High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Minha Vida Acquires TecnoNutri; Creates Dominant Player in Brazil’s Healthy Eating Market

Brazil’s Minha Vida Group, which manages a medical/health care website of the same name and a popular online diet program called Dieta e Saude, took a major step forward in its growth this week with […]

July 6th, 2015 — by admin

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MercadoLibre’s Marcos Galperin Joins Board of Argentina Entrepreneur Company Onapsis

MercadoLibre CEO Marcos Galperin, a board member of Endeavor Argentina and one of Endeavor’s first entrepreneurs, joined the Board of Directors of Onapsis. Founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mariano Nuñez and Victor Montero, Onapsis is a leading business […]

November 18th, 2014 — by admin

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8 core beliefs of extraordinary entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Quicksprout.  See original article here.

By Neil Patel

What does it take to be an extraordinary entrepreneur? You know, an entrepreneur who has a vision for a business, rallies support to build it and then grows it into one of the most innovative companies in the world….what does it take to be an entrepreneur like that?

Well, I may be young but I have been an entrepreneur for over ten years. My first SEO consulting job was in high school where I built and ran a successful agency. And from there I co-founded a few software companies. Luckily for me, I was fortunate to grow up in a family of entrepreneurs, so I’ve heard a lot of great advice about what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

And I’ve also seen that all great entrepreneurs hold closely to a core set of beliefs. So what are those beliefs? Here are eight:

Belief #1: Make a decision and go!

This was one of the first lessons I learned when starting my first businessand it was extremely hard to get used to making a decision and then taking action on that decision.

I was so afraid I was making a mistake. Since then I’ve learned that making a mistake is not a bad thing. You actually learn from those mistakes, which helps you make better decisions down the road.

You will struggle with hiring and firing people, project budgets, office space and advertising creative. When you first start off in business you will take days and even weeks to answer these questions.

This core belief actually came back to me when I lost a million dollar client. They were happy with the service I was providing, but they wanted to know what else I was going to do to take their business to the next level. I had a few ideas, but I didn’t make a decision on which idea I was going to act on. Long story short, I took too long to make a decision and I lost a $1.2 million client.

Financial Times features Endeavor Catalyst

Reprinted from Financial Times. Original article here.

By Vivianne Rodrigues

Donors and non-profit groups focusing on Latin America are increasingly targeting the region’s nascent class of entrepreneurs, harnessing the power of market-based mechanisms to maximise their social impact.

This approach, which brings together private sector companies, government agencies and the non-profit network, is emerging in areas as diverse as agriculture, commerce and information technology.

Washington-based TechnoServe is one of the non-profit groups that has been using charitable funding to provide technical and financial support.

It recently launched a programme, called Impulsa Tu Empresa, or Boost Your Business, aimed at helping enterprises in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and even Burkina Faso.

Supported by the Argidius Foundation, it is targeting businesses with annual sales of between $500,000 and $2m, particularly those that make products with added value, as well as service businesses located primarily in urban areas.

“We seek to help business models that stimulate long-term economic growth. But one of the difficulties is that, when it comes to Latin America, launching a business in Chile is completely different to launching one in Colombia or Guatemala,” says Bruce McNamer, TechnoServe president and CEO.

Mr McNamer says venture-capital models are being adapted in order to facilitate access to funding. Organisations such as TechnoServe, he says, are well positioned to work as a bridge between a wide range of public private-sector partners and local entrepreneurs.

In one example, the group is working with Cargill in Venezuela and Foco Sustentable, an entrepreneur development group, on a business plan competition to help entrepreneurs in the seven regions where Cargill operates. TechnoServe and its local partners work with the potential entrepreneurs to develop effective business plans and Cargill offers them opportunities to participate in its supply chain.

“There’s a legacy in certain groups in the region of distrust towards large corporations and toward the financial markets,” he says.

“But, having a mission-based institution bringing together corporations and other market-based mechanisms in order to service the poor can bring all parties together.”

The concept of impact investing – which assesses the social and environmental impact of investments – is familiar to Endeavor, the New York-based non-profit group which has perfected its own form of “high impact” entrepreneurship through mentoring and development programmes in emerging markets for more than 15 years.

But the group’s own funding models have also evolved.

Earlier this year, it launched Endeavor Catalyst, a passive co-investment vehicle, that has raised $10m in donations and invested $6m in six initiatives in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Turkey.

Catalyst considers ventures on the same terms as lead investors would, but it does not take a board seat and it abstains from shareholders’ votes.

