High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Greece Celebrates Two Years and 3,500+ Jobs Created By Its Entrepreneurs

Endeavor Greece released an infographic and video to highlight the office’s impact during its two year anniversary. The team supports some of the region’s top high-impact entrepreneurs who continue to drive sustainable job creation and contribute to […]

December 18th, 2014 — by admin

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New Endeavor Insight Report Analyzes the Source of Silicon Valley’s Development

Endeavor Insight, supported by Omidyar Network, has released a new report that analyzes the development of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurship hub. The report, entitled “How Did Silicon Valley Become Silicon Valley,” includes new data that […]

July 29th, 2014 — by admin

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Want to intern with Endeavor this summer? Internship applications now open.

Endeavor seeks strategic global thinkers to join its team for 6-10 weeks this summer in our New York office.  Interns will have the opportunity to learn about every component of Endeavor’s model, spend time with Endeavor’s President and CEO, and present their final research projects to the entire Endeavor organization.

Examples of past projects conducted by interns include:

·         Mapping connections among 200+ Argentinean VCs and entrepreneurs to understand network effects in entrepreneurial ecosystem, culminating in a YouTube video with 8,000+ views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g95QGhqAus&hd=1.

·         Conducting interviews with Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have a direct social impact (e.g., extending financial services to “bottom of the pyramid” clients) to understand the key drivers of growth and expansion for firms in the social enterprise sector.

·         Investigating common characteristics and needs among specific types of Endeavor Entrepreneurs (e.g. social entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs).

·         Writing and editing sections of the 6-8 page profiles (case studies) that are the culminating representation of Endeavor’s search process.


·         Passionate about entrepreneurship and economic development in growth markets.

·         Current top students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree, with a strong academic record in any field.

·         Exceptionally strong English language writing skills

·         A creative thinker who can execute complex quantitative and qualitative research projects.

·         Strong cultural and interpersonal skills for working with international team members.

·         Self-starter who is independent and able to meet or beat tight deadlines.


Interns will be interviewed beginning in February/March and notified of final decisions by mid-April.


Although Endeavor cannot offer compensation for this internship, we will support qualified candidates to seek out external funding. In past years, the majority of our interns have been able to secure funding either through their university or through external sources that support social enterprise.

How to apply

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the deadline of April 1, 2013.  All applicants should prepare a cover letter explaining why they want to work at Endeavor and why they are the best candidate for this position. Applicants should submit this cover letter and a resume through our online application at www.endeavor.org/talent. Due to the overwhelming amount of applications, we can only respond directly to select applicants. No calls please, and best of luck!

Endeavor Middle East affiliates featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

A feature article on Endeavor’s impact in Egypt and Jordan was published in the current issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR). SSIR is a Stanford University magazine and website written to inform and inspire social change. The award-winning Review spans the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in tackling a diverse range of global challenges.

In this article by Jamil Wyne entitled “Investing in Arab Entrepreneurs”, the success of Endeavor’s model is demonstrated through the stories of several inspiring entrepreneurs in the emerging market of the Arab world.

Investing in Arab Entrepreneurs

Endeavor’s expansion to Egypt and Jordan is helping to create thousands of jobs.

By Jamil Wyne | Winter 2013

” In 2011, Amin Amin was stuck: His primary investor threatened to take over his company, Change Agent for Arab   Development and Education Reform (CADER). The CADER model was unique, providing professional training to teachers to improve educational capacity in the Arab world. It had also turned a profit, nearly doubling its revenues annually between 2005 and 2011. CADER provided a financially sustainable solution for the region’s educational challenges, but this could not prevent Amin from losing the institution he had built from the ground up. He had two options: relinquish control for a fraction of the company’s valuation or purchase it for a price beyond its value.

In need of sound legal counsel and strategic guidance as well as moral support, Amin turned to the Jordanian arm of Endeavor, a nonprofit that identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. In 2009, Amin had become one of the first Jordanians to be selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Throughout the dilemma with his investor, Endeavor provided him with pro bono consulting and legal advice, guiding him to a resolution. Although Amin left CADER, he assumed a new position as CEO of ASK for Human Capacity Building, a company that designs tailor-made training programs to improve the region’s education system and labor market—and where Amin continues to receive Endeavor support.

