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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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Colombia’s Bodytech Plans Expansion in Latin America, Profiled in El Espectador

Colombia-based Bodytech, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Nicolas Loaiza Galeano and Gigliola Aycardi Batista, recently announced plans for expansion in five Latin American countries as the business prepares to become a publicly listed company. Bodytech’s steady success led to […]

March 25th, 2014 — by admin

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4 ways to bring fresh insight to your business

Reprinted from wamda.com. See the original article here

by Oubai Elkerdi

Did you know that marketing directors at Google use physics to explain the fundamental theories of branding? That astronomers use software developed by doctors for brain imagery to study the explosion of supernovas? And who would have guessed that the design of one of the fastest trains in the world had been inspired by nature?

In the late 1980’s, Japanese engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu studied the splashless water entry of kingfishers and the noise-reduction property of owl wings, and applied this knowledge in the design of the Shinkansen train. The new biomimetic design was not only 10% faster than previous models, it also consumed 15% less electricity and produced much less noise (residents near the tracks were delighted!).

One of the most prominent characteristics of innovators is a discovery-driven spirit that is constantly scrutinizing the world for new ideas. Many people think breakthrough innovations are the result of isolated, sophisticated thinking and research, but this is rarely the case.

History’s leading innovators and creative minds have always researched outside of the lab. When design firm IDEO was asked to renovate the computer science building at the University of California, what the faculty staff had in mind were high-tech classrooms and laboratories, futuristic fanciness and whatnot.

“When we looked at the way learning was happening we found that a good deal of it took place in the hallways, in between spaces, not in the classrooms at all” explains IDEO creative director Jane Fulton-Suri. This observation led to an entirely different model of the new buildings. Rather than focusing solely on classrooms and laboratories, more emphasis was put on circulation spaces to further encourage impromptu gatherings and collaborative learning.

This human-centered approach dates back to the rule of Umar ibn al-Khatab when he noticed that people engaged in a lot of chit-chat and arguments in the mosque. Instead of suppressing the chatter altogether, he provided people with an alternative by designating a space for discussion – just outside the mosque – known as al butayha’.

Innovation also happens when seemingly unrelated ideas and concepts are juxtaposed. When Digital Domain started working on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, they realized there was “a giant chasm” between the technology of the day and where they needed it to be to achieve high-resolution computer-generated facial expressions. So the producers started looking in other fields and combined findings from medical imaging technology, the games industry, and psychology.

This peripheral vision was crucial to the success of Digital Domain. Had they not observed and borrowed ideas from neighbouring disciplines, they may never have been able to produce such high quality production and transcend the limits of technology.

Sustainable and elegant solutions are more likely to emerge when problem-solvers leave their ivory towers and watch people in their natural habitats, collaborate across disciplines or simply examine nature. “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

Here are few tips that you can apply to turn observation into a natural practice in your organization:

    Train your eye to pick up solutions for the problems you’re trying to solve. To master this skill you must really cultivate your mind and inform yourself. One of Fadi Ghandour’s rules for being an entrepreneur is “Listen. An entrepreneur has to have the ability to listen more than he talks. Across industries as well.” Make sure you thoroughly examine other disciplines and industries, get ideas from insightful platforms (TEDStumbleUpon, etc.), and talk to all kinds of experts. Take regular walks in urban and natural environments, and read a lot – it’ll expand your horizons.

    Hire “anthropologists”. If you want fresh and insightful observations, you have to dedicate a few members of your team to camp out in schools, hospitals, malls, and bookstores, and watch how people behave in different environments and with various objects. Look for the subtleties and pay attention to details. How can you make their experience more pleasant? Anthropologists help your organization “develop a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with products, services, and spaces,” to quote Tom Kelly of IDEO.

    Hire cross-pollinators. While anthropologists bring depth of understanding, cross-pollinators enjoy a breadth of knowledge in many fields. Cross-pollinators help tackle issues from different perspectives and specialize in finding solutions in other industries. Let cross-pollinators in your organization give weekly one-hour presentations of “what’s out there.” This will help your team switch cognitive gears and approach problems from a new angle. Cross-pollinators open windows to the world outside the four walls of your organization. Stephen Johnson’s motto is: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    Document everything. Keep a database of all your personal and collective discoveries, and visit your entries every once in a while. It doesn’t have to be all text; you can arm your anthropologists with video cameras and label the recordings for future reference. Find the easiest way to store and organize the knowledge you collect in a way that suits your organization – you may want to hire a curator.