When a liquidity event, such as an initial public offering, generates cash returns, 20 per cent is allocated to Endeavor’s growth and sustainability.

The remaining portion replenishes Catalyst, which in turn reinvests in more entrepreneurs.

“Catalyst is an instrument to help us turbocharge our resources,” says Baily Kempner, director of sustainability initiatives at Endeavor Global.

“On one side, it is a vote of confidence in the entrepreneurs, as this passive investment helps them build momentum, while at the same time our other mentoring programmes are helping their companies thrive.

“The donors can see that each dollar goes directly to the entrepreneur and, in time, their money will get back to them in compounded form.”

The system may also be attractive to other non-profit groups, Ms Kempner says, as it may help diminish their dependence on external funding sources, such as donations.

“Many non-profit organisations live hand to mouth based on donations, and that’s a rough way to live,” she says. “If more of them could achieve self-sustainability and raise capital within the very same demographic they are supporting, that would be very exciting.”

The approach is spreading. In Brazil, a survey conducted last year by the Avina Foundation, the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and Potencia Ventures, with 140 social enterprises, found that more than 60 per cent of them already operated as conventional businesses and did not rely on donations.

Anamaria Schindler in the leadership team for Latin America at Ashoka, says: “We may be on the verge of a change in paradigm, moving further away from a cultural legacy in Latin America that has viewed social welfare and development chiefly as the responsibility of relief organisations rather than private individuals”.

Infographic: What are your chances of angel investment?

Reprinted from Angel Investment Network.  See original article here.

Effective culture is simply clarity amplified

Reprinted from Escape from Cubicle Nation.  See original article here.

Photo credit: Robert Fogarty

Today I am thrilled to share a guest post from my dear friend and mentor John Jantsch, founder of Duct Tape Marketing. John is a marketing consultant, speaker and author.  John has been instrumental in shaping my small business education, but more importantly, he has modeled the type of clarity, integrity and leadership that I strive for in my own life.

The ideas in this post are drawn from his most recent work – The Commitment Engine – Making Work Worth It.  Find out more about it here: www.makingworkworthit.com


RedInnova: Conference on Innovation, Internet, and Entrepreneurship (NYC: Nov 8-9)

Endeavor is supporting RedInnova – the leading tech conference connecting the Latin American and global startup communities – for its first US-based event in New York City on November 8 and 9. Building on the success of its market-leading events in Sao Paulo, Madrid and Punta del Este, RedInnova is bringing the most promising Latin American startups and entrepreneurs to New York City for this conference. Digital leaders, local entrepreneurs, successful directors and renowned investors will provide the necessary information and tools to understand the local market and help you expand your business.

The event is a must for anyone seeking to join RedInnova’s growing community of Internet entrepreneurs, mentors and investors focusing on the global opportunities emerging in Latin America.

Register for RedInnova New York City here. For further information please contact participa@RedInnova.com.

Forecasting revenues key to successful launch

Reprinted from The Entrepreneurial Mind.  See original article here.

By Dr. Jeff Cornwall, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University

The late, legendary Silicon Valley attorney Craig Johnson used to say, “The leading cause of failure of start-ups is death, and death happens when you run out of money.”

And the leading cause of running out of money in a start-up is poor financial forecasting.

At the core of unrealistic forecasts is the undying optimism of most entrepreneurs.  Their “what could possibly go wrong?” attitude leads to many forecasting disasters.  My father used to say that when he looked at investing in an entrepreneurial venture he would always double the start-up costs and triple the time it takes to get to breakeven.

My rule of thumb is a bit different.  I believe that being overly optimistic leads to entrepreneurs making fatal mistakes in estimating revenues, which is at the heart of most forecasting errors.  So, my approach when reviewing a business is plan is to cut revenue forecasts in half.

Here are the four most common revenue foresting mistakes I see:

1) Assuming an “instant on” button for a new business.  Most business plans I read show significant revenues from the beginning of the business, sometimes even for the very first month that they open their doors.  The reality is that it takes time to build a customer base for any business.  That is why an entrepreneur should have at least six months personal living expenses available to make it through the startup in addition to the money the new business needs.

2) The magic of the hockey stick.  A common pattern in business plans is to show a relatively slow initial start to revenues, and then assume some that unexplained breakthrough will occur that leads to a sudden and dramatic increase in sales.  When you graph this type of revenue forecast it looks just like a hockey stick.  The reality is that such sudden growth is just not that common and usually results from specific actions.