Endeavor operates similarly to a venture capital firm, but takes no equity in its entrepreneurs’ companies. Instead, it pairs its entrepreneurs with top-notch business development services, a practice that New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman termed the “mentor capitalist” model. The nonprofit—which was founded in 1997 by Americans Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner and has offices in 14 developing countries, with headquarters in New York City—selects, mentors, and accelerates those rare individuals who can grow an innovative idea into a globally competitive enterprise.”

Reprinted from the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Read the full article here.

Endeavor Catalyst makes first investment in Mexico

Joins IGNIA led investment in Endeavor Entrepreneur Procesa Chiapas

México City January 29th, 2013. IGNIA Fund I, the largest impact investing Fund in Latin America, announced today the joint investment with Endeavor Catalyst of $ 104.4 million pesos in Procesamiento Especializado de Alimentos (“Procesa Chiapas”).

Procesa Chiapas has developed products with high nutritional value for different markets, including low-income children who are served through government food assistance programs.

Among its brands is “Marina Azul ®”, Mexico’s first tuna offered in a pouch, which allows for a higher quality product with the convenience of a single-serving, easy-to-open and consume product. Marina Azul ®” has been distributed in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide since 2006. The Company also markets products fortified with essential vitamins and minerals for specific population segments suffering from nutritional deficiencies.

IGNIA Fund I and Endeavor Catalyst invested in Procesa Chiapas to enhance its business expansion, new product development, management team and reinforce its productive capacity.

“This investment represents a major milestone in the life of our company, as it validates a business model with high social impact for Mexico and allows us to strengthen our financial, operational and business structure.  With this investment, we will achieve the ambitious goals jointly set with IGNIA and Endeavor, where nutrition is the factor of utmost importance” stated Mauricio Pariente, the company’s CEO. Procesa Chiapas is preparing an additional funding round.

IGNIA’s team has worked side by side with Procesa Chiapas for the last 5 months, developing the company’s future business plan and investment strategy. “IGNIA’s vision is to help build a more equitable Mexico. Achieving high quality nutrition and a balanced diet that is affordable and accessible for all levels of society is part of our solution. That is why we are investing in Procesa Chiapas, a company with innovative and agile entrepreneurs with a social conscience, “said Leon Kraig, Partner and Managing Director of IGNIA.

“Procesa Chiapas is the first investment of Endeavor Catalyst in Mexico,” said Linda Rottenberg, co-founder of Endeavor.  “This is an example of high-impact entrepreneurs whose vision and innovation are helping Mexico”, she added. Pilar Aguilar of Endeavor Mexico added: “At Endeavor we have seen Procesa Chiapas transform itself from a micro business with a local model, to a large company with a national footprint. Endeavor is proud to support entrepreneurs whose vision, work and commitment towards Mexico can transform an industry and improve the quality of life of millions of Mexicans”. Endeavor Catalyst has invested in Procesa Chiapas as part of its mandate to co-invest in the professional funding rounds of all Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Procesa Chiapas was chosen as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2007.

For more information, please contact:

Tanya Beja



Procesa Chiapas is a company focused on nutrition through the production and commercialization of high quality products that benefit all sectors of the population, especially those most vulnerable by their socio-economic, geographical and cultural conditions. For more information please visit: http://www.marina-azul.com/

IGNIA Fund I, LP is an impact investing venture capital firm based in Monterrey, Mexico that supports the founding and expansion of high growth social enterprises that serve the base of the socio-economic pyramid in Mexico. By providing effective responses to the enormously underserved needs of low income populations in high-impact activities, IGNIA empowers entrepreneurship and generates social impact while creating attractive financial returns for its investors.

Endeavor has been hailed by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as “the best anti-poverty program of all.” Endeavor is a leading global movement that catalyzes long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 30,000 entrepreneurs and selected 766 individuals leading 476 high-impact companies. For additional information, please visit www.endeavor.org

Endeavor Catalyst is an innovative, passive investment pool that uses donated capital to co-invest in Endeavor Entrepreneur funding rounds in a neutral, rules-based process.  The main goal of this program is to harness the value creation of entrepreneurs to produce investment returns that support Endeavor Global’s operations with proceeds that are reinvested in future Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ venture rounds.