To conclude, I’d like to quote Tom Kelly again (because he’s awesome): “People who adopt the learning roles are humble enough to question their own worldview, and in doing so they remain open to new insights every day.”

Oubai is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University. He is interested in crowd-driven innovation and multidisciplinary collaborations. His main passion is human-design interaction and the role design plays in shaping society and culture. Oubai is also the cofounder of theArab Development Initiative. You can reach him @obeikurdy.

After inclusion in Facebook App Center, Endeavor Entrepreneur firm ZunguZ plans for 15 million users by 2015

Endeavor Entrepreneurs Lance Fanaroff and Robert Sussman, who developed South African tech firm Integr8, have recently gained attention with the integration of their ZunguZ platform into the Facebook App Centre. As reprinted from ITWeb, ZunguZ is looking forward to a bright future…

ZunguZ, a locally developed platform that facilitates micro-payments between users on social networks, claims it will dislodge the world’s top online payment platforms – such as M-Pesa, Google Wallet, PayPal Wallet, Facebook Credits, and Square – in Africa.

Speaking to ITWeb, Robert Sussman, one of the co-founders of ZunguZ, said, judging from the growth rate, the platform is expected to reach 15 million active users by 2015.

The ZunguZ application facilitates money transfers between Facebook friends using the sender’s existing bank account. The receiver can access the money by activating the ZunguZ application and then getting the cash from any of SA’s big four banks, provided they have an account there.

The company says it aims to take advantage of an estimated 38 million people who use Facebook in Africa to dislodge the traditional payment platforms on the continent. Although the number represents only 6.2% of the global Facebook population, ZunguZ founders say they do not expect major competition from mobile and online payments platforms.

Sussman says ZunguZ has an edge over the other payment platforms because it is integrated into the social graph.
“One of our biggest advantages is the intelligence of the users that we obtain from Facebook. We already have their information, so it will also be easier to get to know their needs; for example, if one is having a birthday,” he says.

“[Comparing] ZunguZ to current payment services is like comparing Facebook to e-mail. They are both connectivity tools, but the one is built with people at the centre and, therefore, understands its user base. ZunguZ is not a payment platform at its core. It is the intelligence layer where ZunguZ is completely different, in that it is built with people at the centre,” Sussman adds.

Another draw card for ZunguZ, he adds, is the Z-button, a customisable payment request button that users can build and instantly publish to their Facebook walls.

“This feature is meant for micro-payments only, as these are amounts that a user would feel comfortable asking others to match or give. At no point does ZunguZ come into direct contact with monies; it simply facilitates the payment for the users.”

The Z-button feature also allows users to track the progress of payments to control and regulate what is paid by whom and when, he explains.

Sussman also points to numerous cases around the world of banks looking to invest in credible online payment platforms that enable consumers to benefit from conducting banking services via social networks.

One of these examples, he explains, is the ICICI Bank, reportedly the largest private bank in India. “The business has developed an application that enables customers to use their Facebook accounts to initiate a number of services. These include checking account balances, soliciting statements and upgrading cards.”

Meanwhile, the number of people using M-Pesa, which turned five in March this year, has risen from 19 671 in 2007 to 15 million today. On the other hand, as of 2011, PayPal had more than 350 million users worldwide with revenue of $4.4 billion.

eMBA field report: promoting health in the Mexican sun

Maria Fernanda Brockman at Alivio Capital

Maria Fernanda Brockman is an MBA Candidate, class of 2013 at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. She is interning with Alivio Capital, a sister company of Imagen Dental, through the Endeavor eMBA Program.

I have been in Monterrey, Mexico for three weeks. The city is beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and there are a lot of things to do. If you want to feel the summer sun, this is the place to visit. It’s 40°C every day.

I am working with Endeavor Entrepreneur Patricio Villarreal at Alivio Capital, a financial Institution that grants credit for healthcare services. The company is in a stage where it has enormous potential for growth and expansion. I was brought in to create a commercial strategy and position the brand nationally.

My first step was to get to know the company, the culture and the customers. Alivio Capital is in the service industry, so having a satisfied, happy customer is the number one priority. I started by studying the customer, understanding the characteristics and preferences that define our clients. After that, I started speaking with the management team to understand the company’s culture, products and day-to-day operations.

