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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Mexico’s Kubo.Financiero, A Microfinance Platform, Receives $1.7 Million Investment

Mexico’s kubo.financiero recently raised nearly $1.7 million in an investment round led by venture firms Alta Ventures Mexico and  Capital Emprendedor, bringing the company’s total funding to $3.7 million. With this investment, kubo.financiero hopes to continue disrupting the […]

September 25th, 2014 — by admin

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Video interview: Endeavor Entrepreneur Bedriye Hulya of b-fit in Turkey

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Nina Curley

This week’s entrepreneur of the week is Bedriye Hülya, an Endeavor Turkey entrepreneur who built b-fit, a chain of gyms for women in Turkey, that are also staffed and run by women.

In a call from Istanbul to New York at the time, Hulya chats with us about staffing the gyms with all women, her challenges creating a gym franchise, scaling up in Turkey, her aspirations to enter the Arab World, and the advice that she typically gives entrepreneurs and women.

“We have to believe that we can do anything that we want to. As long as we decide that it’s our right to start businesses, I am sure every woman will be successful,” she says.

Building a culture of creativity: what companies can learn from Ferrari, art, and jazz

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Oubai Elkerdi

Dynamic teams made of passionate, curious, and talented self-starters produce exceptional outcomes.

But building a highly dynamic team is easier said than done. It’s crucial to nurture individual curiosity, develop skills, and create opportunities for personal growth, while designing a workspace that fosters collective ideation, experimentation and improvisation.

Few employers are currently willing to really invest in creating thoughtful institution for growth, but smart companies understand that a focus on team culture is essential to sustainability and success. This is why, a few years ago, Ferrari launched a program that is entirely geared toward employee training and development.

In an HBR article, director of human resources and organization Mario Almondo was asked how Ferrari trains its employees to be creative, to which he responded:

“You can’t methodically teach creativity. But you can provide an environment that nurtures it. Several times a year, we run a program called Creativity Club that is designed to get employees’ creative juices flowing. We have six events at which employees meet various types of artists. We’ve had painters, sculptors, a jazz musician, a writer, a radio DJ, a photographer, a chef, an actor, an orchestra conductor, and others. The goal is for our employees to learn about how artists generate ideas and solutions.”

Ferrari isn’t the only company that cares about the personal growth of its employees. At Pixar University, 110 courses on everything from improv to self defense are taught to all employees. The point of this in-house education “is to push Pixar employees to try new things, work together better and test new ideas.”

In his book Innovate the Pixar Way, dean of Pixar University Randy Nelson says “the skills we develop are skills we need everywhere in the organization. Why teach drawing to accountants? Because drawing class doesn’t just teach people to draw. It teaches them to be more observant. There’s no company on earth that wouldn’t benefit from having people become more observant.”

At IDEO, employees are introduced to new ideas on a weekly basis. Tom Kelley writes, “nearly every Thursday evening, a world-class thinker shows up to share their thoughts with us.” This “Know How” speaker series is not only educational; it also stirs all kinds of fresh conversations and insights.

Environments that stimulate and engage problem-solvers in provocative learning experiences are more likely to give birth to innovative solutions.

Jazz as a first step

But how do we create environments that promote vibrant interplay? Especially when building lean startups?

It turns out there is much to learn from jazz, especially when it comes to mastering the art of improvisation.

A jazz improviser assumes that a melody can be molded out of a chaotic rhythm, so he pays close attention to his surroundings and waits for an opportunity to embellish, to “link the familiar with new utterances, and adjust to unanticipated musical cues that reframe previous material.”

Jazz musicians also take advantage of errors. Which is also how the pacemaker was created, recalls Barrett: “A simple mistake – pulling the wrong resistor out of a bag – and a willingness to stick with it long enough to connect the pulse of the oscillator to [an] overheard conversation about irregular heartbeats… led to an invention that has done untold good.”

Errors are the stuff of new discoveries because they disrupt our expectations and throw us into new territories where we have to look for original approaches and ways to combine previous knowledge with the tools at hand.

This is why innovators like Brian Eno like to disorient the members of a band – while they’re rehearsing in the studio – by having them switch instruments. This may result in less refined music, but “it enlarges the envelope of possibility within which they navigate,” says Eno in a conversation with Stephen Johnson.