Calling All eMBA Alumni: Reunion Cocktail Party on Feb. 13 in NYC!

eMBA Alumni: join us for a free cocktail party from 6 PM – 8:30 PM on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 in New York City!

Why should you attend?

• It will be a fabulous night to reconnect with Endeavor and hear (briefly) about what’s taken us to 14 countries (soon more) where we support over 475 companies.

• Mix’n’mingle with former MBAs who had great experiences with awesome innovators from all corners of the world.

• Help us understand what opportunities (partnerships, etc.) are out there in the world that can help take Endeavor to the next level.

• Share with us your eMBA experience and help Endeavor continuously improve the eMBA program  for both Endeavor Entrepreneurs and MBA students in the future.

Spouses are welcome to attend; however, space is limited. For more details and to RSVP, please email us.

Not in New York City? We hope to hold a similar event near you soon! Please provide us with your updated contact information, and we’ll keep you informed about future Endeavor events and opportunities in your region.

You can also stay in touch with Endeavor and with fellow eMBA alumni via the eMBA Program Group on LinkedIn – join today!


Greek Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Hellas Direct give insight on the wonderful world of fundraising

Hellas Direct

Reprinted from the Hellas Direct blog. Original article here.

Raising capital is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do as an entrepreneur. Whether you are seeking your first few thousand euros or looking for tens of millions, pitching to an investor is a test of both character and tenacity.

In setting up Hellas Direct we raised EUR 8.5m in angel financing. We approached more than 2,500 investors and we met up with 300 of them. This was a long rollercoaster ride, which spread over 14 different countries and lasted approximately 18 months. It was a humbling experience, but one that we would not change for the world. It was a journey, which taught us a number of lessons and gifted us tons of entertaining stories to share with friends in gin-and-tonic sessions to come. How else could one have met a Russian oligarch, drink afternoon tea at the House of Lords and find himself bodysearched in a Tel Aviv restaurant, all within two weeks?!

We were lucky enough to have a pretty unique proposition to share with the investment community. At the time that we began our fundraising there were few people looking to set up a new business in Greece, let alone in a sector as highly specialised (and blatantly boring) as car insurance. This helped us differentiate our message and it enabled us to suss out quickly whether a particular investor would be of relevance. Hellas Direct – or ‘Project Dias’ as it was then mystically called – was coined as  «the ultimate contrarian play», and we were often referred to as «those Goldman guys» or «the Greek chaps», alongside different adjectives that in one way or another questioned our sanity. This, in its own right, was helpful. In the goldfish-memory world of international investing we became relevant, we marked our own territory and we made a lasting impression.

If there is one piece of advice that we would like to pass on to all entrepreneurs venturing out to find investors is to make themselves memorable. Find a niche, own it and make sure that everyone appreciates that this is your domain. Become the go-to person in your industry, a knowledge hub. In order to do that, you will need to be 100% consistent in your messaging. One of the greatest mistakes we made at the beginning of our journey was to try and change our tune according to what we thought investors wanted to hear. This is a dangerous game to find yourself playing and it can do much more harm in the long-run than losing out on some immediate investor leads. The investment community is a surprisingly small place, with a lot of interconnected communication channels. In order to build long-term credibility, it is important to be yourself, to stick to your story and to share the same information across the board. Few investors would back a venture without calling some people first to check you out – any ambiguity or mixed feedback there could jeopardise your chances of getting funded.

“In the goldfish-memory world of international investing we became relevant, we marked our own territory and we made a lasting impression.”

So, how does one get started? Is there a magic formula, a plan, a recommended course of action? What we have discovered along the way is that different things work for different people. Most of our successes came from cold-calling. A number of our current shareholders we had never come across before pitching them our idea. Other entrepreneurs have done fantastically well by just relying on their own network and adopting a much more clinical approach. There is no right answer as such.

We thought we’d share with you five quick pointers to help get you motivated and set you off on your fundraising. The below definitely helped us keep sight of our end goal. We hope you find them useful!


