tackling all subjects from protecting IP to managing customer data.  Workshops were led by experts from leading companies including Bain (customer service), Business Model Generation (strategic planning), General Electric (human resources) and SAP (design thinking).

Global Connections

A highlight of the Summit was a 2-hour Global Connections session that brought together close to 300 entrepreneurs and members of Endeavor’s Silicon Valley network for a round-robin series of one-on-one mentoring sessions.  Participants were given access to an online community platform, provided by Summit sponsor Jive Software, so that they could remain in touch after the Summit.


Endeavor also took the opportunity to recognize some of the most accomplished and inspiring entrepreneurs of the year in the Omidyar Network – Endeavor Awards Dinner, hosted by Endeavor Global board members Nick Beim and Wences Casares.

Young Entrepreneurs of the Year included entrepreneurs all under thirty who have already made a name for themselves. Mois Cherem (from Mexico’s Enova) was recognized for his outstanding progress in Mexico’s educational system with the Social Impact Award, while the Endeavor Advocate Award was shared among excellent Endeavor Entrepreneurs from all countries.  Both the job growth awards and the highest revenue awards were divided into three categories. Concerning job growth, winners were awarded for creating the most jobs, for having the highest percentage growth in jobs, and for having the highest absolute growth in jobs in their companies. The revenue awards were broken down based on highest percentage growth in revenue, highest absolute growth in revenue, and highest overall revenue.

There’s one name that stood out among the rest, being called four times to the stage to receive an award. Bento Koike of Brazil’s Tecsis, a pioneer in the field of sustainable energy and the world’s second-largest producer of wind blades, took the top prize for the highest overall growth in jobs, highest overall revenue, and highest overall growth in revenue. He also starred as the recipient of the Omidyar Network-Endeavor Entrepreneur Award, introduced in an elegant and inspiring address by Endeavor Global Board member Matt Bannick, Managing Partner at Omidyar Network.

Talk of the town

With Twitter’s co-founders serving as keynote speakers, it was only natural that the discussion overflowed beyond the conference and become an opportunity for social networking. Check out the top tweets about this summit’s discussions and workshops (#endeavorsummit).


Be sure to check out the individual daily posts on the Endeavor.org blog for more insights into this year’s remarkable Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit.


Top Entrepreneurship Tips from the #endeavorsummit

This June, Endeavor Entrepreneurs and Endeavor network members convened in San Francisco to hear business leaders’ best entrepreneurship tips at the 2013 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit.

Attendees enjoyed three days of keynotes and fireside chats, interactive workshops led by business execs, and a speed networking session. Entrepreneurs had the chance to learn from the masters and take away lessons to help them grow their high-impact businesses.

In case you missed the Summit, here’s a second look at some of the event’s most impactful (and most-tweeted) tips and tricks:

1. “Every transaction is a social event!” said Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, Jelly, and The Obvious Corporation. Stone pointed out the role passion plays in building a business as the fundamental ingredient in a recipe for success. “When you are emotionally invested in something, it will carry you through the bad times,” he explained alongside Jack Dorsey.  Stone and Dorsey remarked that Twitter was founded and fueled not by a business mantra, but by an idea: the power of conversation can connect people across the globe.

2. “The best leaders learn the fastest,” stated John Donahoe, CEO of eBay.  With business growing more global by the minute and the distinction between virtual and physical transactions fading fast, the importance of understanding subtle shifts in the pulse of the market cannot be understated. Along the lines of this advice, Ali Partovi, the highly successful investor, encouraged his audience: “Don’t let your fear of failing stop you from taking risks.” Think before you act–but not so much that you miss the boat.

3. Not certain how to go about choosing your team?  Take the advice of Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey: “Work with people you like to work with, work with people smarter than you, and work to people’s strengths.”  As the marketing company MFG.com founder Mitch Free put it, “Every person is a genius in something.”

4. Master tech advisor Ben Horowitz added stated, “I hope you have an irrational desire to build a company–you will need it!”  Gina Bianchini, who co-founded the social platform Ning, affirmed the necessity of having patience when embarking on a business venture, stating that failure is often part of the path to success.

5. Sometimes, though, persevering seems hard, even impossible. Jawbone Founder Alex Asseily’s take on failure is not just to overcome it, but to learn from it: “Rejection strengthens us, but it is also feedback that you need to continue to improve.”

6. Fernando Fabre, Endeavor’s president, concluded the Summit by discussing the entrepreneurial life cycle.  He explained, “A high-impact entrepreneur is defined in two stages. Stage one: be successful and scale. Stage two: use the success to mentor and invest in other entrepreneurs.” It’s just another way of spreading the entrepreneurial spirit; success grows off of itself, so the more you can lead others to it, the more pay-off there will be for your own company.  Bestselling author Chris Zook took a similar approach, returning to the words of Aristotle as a guide for the future: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is a habit.”

Hungry for more advice?  Check out the top tweets from the event (#endeavorsummit) to hear the speakers’ most memorable tips.

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