3) Assuming enough sales to make the business model look successful.  In this mistake entrepreneurs forecast their expenses and then they plug in enough revenues to make the business become profitable.  When I press these entrepreneurs, their explanation of revenues is “well, these are the revenues I need to make the business work.”  The truth is that the market will not give you the sales you need, it will only give you the sales you earn through a well-executed business model.

4) The marketing plan tells a different story than revenue forecasts.  The marketing plan should specifically explain what you are going to do to achieve the revenues you forecast.  Why will customers want what you are selling?  Who are these customers?  How are you going to communicate to them about your business?  The marketing plan should explain in words the numbers shown in the revenue forecast.  Most plans just do not make this connection.

To avoid running out of cash before your business model has time to work requires an accurate assessment of how much money you will really need to get the business off the ground. While knowing your costs is important, accurately forecasting your revenues is critical.

It is so sad to see a business model that has real potential fail simply because the entrepreneur was unrealistic about how much money it would take to get to the point of success.

“Focus on growth to get out of the crisis”: a feature on Endeavor Greece

Reprinted from Pappas Post. Original article here.

Haris Makryniotis is a budding entrepreneur’s dream come true in Greece. After spending the past seven years at McKinsey & Company in Athens where he advised senior management of the world’s leading organizations on issues of strategy, organization and operations, Makryniotis is now helping small Greek businesses get their big break.

Not only is he coaching them on ways to weather the current economic crisis, he’s helping them to flourish and grow into companies that can create hundreds (if not thousands) of jobs and generate significant revenue.

A London-trained economist who has also worked in France and the United Kingdom, Makryniotis is the new managing director of Endeavor Greece – the newest affiliate of the worldwide non-profit that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Endeavor is the only non-profit of its kind. Its “mentor capitalist” model breaks down economic and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship through strategic advising from a network of world-class business leaders.

Makryniotis is determined to help budding entrepreneurs jumpstart private sector development in Greece.

In a recent interview with CNBC, he said it is now the time for a “total reboot of the economy”.

“It was time to focus on growth to get out of the crisis,” he said. “Now is the time for entrepreneurs to flourish and the time for creativity. We need to create new business models and jobs and have a bottom-up approach rather than top-down theoretical approach.”

The Greek division of the global non-profit organization is the newest group aimed at helping new companies create economic growth, jobs and affluence that will boost local communities.

Already operating in locations such as Latin America, Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, Endeavor says it has helped entrepreneurs create 200,000 jobs and generate over $5 billion in revenues worldwide.

According to Makryniotis, debt-stricken Greece has just as many investment opportunities as any other emerging market.

“Greece meets a number of criteria for successful entrepreneurship – there is a crisis and there is an opportunity,” he said.

More than a quarter of Greeks in the labor force are currently unemployed. Greece is struggling in its fifth year of a deep recession. But that’s not enough to scare away entrepreneurs who are putting their money and faith in Greece’s recovery.

Makryniotis has a lot of work ahead of him. According to Michael Chandris, who chairs Endeavor’s Greek division, Greece’s economic crisis has unleashed a new wave of entrepreneurship. “Thousands of young people are no longer content with accepting a civil service job but are keen to develop their entrepreneurial ideas,” he said in a September 12 press release announcing the new Greek branch of this ambitious non-profit. “Endeavor can become a catalyst to this process and thus have a substantial impact on a society in transition.”

Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg said: “I have always believed that some of the best entrepreneurs emerge in times of chaos. Greece is an extremely resource- and culture-rich country. There are huge opportunities for entrepreneurs, both in traditional industries like food and agriculture and in emerging sectors like biotech. We look forward to working with Greece’s High-Impact Entrepreneurs.”

Top 20 most-watched TED talks of all time

Reprinted from wamda.  See original article here.

By Glen Dalakian

Today we highlight the most popular TED Talks to date, announced by TED in late August.

Whether you think watching TED Talks during the workday is a distraction or an education, how can you not be captivated and mesmerized by such notable talks as Sir Ken Robinson’s dryly humorous discussion about why today’s schools kill creativity? Or brain expert Jill Bolte Taylor’s vivid recollection of experiencing a stroke, conscious and in a state of euphoria as she experienced her own brain shutting down?

As TechCrunch mentioned, notables such as Steve Jobs, Stephen Hawking, and Tony Robbins delve into diverse topics from accepting death and using it as motivation, to why humans do what we do, to exploring questions of the expansive universe. Among other bold and taboo topics, these Top 20 TED Talks blow the lid off our personal limits and urge creativity, limitless potential, and collaborative growth. TED has compiled the most-watched TED Talks since their availability online 6 years ago, including on TED.com, YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and more.