A.    Get in the ring

• It is not a shame to be asking for money. Most investors have been there before and they respect you for doing so. Whatever your educational or corporate background may be, let your fears subside and start emailing!

• Plan well. It is easy to fall into the trap where you think you are making progress but you end up spinning wheels. Remember the 80-20 rule and seek results not perfection. We put together dozens of target investor lists which proved themselves useless, despite their impeccable formatting and colours.

• Break down the run into smaller, easier to complete, sprints. The aim of an email is to get you a face-to-face meeting. The target of that meeting is to get you a second meeting. The goal of that second meeting is … you get the drill! We had to meet some of our investors close to twenty times before they actually committed. Be patient and keep track of everything.


B.    Know your audience

• Reaching out to someone you do not know is never easy. Try to educate yourself about them as much as you can. Ask common friends, google them, flick through newspaper archives. You can never research someone too much.

• Stalk people! By following people’s tweets, checking them out on facebook and tracking them on linkedin can help you get a much better idea as to what these people are like, what drives them and how they express themselves. Think of this as the social media checks you’d do on someone before going on a date.

• Don’t assume that a social media contact is a credible introducer. From our experience, it is often better to approach someone ‘cold’ than getting a ‘lukewarm’ introduction.


“It is important to understand that investors do not need you – the only reason they would respond to you is because you managed to attract their attention somehow.”


C.    Personalise your approach

• The investors you are reaching out to have been approached by hundreds if not thousands of different entrepreneurs through time. They have probably seen your exact same plan a couple of times before too. It is important to understand that investors do not need you – the only reason they would respond to you is because you managed to attract their attention somehow. We were told by an internet billionaire’s family office that the only reason why they decided to see us out of 700 business plans submitted on that day was because of the title of our email!

• Find a hook. Each investor has a soft-spot. It could be their alma matter, a charity they are involved in, a cause that they believe in. Try to figure the best approach via their social media interactions and use such a ‘hook’ as a means to engage in a more meaningful communication. In all likelihood, the investor will know exactly what you are doing, but they will respect you for the effort and for sticking to the protocol.

• Keep your emails long enough to cover the bare essentials but short enough to keep things interesting. Don’t try to overload people with information. Remember that the goal here is to get any sort of response – even negative – on which you can work on.


D.    Follow up

• It shocks us seeing entrepreneurs who don’t follow up on meetings they had requested in the first place. You would be surprised how many people get this wrong. Sending a polite thank-you note via email is the very least one should do – preferably straight after finishing the meeting.

• Following up on topics specifically discussed during a meeting is always a winner with investors. Books generally come across as a thoughtful approach. We were probably the largest Amazon buyers of Brett King’s «Bank 2.0» when it came out in 2009.

• Following up is particularly important in the case of a negative answer too. Remember that these people may serve as points of reference to future investors you may need. The last thing you would want is for them to express a negative opinion on your manners and etiquette!


«if you are going through hell, keep going»…


E.    Keep calm and carry on

• You will need to kiss a lot of frogs before you get to your prince.

• You will often think of quitting but don’t let that get you down.

• As Churchill said: «if you are going through hell, keep going»…


Endeavor to bring high-impact entrepreneurship model to the U.S.; Focuses on creating new Miami affiliate

To read the Miami Herald’s article about Endeavor’s launch in Miami, please click here.

Miami, Jan. 15, 2012 – Endeavor, a global leader in building communities of high-impact entrepreneurs and innovators, will open its first U.S. affiliate in Miami with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Beginning in late 2013, Miami’s best doers and innovators will be eligible to apply to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs, connecting them to a global network of volunteer mentors and advisors who can help scale their ventures.

Knight Foundation is providing Endeavor with $2 million as part of its efforts to connect and support the local startup community.

“There is great momentum in Miami’s startup community, but it is still harder than it should be for entrepreneurs to build their ideas here,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. “Endeavor will address this challenge, bringing an unprecedented level of support, learning opportunities and connections for Miami’s diverse group of entrepreneurs. This is a cornerstone of our effort to make Miami more of a place where ideas are built.”