Lastly, it is important to allow employees to design their own workspaces within a flexible, relaxed structure. Cross-disciplinary dialogue requires vigilance and followership. It also requires minimal, obtrusive, intervention.

What a manager should do is play the role of the anthropologist; keep her distance and make sure she is observing her team in its most natural state. Or just pick up and instrument and join the groove! Join – as in follow, not lead.

Companies and organizations that are excellent at delivering innovative products and services also happen to be platforms of experimentation and learning, and they often empower employees to become proactive agents of change beyond the walls of their organization.

So go ahead, spread those ideas and give them a try!

Video interview: Endeavor Entrepreneurs Hind And Nadia Wassef of Diwan Bookstore

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Maya Rahal

The Entrepreneurs of the Week today are Nadia and Hind Wassef, co-founders of Diwan Bookstore in Egypt, and Endeavor Egypt entrepreneurs. Launched in 2002, Diwan Bookstore aims to to encourage a culture of reading and research. Today, the company is at a crossroads says Hind Wassef- “is the future of bookstores focused on e-books?”

The two Wassef sisters managed to launch 10 branches of Diwan accross Egypt, 10 years after the first one. The main reason behind Diwan’s success is its consumer-driven approach, says Nadia Wassef. “We listen to our customers and provide them with the services they really need, whether it is in the kind of books or music.”

“Hardwork and innovation are key elements today’s entrepreneurs must not ignore at all. We do not need more imitation on the market, but new and unique products,” Hind advices young Egyptian entrepreneurs.

16 awesome feature films that showcase entrepreneurship

Reprinted from Under 30 CEO. Original article here.

Q. Name one awesome feature film that showcases entrepreneurship. Even if it’s not completely accurate to the hardships of the startup journey, what about that movie is a true takeaway?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

A. Forrest Gump

Although it is historical fiction, Forrest Gump is one of my favorite inspirational movies that has entrepreneurial ties. My takeaway is that everyone has challenges that they have to overcome in life, but how you respond to them is what separates the people who succeed from those who don’t. Also, it is important to persevere and take advantage of unique opportunities presented to you.

Lawrence Watkins, Great Black Speakers

A. Twister

I always watch Twister with a sense of awe. Yes, it’s fiction, but the idea that you believe so much in a solution to risk life and limb to get it out there is inspiring. Throughout the film, they continually test and adapt the solution until it fina lly works. I may not be putting my solution in front of a tornado, but it’s that level of dedication I’m striving towards.

Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

A. Coco Before Chanel

This movie talks about Coco Chanel and her journey to starting her company. The true takeaway is that you never know what’s going to work in your business, and that sometimes starting with hats will lead to perfume or vice versa. Being uncompromising about your tastes will also lead to having a strong brand.

Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

A. Zoolander

Zoolander contains the best entrepreneurship wisdom I know: “What is this? A center for ants?…The building has to be at least… three times bigger than this!” It’s a great lesson in remembering your dreams should be at least three times bigger than what you originally thought — and that they’ll be at least three times as much work!

Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

A. Dave

Dave is a classic Kevin Kline movie where he stands in as the President. As the chief, he needs to lead a massive organization: he has to find his own leadership style, rally a team and make compromises on his vision. The most relevant takeaway: he’s successful specifically because he has an outside opinion. Startup success relies on being open-minded and re-examining the way things are done.

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

A. Boiler Room

No, I’m not encouraging or condoning anyone who commits fraud, violates SEC regulations, or acts like a sociopath. However, that does not mean there aren’t some great things for entrepreneurs in the movie. One positive takeaway from Boiler Room is Seth’s relentless hustle and scrappiness. He just crushes through problems (both good and bad) and get’s stuff done!

Seth Kravitz, Technori

A. Don Quixote

From the greatest book ever written, there are lots of movie adaptations, but the 1972 version with Sophia Loren is best. What better representation of an entrepreneur than an idealist who sets out to revive some important value in the world while the world thinks he’s crazy? Through a series of entrepreneurial “adventures.” he comes to greater realizations about life, love, meaning and value.