Now, I know what the customer wants, the company’s potential for growth and where to focus its efforts to position the Alivio Capital as the #1 option for healthcare financing. Working here has been a great experience, so far, and I believe every day will get better.

eMBA field report: financial savvy and pisco sours in Santiago

eMBAs Suzanne Schumer & Mariana Torres at Cajon de Maipo

Suzanne Schumer graduated The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in May 2012 with an MBA focused on finance and marketing strategy. She is working as an intern for ForexChile in Chile as a part of the Endeavor eMBA Program.

It was early on a Sunday morning in the middle of holiday weekend when I arrived in Santiago. To me, it seemed like all of Las Condes had left for the weekend to celebrate Día de las Glorias Navales. As I explored the city on that first day, I was struck by Santiago’s quiet beauty.

The peacefulness of my walk was a stark contrast to the energy within my office. In Santiago, an excited team of financial analysts and sales executives kept the pulse of an ‘off-Wall Street’ Wall Street throughout the workday. This New York replica made me feel almost like I was back at home.

This summer, I was hired as the Executive Director of International Expansion for ForexChile, an online brokerage firm that enables customers to transact a variety of securities (including stocks, commodities, foreign currency pairs, etc.) without the need for an investment professional. The operation is run by ambitious executives who are looking to expand rapidly throughout Latin America. My job is to design the business plan, focusing on sales and marketing, for ForexChile’s entrance into Peru. I am currently three weeks into my internship and deep into analytics.

For me, one of the best aspects of the job has been the multi-country experience. I have already visited both the Santiago and Lima offices, and plan to make a few more trips back and forth in the coming months. These trips are not only exciting but essential to my understanding of the different markets and key success drivers for the business.

In addition, I have made the most of my weekends outside of work. Not yet fluent in Spanish, I have had a few adventures navigating the cities’ bus and subway systems, venturing into neighboring towns and nature preserves, joining with kind strangers on bike tours of vineyards, attending music performances at museums, and trying at least one pisco sour in both cities. (The jury is still out on whether pisco is better in Chile or Peru.) Looking ahead, I can’t imagine returning to the US without my all-too-frequent empanada pino (from Santiago) or my “What cuisine should I try today?” mentality (from Lima).

Endeavor Entrepreneurs at ForexChile:

Erwin Andia

Cristóbal Forno

Nicolás Gallardo

Andrés Rojas

Suzanne Schumer at a Chilean vineyard with a fellow bike tourist

Reid Hoffman delivers commencement remarks about entrepreneurship at Babson College [transcript and video]

The following transcript is reprinted from Babson College, where Endeavor Board member Reid Hoffman, co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, delivered a commencement address for the Class of 2012. In it, he discusses the importance of entrepreneurship in today’s society and the merit of “build[ing] your network and always think[ing] in networks.”

 

I recently co-authored a book called The Start-up of You. I know that you all know this, because in honor and respect of your achievement of graduating today, I have gifted a copy to each of you. In it, I began with a quote from Mohammed Yunus. I will begin today with the same quotation:

“All Humans were born entrepreneurs. In the caves, we were all self-employed. Finding food, feeding ourselves. That is how human history began. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became “labor” because they stamped us “You are labor.”

I begin with this quotation because entrepreneurs are important. Here in the U.S., we have always known this because we have an entrepreneurial nation.

(more…)

Endeavor June 2012 newsletter

To view Endeavor’s June newsletter, a recap of all the top news stories from the previous month, please CLICK HERE.

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27 participants join Endeavor eMBA program, supported by Barclays

Each year, Endeavor recruits MBA students from leading US business schools to spend 10 weeks during the summer working with our entrepreneurs on-site as “eMBAs.” The program is generously supported by Barclays.

This summer, 27 eMBAs have been placed with 23 Endeavor Entrepreneurs in South Africa, Lebanon, Mexico, Chile, Turkey, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Egypt. Stay tuned to this blog throughout the summer, as they will be posting updates from the field. (You can read posts from last year’s eMBAs here.)

One new program improvement this year was the introduction of the online Jobscience platform, which has allowed entrepreneurs to hand pick eMBAs according to their backgrounds and skill sets from the large pool of applicants. Also, while most placements occur over the summer, the new online job board also advertises available positions throughout the year.