Endeavor, a non-profit, currently supports more than 750 entrepreneurs from over 400 companies in 14 countries, including six in Latin America. These “high impact” entrepreneurs are selected for their ability to drive innovation, produce role models and maximize wealth and job creation. The selection process is rigorous, as they must obtain a global panel’s unanimous vote.

Following selection, Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive access to mentors and a volunteer advisory board of local business leaders; access to international networks from Silicon Valley to affiliate offices on five continents; interns from top business schools and professional service firms including Ernst & Young; and invitations to exclusive educational programs including a specialized course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.  The success of the Endeavor model has been recognized by numerous global organizations and been documented in two Harvard Business School case studies.

“We initially started Endeavor with the goal of bringing the idea of American-style mentorship and networking to entrepreneurs in emerging market countries,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg.  “Over the past few years it has become apparent that not all parts of the U.S. have the built-in advantages of Silicon Valley, Austin or New York’s Flatiron district.  There are plenty of areas of the U.S. with promising entrepreneurs that need help building an eco-system conducive to helping local entrepreneurs scale and prosper.”

While Endeavor has not set a date for a launch, the management team will begin by building a local board of directors who can champion the Endeavor model and build a base of volunteer mentors on the ground.  The organization already has a number of key relationships in the area thanks to Endeavor’s 14-year history working with Latin America as well as Knight Foundation’s support.

“From our work in the region, we know there are Miami entrepreneurs with business ideas that can scale beyond the start-up phase and contribute toward building a healthy economy in the region,” said Endeavor president Fernando Fabre.

For further information contact:

David Wachtel, SVP Marketing and Communications, Endeavor.  david.wachtel@endeavor.org  Tel: 646-783-6139

Andrew Sherry, VP for Communications, Knight Foundation, media@knightfoundation.org, Tel: 305-908-2677

About Endeavor:

Hailed by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as “the best anti-poverty program of all,” Endeavor is leading the global movement for high impact entrepreneurship. To date, Endeavor has screened more than 30,000 entrepreneurs and selected 766 individuals leading 476 high-impact companies.

With support from Endeavor’s worldwide mentor network, these high-impact entrepreneurs

-Have created over 200,000 jobs
-Generated over $5 billion in revenues in 2011
-Inspire future generations to innovate and take risks

Headquartered in New York City, Endeavor currently operates in 16 countries throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. As the high-impact movement expands globally, Endeavor will continue to prove that anyone with a big idea can succeed, from Silicon Valley to Latin America, the Middle East, and beyond.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:  

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit KnightFoundation.org.

Endeavor’s CEO and Insight Director published by Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review published an article today by Endeavor’s CEO Linda Rottenberg and the director of Endeavor Insight, Rhett Morris, entitled “If You Want to Scale Impact, Put Financial Results First”. This piece is the inaugural article for the HBR-Bridgespan Insight Center on Scaling Social Impact — a partnership between the Harvard Business Review and The Bridgespan Group, supported by the Omidyar Network — that will share stories, insights, and lessons from the most innovative voices in the field.

The text of the article is reprinted below. The original article is available on HBR.org here.

If You Want to Scale Impact, Put Financial Results First

Entrepreneurs who lead for-profit, social enterprises face a unique challenge: they must simultaneously create financial value for their investors and social value for those they seek to serve. Having two missions, however, sometimes creates conflicts that can slow companies’ growth.

Endeavor Insight, the research arm of our organization Endeavor, has found that the way that entrepreneurs who lead social enterprises make tradeoffs between social and financial goals is a critical factor in determining the degree to which their companies will grow. Indeed, in our experience, and in a targeted study of close to 20 entrepreneurs, we found that those who prioritized financial goals over social ones were more likely to grow their social enterprises and achieve greater impact. We also discovered ways to build business models that reduced friction between commercial and social goals, thereby smoothing the path to growth.

What is our vantage point? Over the last 15 years, Endeavor has selected, mentored and accelerated more than 750 high-impact entrepreneurs across 14 countries. Their fast-growing companies work in almost every industry, from online retail to manufacturing to professional services, and together they have created more than 200,000 jobs and generated revenues of more than $5B in 2011. While Endeavor does not specifically target social entrepreneurs, more than 50 individuals in the Endeavor network lead companies with direct social impact – education and healthcare improvements, environmental preservation, financial inclusion, assistance to disadvantaged populations, and other areas.