Luke Burgis, ActivPrayer

A. Startup.com

A film I particularly enjoyed is called Startup.com, which chronicles the short history of the failed website govWorks.com. This site was created to provide citizens an easy way to pay traffic tickets to municipal governments, among other things. The film teaches you that you can’t launch a business based solely on an idea; you must do thorough research it to see if it’s viable and can last.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

A. The Shawshank Redemption

Andy Dufrense is an entrepreneur, even if it’s not obvious: he grows a small tax preparation business inside prison walls into a library and education system into a full-fledged successful prison break. The scene that sticks with me is when Dufrense finds out that his letter writing campaign has paid off — he responds that he’s going to write even more letters, just like a good founder would.

Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

A. Catch Me If You Can

Okay, so what the main character does throughout the movie isn’t exactly legal, but the entrepreneurial spirit in this movie is still very present. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the kind of man that can think up a new idea on the spot and execute it with complete confidence — a quality many entrepreneurs use every day.

Caitlin McCabe, Real Bullets Branding

A. Cast Away

Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, in the movie Cast Away may have been a FedEx employee, but he’s got the heart and hustle of an entrepreneur. He didn’t have money to throw at problems while stranded on the island and had to rely on coming up with cre ative solutions to survive. I also appreciate that he was customer-centric to his core — saving a package to deliver after he made it home.

Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

A. The Pursuit of Happyness

My favorite is The Pursuit of Happyness, which brings the viewer through the real-life struggles of someone who made it big. It’s truly inspiring, and it helps you see that others have overcome difficult times that were probably even worse than your own. It’s hard to make excuses for yourself after seeing that.

Peter Nguyen, Advertiser360

A. The Social Network

This list isn’t complete without The Social Network. The true takeaway of the movie is not to build things to make money, but to build things that people want. The money will come eventually.

Josh Weiss, Bluegala

A. Flash of Genius

In this David vs. Goliath story based on true events, entrepreneur/inventor Robert Kearns spends years in courtrooms fighting the giants of the auto industry when they steal his technology for intermittent windshield wipers. It shows closely the unfair power imbalance that exists between the big companies and small entrepreneurs who sell to them. There is much to be learned from Kearns’ story.

Emerson Spartz, Spartz Media

A. Baby Boom

Your great idea will strike in the midst of a challenge. Classic Diane Keaton, career-driven new mom in the ’80s, quits her demanding job to focus on a baby. While in the midst of her breakdown, she discovers an underserved market with a huge demand in natural baby food. The lesson to take away is that opportunities are everywhere — if you’re paying attention!

Jennifer Donogh, Young Female Entrepreneurs

A. Glengarry Glen Ross

“You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate,” is one of the best movie quotes for entrepreneurs. It does take “brass balls” to handle critics, setbacks, and customers. Everything is sales, and this movie reminds us that “coffee is for closers” and “ABC” really means “Always be closing.” With confidence and closing, you will have a successful startup.

Nancy T. Nguyen, Sweet T

CNBC: “Why High-Impact Entrepreneurship Matters,” by Linda Rottenberg

Reprinted from CNBC.com. Original article here.

By Linda Rottenberg
Co-founder and CEO, Endeavor

Recently, Bono admitted to some “humbling” realizations about foreign aid—claiming that when it comes to fostering sustainable economic growth, “job creators and innovators are … the key, and aid is just a bridge.”

Sometimes we need to listen to our rock stars.

It’s no secret: the world needs jobs. The UN estimates that worldwide, more than 500 million new jobs need to be created by 2020. Especially when it comes to emerging markets, there is a growing realization that entrepreneurship is the best answer to high unemployment. But not just any type of entrepreneurship: high-impact entrepreneurship.

High-impact entrepreneurs are visionaries who generate the highest returns, create the most high-value jobs, have the most significant impact on their communities, and inspire the most people to follow their lead — saying “if she or he can do it, I can do it too.”

For 15 years, my organization, Endeavor, has been finding, training, and promoting high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Now in 17 countries, we have screened 30,000 entrepreneurs and selected 726 individuals representing 455 companies to be part of our global network.

Aided by 2,500 top-flight business mentors that form Endeavor’s boards and global “VentureCorps,” these entrepreneurs have created 200,000 jobs and annually generate over $5 billion in revenue. These results affirm data released by our research arm, Endeavor Insight, that just 4 percent of the world’s entrepreneurs create 40 percent of its jobs.

As another illustration, consider this question: what would it take to grow a country’s GDP by 1 percent? In Mexico, for instance, it would take 273,000 new microfinance companies to achieve this result — but only 105 mid-sized “high-impact” companies.