Check out the list below and let us know which one has the most impact in your life. You’re allowed to say all of them.

  1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 13,409,417 views
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 10,409,851
  3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 9,223,263
  4. David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 7,879,541
  5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 7,467,580
  6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 6,879,488
  7. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 6,050,294
  8. Steve Jobs on how to live before you die (2005): 5,444,022
  9. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 4,966,643
  10. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (2010): 4,763,038
  11. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 4,706,241
  12. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 4,658,425
  13. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius (2009): 4,538,037
  14. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 4,269,082
  15. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 4,153,105
  16. Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,891,251
  17. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,869,417
  18. Keith Barry does brain magic (2004): 3,847,893
  19. Mary Roach 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 3,810,630
  20. Vijay Kumar demos robots that fly like birds (2012): 3,535,340

To check out the 2011 list, click here.

Endeavor collaborates with Stanford to help high-impact entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Stanford Graduate School of Business news. Original article here.

By Marguerite Rigoglioso and Kathleen O’Toole

A collaboration with Endeavor Global helps high-impact entrepreneurs build their skills.
When the nonprofit organization Endeavor Global says they mentor “high-impact” entrepreneurs around the world, they’re not kidding.

Take Yossi Hasson, the charismatic founder of one of South Africa’s leaders in hosted email and internet security services. Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug since he was a child, after a string of clever startups he cofounded SYNAQ in 2004, which delivers enterprise-level applications based on open source software at a significant savings in comparison to Microsoft competitors. The company has earned the #6 spot on the South Africa FastGrowth 100 Index.

Like the other 61 Endeavor-sponsored entrepreneurs attending the first educational program offered by the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED) in August, Hasson is a successful business owner. But there’s always room for improvement. “I wanted more of a foundation in how to scale a global business, and tools to minimize mistakes,” said the Israeli-born South African, explaining what brought him many miles from his home to the California coastline.

The weeklong program, held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, drew on the school’s world-class business faculty and networks to help Endeavor entrepreneurs like Hasson build growth companies in a competitive global marketplace. Silicon Valley alumni with expertise in operations also returned to Stanford to coach working groups during the program.

Flipping through a binder chock full of scribbled notes, Hasson neatly itemizes the top three themes that made the biggest impression on him at the Stanford program: how to make decisions and lead more effectively, how to benchmark as a means of creating more effective marketing, and how to understand the context of local markets in order to branch out globally more effectively. “I have at least nine new approaches to marketing that we’ll be trying,” he says enthusiastically.

At the far north of the African continent, Egyptian entrepreneur Amr Shady has also been an early starter, cofounding the company for which he now serves as CEO, T.A. Telecom, at age 23. The enterprise is one of the most profitable, fastest-growing companies in the Middle East and Africa. Managing operations in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Kenya, Shady is a firmly established leader with more than 12 years of executive experience in the telecommunications industry.

“After having spent a week at Stanford, I have a whole new appreciation for the kind of sales strategy we will need,” says Shady. “I’ve already sent the case studies and materials to my people in operations and sales so that we can start developing a new plan.”

Gigliola Aycardi Batista, one of the few women attending the program, co-wrote the business plan for an innovative health club enterprise back in 1997. It was an ingenious no-brainer: integrate medicine, health, and fitness for clients on-site. Today, her company, BodyTech, is lifting up the health club standard across Latin America. The organization’s 30 gyms in Colombia employ 1,300 people, and the company is expanding throughout Latin America.

Batista says she was attracted to the program because she knew it would expose her to strategic business issues “in a very concentrated and efficient way. One of the critical things I’ve learned is that the way we’re approaching our entry into different countries needs to be modified. We’re having more than just ‘human resources’ issues — we may need to fundamentally change how we operate to be more respectful of cultural differences.”

Mauricio Hoyos of Colombia is cofounder and CEO of a financial services company, Conexred, which allows 8 million customers, mostly Colombians, to electronically pay bills for such things as electricity and telephone services, through 47,000 outlets, mostly mom-and-pop stores.

“Our challenge is going from one type of product to a portfolio without losing control of the money,” he says. For example, the company now has a contract with the government to deliver monthly stipends to the elderly.