A Tale of Two Entrepreneurs

Let’s look at two examples from our study (some of their names and details have been changed). Roberta leads a business that seeks to improve the healthcare system in her Latin American country by providing better IT infrastructure and processes in order to reduce medical costs and improve the quality of patient care. Most of the population in Roberta’s country has traditionally lacked access to quality healthcare, and government experts have forecasted that chronic diseases will bankrupt the healthcare sector in the next few decades. Roberta wants to make change at both a macro and micro level.

“It is really motivating to walk into a hospital and see that things are better. You hear patients telling you that last year they had to wait for three hours and now they only have to wait 20 minutes or you see hospitals providing access to people in rural areas who have not had it ever before,” she told interviewers.

Roberta’s company has aligned its social and financial goals. As the business reaches more hospitals, revenues grow and the impact on the healthcare system increases. This strategy has led to strong results. Over the last three years, the company has expanded to serve more than 1,000 hospitals and clinics that provide care to over 15 million patients each year. Revenues have also grown by more than 600% during the same period. The firm is looking to raise funding from venture capital firms so that it can further grow.

Thousands of miles away in Asia, another Endeavor Entrepreneur, Adam, also runs a social enterprise. His company seeks to transform the lives of people within a severely disadvantaged population by employing them at a manufacturing firm. The jobs at Adam’s company offer potential employees full-time employment and training that they cannot find elsewhere. Unemployment rates for the general population in Adam’s country consistently run in the double-digits and are even higher among his company’s target group. Adam decided to launch a for-profit enterprise because non-profit solutions took too long to create jobs.

“In a business you have an amazing ability to be flexible,” he said. “It’s far easier to create the change you want because in a day or two you can implement it.”

Adam’s business has not been as successful as Roberta’s. Revenues have stagnated over the last few years, in part because Adam has no ambition to expand into other countries despite the relatively small size of his current market. The social impact of the business has also suffered. The company has never employed more than 100 people and recently reduced its headcount. He is now pursuing grant funding, which he believes will address these issues and will enable his business to expand its product lines.

Why Has Roberta’s Company Scaled While Adam’s Hasn’t?

Roberta and Adam went through the same selection process to join Endeavor. Both of their companies were judged to be among the top 2% of applicants, yet one has significantly outperformed the other in achieving its social and financial goals. This example represents what’s happening across the sector: While some socially-focused firms have achieved rapid success and scale, many others have had promising starts, but never build on that success to expand their impact. Why?

We spoke to Michael Chu, a Senior Lecturer in the Initiative on Social Enterprise at Harvard Business School and the managing director of the investment fund IGNIA, who said that this trend may be due to the unique challenges faced by social enterprises. “In many cases when people are addressing a social issue through commercial platforms, they are looking to be even more disruptive than a purely commercial enterprise. You actually need even more rigor in your thinking. Just because you are trying to do something good doesn’t mean that the world will change the rules for you.”

In Chu’s experience, motivations are also critically important. “We tend to see lots of people who fall in love with the social impact and hide the weaknesses in the business model and the weaknesses in execution,” he said.

Our team set out to further explore this question by looking at the 50+ social enterprise companies in our network. We analyzed more than 100 different characteristics, none of which accounted for the discrepancies we saw in growth. So we conducted in-depth interviews with close to 20 entrepreneurs who lead these companies. We asked the entrepreneurs to rank how frequently they favored one type of goal over the other when making inevitable tradeoffs.

For example, Roberta has to decide whether to discount services to hospitals too poor to buy them at a profitable price. Should she influence the quality of care of more patients? Or keep margins healthy? And what about Adam? Should he plow cash into increasing the pay of the disadvantaged people he employs, or build his working capital?

What We Learned

Our research showed that the entrepreneurs’ approach to tradeoffs plays a critical role in their ability to scale. Those who prioritized financial goals over social goals were much more likely to experience high rates of growth and have greater social impact. Though the sample was relatively small, the trend was quite strong. The more likely entrepreneurs were to favor financial goals, the faster their companies grew.