Bottom line: if you want to grow an economy, you need to grow high-impact entrepreneurs.

So what’s the best way to support these promising future job creators? As Endeavor has found, in emerging and growth markets — whether it’s in Latin America or Africa, in the Middle East or Southeast Asia — entrepreneurs still face considerable barriers to growth: few role models, a lack of trust, a limited pool of quality management, an inability to access smart capital, and insufficient contacts.

For this reason, engaging the private sector in mentoring these promising yet undiscovered innovators is a key aspect to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs don’t just need venture capitalists but “mentor capitalists.” They need access to business leaders who can serve as mentors, advisers, connectors, investors and role models.

In other words, forget the myth of entrepreneurs being self-made. Even icons like Bill Gates or Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make it alone. They thrived in an environment that fostered and promoted their success, and in a network that helped nurture their growth.

Whenever I go to Silicon Valley, people talk about the abundance of venture capital and universities as a key driver of success. But the true magic is the network of people who together form an ecosystem of innovation. An ethos thrives wherein entrepreneurs don’t just focus on their own success, but understand their own success depends on nurturing the next generation.

This multiplier effect is the true special sauce of entrepreneurship. It’s the key to fostering employment and opportunity in growth markets around the world—and increasingly, here at home.

Wamda and Endeavor partner to support entrepreneurs globally

Wamda has been busy supporting entrepreneurs on all fronts this fall. Not only has Wamda Capital announced ten investments this year, but we’ve also launched two Mix n Mentor events in Amman and Beirut, with a third one inDubai tomorrow.

At Wamda Media, we are announcing a partnership with Endeavor Global to bring you content about leading entrepreneurs in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, as well as those outside the Arab World.

Why Endeavor? Endeavor entrepreneurs are some of the most experienced entrepreneurs around the globe- many of them are now at a stage where their companies have traction in local or global markets and are scaling quickly.

We’ll be focusing on bringing you their insights, challenges, and advice in video interviews and Google Hangouts.

Here are some of the ones we’ve already covered:


Stay tuned for more!

Endeavor Insight: Who wins and who loses when it comes to financing?

Endeavor Insight releases an interactive financial dashboard here.

What makes a healthy financing landscape for entrepreneurs? What countries are best suited to support an entrepreneur’s financial needs? These questions have no simple answer, no single metric to point to as the “golden indicator” of sound financial support for entrepreneurs. While Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may be a good gauge of the well being of citizens within a country, per capita GDP or financing as a ratio of GDP, two metrics often cited as litmus tests for the financing landscape of a country, may not accurately or holistically illustrate the true support available to entrepreneurs. One shortcoming is that it does not account for the need for differentiated financing throughout an entrepreneurial venture’s life cycle. Indeed, the best “entrepreneur environment” can differ depending on the particular needs and type of financing required by an entrepreneur at a particular moment in time.

To begin to shed light on this dimension as well as the numerous other layers of financing complexity in emerging markets, the Endeavor Insight team collected ~50  financing metrics across 13 countries. If GDP is normalized across this data for countries of different size and stage of development, and used as the measure of the health of a financing ecosystem, it might be easy to proclaim that just like with individuals, the higher the GDP, the higher the “standard of living” for firms. However, this simplistic view is not bared out in more thorough analysis.

Instead, what seems to really matter is how much of the total financing pool is accessible to each individual firm. Averaging financing per firm is greatest in countries with capital intensive industries, such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Turkey and South Africa. Not surprisingly, many of these markets are cited as a “hot” markets for entrepreneurs. Interestingly, Brazil , often touted as just one of these exciting markets, appears to be under-financed on a per firm basis. This underperformance suggests remaining opportunity to improve and accelerate investment within Brazil.

To learn more about access to financing in emerging markets, visit Endeavor’s Financing Dashboard.

Endeavor November 2012 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s November newsletter, a recap of 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.

Video: Endeavor President Fernando Fabre at TEDxOrangeCoast

5 questions to ask yourself before applying to an accelerator

Reprinted from the Startup Weekend. Original article here.

Guest post by Kira M. Newman

With over 100 startup accelerators active today, going through an accelerator can seem like a rite of passage. It’s what startups do – the logical step between Startup Weekend and a round of funding. But an accelerator is actually a substantial commitment. You give up around 7 percent equity in your startup. You might have to move to a different city. And you’re agreeing to work late hours for a few months straight. As long as you’re doing all this, you might as well pick the best program for you.