In total, 660 eMBA applications were submitted this year from 286 unique applicants – with the most coming from Harvard, Columbia, Babson, London Business School, and IESE. The eMBAs will be working with Endeavor Entrepreneur companies Stoned Cherrie, Nada Debs, Alto, Vistek, Innovex, Pozitron, Ciceksepeti.com, Salado Media, Sirve, iCarros, Evolution Group, EMAN, Arizona, PedidosYa.com, RobTec, Vialux, Naranya, Neve Gelato, Aranda Software, Refinancia, ForexChile, Imagen Dental, and Hindawi.

Welcome, 2012 eMBAs!

John Jantsch: The three most important factors of business success


This article was written by John Jantsch and published at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find the original article here.

While there are many factors that come into play when building a business, I believe that most important ones have nothing to do with innovation, balance sheets, finance or marketing. The most important over arching variable to your success in business is you.

Success, however you choose to define it, is a continual work in progress. Ask anyone who’s made lots of money if they are “there.” Even though we’ve been sold on the idea of making it big, most often you’ll find there is no there for truly successful people – it’s not when I make my first million, it’s not when I get my fiftieth employee, it’s not when I land on the cover of the industry publication. Success is simply a road to travel in an attempt to create a more compelling and enriching future. But, as with all roads, there is a direction you must travel to keep moving towards your destination even if, like the far off horizon, that destination keeps moving away no matter how quickly you move towards it.

In my own journey I can tell you there are three factors that have both led me and, at times, held me from advancing towards my picture of success. Some of the most fruitful work I can do is centered on improving in these three areas.

1) Who I am

This a pretty big one and I won’t propose any prescriptions here, but I have found that when I commit to working on my core beliefs about what’s possible, what I’m driven to give to the world, how I want that world to experience my gifts, I have very little trouble taking action that’s in line with who I am. The really beautiful thing about working on things like internal passion and purpose is that your progress comes out so authentically in all manner of external interaction. When people can genuinely feel that you care about what you are engaged in you are an incredibly convincing salesperson – without actually trying to sell anything.

This is an area that most everyone must practice. You must develop habits that force you be conscious of who you’re being. For me, writing my thoughts on paper each morning, spending time meditating and revisiting simple passages that serve to remind me of the version of my best self keep me focused on this practice.

I’ve also developed a series of questions that I can roll through before anything I do in an attempt to bring the right intention to every situation. Simply stopping and asking yourself why your are doing something, why it’s important and what a great outcome would look like is a great way to center yourself prior to making a large presentation to a group or meeting to discuss a new project with a staff member.

2) Where I’ve been

This doesn’t have anything to do with travel, although I suppose it could. For me this is all about leveraging what I’ve experienced, what I’ve learned, skills I’ve acquired, and what I intentionally expose myself to in an effort to learn more. We’ve all been exposed to a life time of lessons, some serve us well and some hold us back, but it’s how you use this mixture and enhance this mixture and overcome elements of this mixture that defines success in many areas of business and life.

I didn’t do particularly well in school, but my brain is kind of wired to learn new things, dig into new subjects and explore topics seemingly unrelated to my field of work. I read some portion of about twenty books a month, subscribe to at least one hundred blogs and still get seven or either magazines delivered in my mail box.

Lifelong learning, exploring and simply tuning your brain to pay attention to everything that’s going on around you is another key factor in moving towards success.

3) Who I hang out with

There are many studies that offer validity to the notion that what you believe, how you act and even how much earning potential you have has a great deal to do with the people you surround yourself with. Now, this can work for you or against you. Parents, school friends and social setting initially influence most people. As you venture into business you soon realize that customers, vendors, mentors and even competitors can play a big role in the success of your business.

When you’re first getting started you may attract customers that mirror your sense of self worth or doubt, but as you begin to grow you’ll soon learn that you must raise you own expectations to the level where you insist on working only with people you respect and admire. I belong to two mastermind groups and I get to hang out for full days with people that have already achieved many things in business that I aspire to achieve. In addition to developing a network of people that can help me succeed in tangible ways this experience also opens me up to accepting that I can indeed think much bigger.

In order to move towards this ideal many people have chosen to immerse themselves in the study of people they admire through memoirs or even a mentor relationship. Pick three or four people that you view as successful, dead or alive, and learn everything you can about how they think act and grow. Study and seek out a team of like minded strategic partners and focus a great deal of time and energy on building deep and meaningful working relationships with this group and you’ll quickly find that your own personal network will begin to fill up with people that can help you grow and thrive. Find and join a mastermind group that pushes you to stretch and think bigger.