Here is what one entrepreneur said about this balance: “The first thing I have to do is make sure that I stay in business because social businesses are more challenging than other types of companies. For long-term sustainability, you need to value business first and make sure that all of your actions have business case to support them.”

Unfortunately, this is not always easy. Entrepreneurs with dual missions regularly face tradeoffs. We’ve found with the social entrepreneurs in our network that one of the best ways to avoid sacrificing financial sustainability for social impact is to reduce the total number of tradeoffs that entrepreneurs must make. The design of a company’s business model is among the most important factors that influence its ability to scale.

“Social entrepreneurs need to understand if their social mission is complementary to their financial goals or if there are going to be lots of friction points due to conflict between them,” said Cathy Clark from the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship at Duke University. “The ventures that grow fastest are likely to be the ones that have the most frictionless business models. Just because you have a misalignment, it doesn’t mean you won’t scale. It just means you have to be even smarter. You have to manage around more of these sorts of issues.”

Below is a matrix that shows how we believe an entrepreneur’s approach to tradeoffs and business model design affect a social enterprise’s ability to scale. Entrepreneurs can use this tool to evaluate their current position, and can use this information to adjust their business model or approach to tradeoffs. The hope is that by shifting their strategy, it will be easier for their enterprise to increase its social and financial impacts.

Anecdotally, we have seen that entrepreneurs and businesses tend to gravitate to the top right and bottom left sections of this chart. Entrepreneurs who deal with tradeoffs by prioritizing social goals over financial ones tend to design business models that require more tradeoffs to be made. Entrepreneurs who fall in the upper right hand corner tend to report that they did not obsess over the conflicts between the social and financial objectives of their companies. Instead, they focused their attention on growth, believing that any step they took to help their companies scale allowed them to accomplish more.

So What Does This Mean?

Of course, there are limits to this research. For example, the entrepreneurs included were drawn from a single organization with a distinct selection process. And their enterprises ranged from those in which the consumer and beneficiary were one and the same, like Roberta’s, to ones in which one set of customers created benefits for another, as in Adam’s case. However, these findings can inform any entrepreneur leading a social enterprise or investors funding it.

Entrepreneurs leading social enterprises should consider the following:

– Design business models that align financial and social goals as closely as possible to minimize tradeoffs and reduce friction.

– When tradeoffs must be made, prioritize financial goals over social ones to maximize the long-term sustainability of the business.

The organizations that support them also need to:

– Work to identify founders who can develop business models that prioritize financial sustainability and ability to scale. In our experience, entrepreneurs with strong business backgrounds who develop passion for social issues tend to do this very effectively.

– Encourage entrepreneurs at social enterprises to prioritize long-term sustainability when dealing with trade-offs.

Additional background on Endeavor’s methodology

In order to understand the factors that lead to success and failure for social enterprises, Endeavor’s Insight team analyzed more than 100 different characteristics of the social enterprises within Endeavor’s network. Over the last 15 years, Endeavor has supported more than 750 high-impact entrepreneurs leading fast-growing companies in almost every industry. Though Endeavor does not specifically target social enterprises, more than 50 of the entrepreneurs supported by Endeavor lead social enterprises.

These companies have experienced a wide variety of growth rates during the last three years. Approximately one-fifth of these firms have grown their revenues at 40% or more on average each year. Unfortunately, the majority of these firms have experienced negative, low or moderate growth revenue rates, which makes it quite difficult to achieve their financial and social goals.

After using existing data to analyze characteristics that influence the likelihood an enterprise will scale for each of these firms, the Insight team conducted one-hour, in-depth interviews with close to 20 entrepreneurs who lead these companies. These analyses and interviews informed the results published in the article.


WPP acquires stake in Endeavor Entrepreneur company Globant

For the original press release, click here.

WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services group, has agreed to acquire a 20% stake in Globant S.A. (“Globant”). Globant is an emerging worldwide leader in providing both technical expertise and design and creative capabilities in the development of software products that can be applied to digital marketing campaigns on a global scale.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Globant is a rapidly growing business employing 2,700 engineers, marketing specialists and designers in 21 offices across 14 cities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, the United States and the United Kingdom. The company’s approach is unique in that it provides clients with both the infrastructure and technical support that drive digital marketing campaigns, combined with the creative and design skills usually found alone in digital agencies.