Before you take the plunge into an accelerator, here are five questions to ask yourself:

1. What’s their track record?

The best accelerators have mentors with real entrepreneurial experience, connections to VCs who might fund your company, and a large network of startups that can try your product and offer advice.

For example, Y Combinator works with the Start Fund to offer a $150,000 convertible debt note. TechStars graduates are all offered a $100,000 convertible note. And graduates of Chicago’s Excelerate Labs get a $50,000 convertible note from New World Ventures. Meanwhile, Y Combinator boasts an alumni of over 460 startups, TechStars has 126, and 500 Startups has over 90.

For more comparisons, check out Tech Cocktail’s Top 15 USA Startup Accelerators in 2012. This is an independently researched ranking that compares accelerators based on their startups’ funding and exits, their reputation with VCs, their alumni network, and their terms (equity taken and funding provided).

2. How much hands-on mentorship do you want?

Some accelerator programs have lots of scheduled programs, mentor sessions, and group activities, and others are more open. In Tech Cocktail’s survey of over 75 startups, TechStars was rated highly hands-on (9.5 on a scale of 10), while 500 Startups and Y Combinator were rated less hands-on, respectively. For example, Robert Leshner of Safe Shepherd enjoyed the more autonomous experience at 500 Startups. “They have sessions a couple times a week where they bring in an expert to speak to you, but at the end of the day they’re not telling you what or how you should be building your business. They leave that decision to the entrepreneur,” he says. Accelerators that offer office space tend to be more hands-on, as do accelerators with smaller batches of startups. TechStars caps at 12 startups per batch and typically has a 10-to-1 mentor-to-startup ratio. On the other extreme, Y Combinator can host over 60 startups at a time.

3. Can you handle the heat?

Going through an accelerator in Silicon Valley will introduce you to the eye-opening, exciting, fast-paced vibe of the world’s hottest startup community. Entrepreneurs outside the Valley often complain of small startup scenes and fewer, or more conservative, investors. But the excitement of Silicon Valley comes at a price: you’ll be competing with tons of other startups for VC attention, networking opportunities, and customers. And some entrepreneurs enjoy the smaller, tight-knit communities outside the Valley, where they can stand out better, get meetings more easily, and generally be a “big fish in a small pond.” “The myth that you have to be in Silicon Valley to be successful is idiotic,” says David Cohen, the founder and CEO of TechStars.

4. Is your startup special?

Another trend among accelerators is the creation of industry-specific programs:

-Education: Imagine K12 (Palo Alto)
-Energy/clean tech: SURGE Accelerator (Houston), Greenstart (San Francisco)
-Enterprise/B2B: Acceleprise (Washington, DC), Tech Wildcatters (Dallas), TechStars Cloud (San Antonio)
-Financial services: FinTech Innovation Lab (New York City)
-Government/civics: Code for America (San Francisco)
-Health: Blueprint Health (New York City), Healthbox (Chicago and Boston), Rock Health (San Francisco and Cambridge)
-Social Good: Impact Engine (Chicago), Fledge (Seattle)

Some accelerators don’t focus on an industry, but rather a skill: The Brandery<> focuses on branding, and Kicklabs helps later-stage startups – who may have already gone through another accelerator – get contracts with brands, agencies, and partners. Meanwhile, Women Innovate Mobile and Springboard look for startups with female founders, and the NewME Accelerator wants to help minority founders. And Y Combinator even accepts applications from entrepreneurs without ideas

5. Have you considered other options?

If you’re unsure about the full accelerator experience, you have other options. Incubators like 1871 (Chicago), Catapult Chicago, and Surf Incubator (Seattle) can provide office space, a collaborative environment, and some mentorship, but without the funding. If you want funding without giving up equity, competitions like the Chicago Lean Startup Challenge and MassChallenge might be a good fit – just remember that you could walk away with nothing. And if advice or mentorship is your main goal, consider looking into Science Inc., a technology studio run by former MySpace CEO Michael Jones, or the VegasTechFund, a community-oriented investment fund.

These five questions should help ensure that you don’t find yourself exhausted and regretful beneath the bright lights of the demo day stage.

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