But, like other entrepreneurs in the Stanford program, Hoyos says, he understands the financial aspects of growing his business better than the organizational behavior side. “Most of the teachers here are psychological teachers, and we need help with that. They say, ‘Look, you go through a phase of excitement and then you go through a phase when you are stressed, and humans behave better if you do this, and don’t do that.'”

Also based in Latin America, Jaime Cater, another serial entrepreneur, has opened more than 30 different companies throughout his lifetime thus far. He was eager for the Stanford teachings to help him with his goal to make his current venture, Health Digital Systems, to be the one that leaves its mark on the Mexican people. The company provides hospitals, clinics and state insurance providers with open-source software to digitize and share records, providing a much-needed technological upgrade for the country’s citizens. Since 2009, revenues have jumped more than 1,200%.

“It’s a great opportunity to step back and take a look at my business from different perspectives,” Cater says about the Stanford program. “I’m bringing home 30 pages of notes and a completely different vision of how to deal with staff and the core talent in my organization. I’m realizing now that it can’t just be about ‘my way.'”

Why it only takes one billion dollar company to build an ecosystem

Reprinted from wamda.  See original article here.

By Abdullah Alshalabi

Fred Wilson (the most famous VC in the world) wrote last May about the Darwinian Evolution of Startup Hubs:

If you study Silicon Valley, what you see is something that looks like a forest where trees grow tall, produce seeds that drop and start new trees, and eventually the older trees mature and stop growing or worse, die of disease and rot, but the new trees grow up even taller and stronger.

In my mental model of Silicon Valley, the first “tree” was Fairchild Semiconductor (founded in 1957) which begat Intel (founded 1968) which begat Apple (1976) and Oracle (1977), which begat Sun… thenTwitter (2006) and Zynga (2007), which begat Square (2010), Dropbox (2008), and many more.

The theory states that to start a startup ecosystem in a city or a country you’ll only need 1 big successful startup. This successful startup will create a lot of wealth for co-founders, early employees and early investors. It will also produce highly skilled people that will eventually quit their jobs and start their own startups and raise money from the same investors of the previous successful startup. Furthermore, this $1 billion company will give hope to everyone. Smart people will quit their jobs and start their own startups. Moreover, it will make it much easier for entrepreneurs to raise money and recruit the smartest talents. That’s what happened in Silicon Valley, in Jordan with Maktoob(acquired by Yahoo) and will hopefully proceed in Dubai with Gonabit (acquired by LivingSocial).

So to get the wheel moving in any given ecosystem, we just need one single successful startup. Do you understand what does that means? That means that the whole country should all work together to create this next $1 billion dollar company. The government, the parliament, investors, entrepreneurs and universities should stop whatever they are doing and refocus in this single goal. Chile gets this right, they created Startup Chile to establish a Startup Ecosystem with this statement “To create a $1 billion company, and globalize the Chilean entrepreneurship culture.” They didn’t say “several $1 billion companies,” because they know it only takes one single company to make the magic happen. I previously wrote some analysis about the Chilean experience that you can find here.

There is an overlap between creating a Startup Ecosystem and a billion dollar company. They both require; investors, skilled labor, softer government policies and experienced mentors.  But, answering the question of “How to create the next billon dollar company?” is much easier than “How to establish a Startup Ecosystem?” We might have 4 or 5 examples of successful ecosystems, yet we have hundreds of successful startups created during the last 10 years.

A short answer to the question “How to create $1b company?” is to invest more in crazy and risky ideas with solid teams. Most billion dollar companies created during the last 10 years started as crazy ideas with a decent team. To name a few: Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Dropbox, Instagram, Kickstarter, eBay, Paypal, etc. I’m not saying that we should not establish a startup ecosystem; I’m just saying that focusing in creating the next billion dollar company will help us reallocate our resources to get their faster.

Governments are struggling to create a startup ecosystem. They want to push the youth to start their own businesses to create more jobs and sustain the economy. They create funds that supports small businesses with billions of dollars in capital. However, when you go and ask for funding, they will tell you that your idea is crazy and it will never work.

Moreover, when you read their requirements you’ll find something like: a business plan, a 5 year financial projection and other nonsense requirements. How can I know my revenue for the next five years if I don’t know how much I’m going to make next week?! I understand that governments want to make safe bets because they are not allowed to take on too much risk. But, that’s exactly the opposite of what we need right now- we need to make more riskier bets.

In short, I believe that each country and government should focus its resources on building the next billion dollar company. The process reaching this goal will involve building a solid startup ecosystem and a successful company that will lead the way and inspire all future entrepreneurs.

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