Globant’s net revenues for the year ended 31 December 2011 were US$90 million and net revenues for the six months to 30 June 2012 were US$56.9 million with total assets of US$69 million as of 30 June 2012. WPP will invest approximately $70 million in acquiring the Globant stake.

“Increasingly, clients want better coordination between their IT departments and their marketing departments, between their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and their Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs),” said WPP Chief Executive Sir Martin Sorrell. “There are many consulting companies or digital agencies that are expert in one function or the other. Few, if any, do both and even fewer can integrate deep technical and creative capabilities on a global scale as Globant does. Partnering with Globant will allow our companies to increasingly provide our clients with insights and skills that will make their digital marketing efforts even more effective and simpler to manage at both the front and back ends.”

Globant has deep experience in working in state of the art digital marketing spaces including, but not limited to, mobile, gamification, social networks, cloud computing, big data and e-commerce. Globant’s clients include American Express, JP Morgan Chase & Co., LinkedIn, Electronic Arts, Google, Coca-Cola, National Geographic, Zynga and Sabre Holdings, as well as a number of WPP companies, such as JWT, Young & Rubicam, Grey, GroupM and Kantar.

“Our core competencies in gamification, cloud computing, big data, social networks and mobile enable us to deliver innovation to our customers and add value to their efforts to reach end users through software products. We are focused on staying ahead of the technology curve, which makes us the right partner for companies looking to build and engage consumers in a global way,” said Globant´s CEO and co-founder Martin Migoya. “We are extremely proud to welcome WPP into our family; their support will help us to achieve our goal of becoming one of the most innovative software development companies in the world.”

This investment continues WPP’s strategy of targeting fast-growing markets and sectors and the application of technology to the communications services industry. In 2012 WPP completed 25 transactions with companies that are in either faster growing markets (e.g. BRICs, Next 11, CIVETS, MIST) or faster growing sectors such as digital, data or application of technology, or both. WPP’s digital revenues (including associates) are budgeted to total well over US$6 billion in 2013, representing over 33% of the Group’s total revenues, which in 2011 totalled US $16 billion. WPP has set a target of 35%-40% of revenues to be derived from digital over the next five years.

In addition, this transaction also continues WPP’s strategy of investing in fast growing geographic markets, which also currently represent one-third of revenues, with a similar objective to reach 35-40% over the next five years and reflects its commitment to developing its strategic networks throughout Latin America. WPP regards this decade as very much the decade of Latin America, particularly with the FIFA World Cup taking place in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympics in Rio in 2016. The Group collectively, including associates, will have revenues of over US $1.6 billion and will employ over 18,000 people in the LATAM region alone.

Endeavor January 2013 newsletter

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Endeavor Entrepreneur company Enox On>life Media and Google offer free Wi-Fi internet connection in 150 Brazilian bars for 90 days

Reprinted from The Next Web. Original article here.

By Anna Heim

Google has partnered with Brazilian advertising firm Enox On>life Media to bring free wi-fi to 150 Brazilian bars, the company announced today. Enox specializes in connecting brands with consumers in real-life locations, from fitness centers to beauty salons and restaurants.

The operation is timed for Brazilian summer, and will last 90 days. Locations are distributed in seven cities of the Southern and Southeastern regions of Brazil: São Paulo (SP), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Curitiba (PR), Porto Alegre (RS), Florianópolis (SC), Belo Horizonte (MG) and Campinas (SP). The list of venues is available at brasilfreewifi.withgoogle.com.

The operation is also a way for Google to acknowledge the growth of Brazil’s mobile market and its recent changes, Google Brazil’s marketing manager Maia Mau explains:

“We know that Brazilians are using their phones and tablets each time more. Just to have an idea, the number of people with smartphones in Brazil is greater than in Germany, France and Australia, and most of them use their devices every day, to read news, watch video clips and connect with their friends. By means of this project, we’re sure that the Brazilians will be able to enjoy better their friends when they are at the pub, besides creating and registering memories of their moments.”

It will now be interesting to see whether Google will expand this campaign to other venues, such as airports, and possibly make it more perennial.

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