There are so many things we can get caught up in trying to accomplish, but experience tells me that if we go to work everyday on the internal, the external success we so crave will show up as mileposts along the road.

Spotlight: Endeavor and Ernst & Young’s Intrapreneurship program

This article was reprinted from Ernst & Young’s Exceptional Magazine.

Unlocking potential: Intrapreneurship can spark innovation and idea sharing in large organizations, helping employees to solve problems in creative ways

Entrepreneurs make a difference. They not only have great ideas, they also have the drive to make them a reality. The challenge for large organizations is to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit even once the rapid-growth phase is over. This is where intrapreneurialism — which enables individuals or groups within a company to unleash their creative potential — comes into its own.

Global not-for-profit organization Endeavor promotes exactly this kind of innovative approach to doing business. By selecting, mentoring and accelerating the progress of the most promising entrepreneurs in emerging markets, it supports long-term economic growth on a worldwide scale.

Keen to play a part in this growth and build an entrepreneurial culture within the business, Ernst & Young Financial Services has joined forces with Endeavor to launch an Intrapreneur Program that encourages consultants and entrepreneurs to share ideas and learn from one another’s experience.

The Program enables Ernst & Young’s top-performing managers to carry out six-week placements at entrepreneurial companies based in emerging markets such as South Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. Participants work with the leaders of these companies to help them tackle critical business challenges, including international expansion, financial management and operational efficiency.

Amr Shady, founder of Endeavor Egypt and CEO of T.A. Telecom in Egypt, says: “Participants in the Program have a skill set that we — as entrepreneurs in the Middle East — don’t have. Their knowledge and experience can help us navigate the threats and risks we face each day, while enabling us to pursue the growth opportunities that will transform our companies and countries.”

In addition to helping young companies expand more quickly, the Program encourages the growth of intrapreneurship within Ernst & Young’s own business culture by giving participants a first-hand experience of what it takes to be an innovator. Participants also form part of a virtual network of 350 professionals, all of whom are keen to share ideas about creative approaches to problem solving.

One person who has been learning a lot about innovation is Lene Sogaard, who works for Ernst & Young Financial Services in Luxembourg. As part of the Intrapreneur Program, Sogaard has been spending time at the South Africa-based social enterprise Shonaquip, which aims to enhance the lives of people living with disabilities through mobility and seating solutions, support services, policy change and research, and awareness-raising activities.

In helping Shonaquip to implement more efficient processes, Sogaard says that she has learned to be more flexible and to think more creatively. “In order to implement a project in the best possible way, without having the time and resources needed, I’m having to improvise,” she says. “I’m trying to create a simple operational structure and process that can work for both these projects. At the same time, I want to pass on as much of my project management knowledge to the employees before I leave so that they can continue to sustain this in the long run.”

Sogaard’s experience illustrates the benefits of learning and cultivating intrapreneurial skills within a business.

When employees go outside their comfort zone, they are more likely to bring a fresh perspective to a business challenge and come up with innovative ideas. This approach is key to maintaining an entrepreneurial approach at even the largest of organizations.

New York Times: Sequoia Capital turns to South America for entrepreneurial investments, including Endeavor Entrepreneur firm Scanntech

By Sam Weyrauch, Endeavor summer intern

According to a report in the New York Times, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital is now joining other U.S. corporations by extending its influence into South America. Led by partner David Velez, who will start up a regional office in Brazil this July, Sequoia Capital has been planning to create a South American presence for over a year, and started with a $10 million offering to Scanntech, co-founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Raúl Polakof. Scanntech “makes technology to connect independent grocers and retailers with supplies.”

After Sequoia partner Doug Leone traveled to Brazil in late 2010 to scout out new entrepreneurial investment opportunities, the firm brought aboard Mr. Velez, who previously worked in the financial sponsors group of Morgan Stanley doing investment banking, last year. And though Sequoia has yet to invest in technology entrepreneurs in Brazil, the firm made two investments last year: Scanntech and Despegar, “an online travel company for the region.”

According to the piece, Scanntech has worked with Kraft, Coca-Cola, Scotiabank, and Visa in the past, and is projected to double last year’s $18 million revenue total in 2012. Although the company is based in Uruguay, it plans to expand into both Brazil and Asia in the upcoming years; Raúl Polakof said he wants “Scanntech to become a global company.”

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