A report produced by the World Economic Forum, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and Endeavor examines the concept of entrepreneurship in three dimensions: early-stage entrepreneurial activity, growth-oriented entrepreneurship and innovation-based entrepreneurship. The study aims to develop a useful framework for policymakers to understand […]
The Stanford Social Innovation Review recently profiled the Social Sabbatical program at SAP, an Endeavor sponsor, and the software giant’s efforts to transform emerging market economies by leveraging the expertise of its employees. Developed in partnership with PYXERA […]
As organizations grow, they gain an audience, revenue, cash flow and trust. They add staff and then, soon, they decide it’s time to offer something new. Smuckers decides perhaps it should use its shelf space to offer a peanut butter. A corporate coach wonders if he ought to add HR consulting services. A website decides to clone a product made by a smaller company that they can bring to a larger audience…
If you extend your reach because you can, because you have market power, you will probably be doing your existing customers a small service (centralized support or billing or just one less person to deal with) but your brand doesn’t increase in stature. You had a chance to bring some of your original magic to the table (after all, it’s that magic that got you started) but all you did was bully the competitors out of the way.
On the other hand, if you extend your brand because the new offering is better, magical in the way you can make it magical, then you’ve dramatically increased not just your market share but your perception as well.
Nike and Apple sometimes fit into the second category–the iPhone and some of Nike’s clothing options are clearly different/better. Starbucks did it when they launched their ice cream.
On the other hand, there are literally thousands of organizations (including non-profits) that head down the path of mediocrity by rushing to offer 57 varieties, merely to please today’s shareholders, merely because they can.
My watch doesn’t keep very good time, and I like it that way. Its uncertainty keeps me from organizing my days too precisely. It gives me breaks – sometimes short, some longer – for unstructured thinking.
At the top of organizations, and particularly in younger companies, time for unstructured thinking is scarce. Yet, unstructured thinking is what spawns the breakthroughs that people expect us, as CEO’s, to deliver.
This is our work of the highest order. But building space for this kind of thinking requires a stance that counters certain pressures we receive from others about how we should spend our time and requires a different discipline for managing our days. Not difficult. Just different.
Here are five tips that will help you build time for unstructured thinking into your workday. And if you do it, you will raise your odds for delivering what others expect of you – the big ideas – even though some of your constituents might not see the connection as you start.
When I see a day of back-to-back entries on my calendar, I know that it won’t be a very productive one. Still, most of us fall into a trap of feeling most important and that we’re doing our job best when we haven’t got a minute to spare.
Do you remember the Eureka! story? After working hard on a problem, Archimedes drew a deep, warm bath to clear his head, release all thoughts and relax. As water spilled over the side, the answer he’d sought for days emerged. Eureka!
Investors are lined up, the website is done, glossy promotional material with smiling faces is all set, your core team is pumped, and you are ready to go live. Now is the time to worry about hiring the rest of your team. A social startup, unlike other businesses, is not just about “business”; it is also about passion and values, without which you cannot survive. Hiring the best team with all of the necessary ingredients is the key to your success.
That said, “best” can’t be determined simply by a university transcript or a recommendation letter; best is what gels most effectively with your enterprise and its values. Define your own best and then hire, not just those with suitable expertise, but those with suitable personalities that contribute toward success of your start-up.
Below are the seven people you should consider hiring:
1. Someone with Passion: What else is there to look for if your chosen hire doesn’t have passion? Social Enterprise is about changing existing behaviours and mind-sets, and only a person with passion and purpose can make it happen. An entrepreneur once said, “Purpose may point you in the right direction, but it’s passion that propels you.” Enough said.
2. Someone who is Social Media Savvy: The current day and age is all about social media (until we find something more fun). If there is a potential hire who displays good social media skills (blogging, engaging, familiarity and presence on Social Media platforms and a Social Media following), do consider getting him or her on board. This person has a voice, and if used correctly, it can offer a tactical advantage to your enterprise. Of course it goes without saying that when I say SM savvy I don’t just mean updating Facebook status multiple times a day and posting YouTube videos of cats doing somersaults!
3. A Problem Solver: Social enterprise is challenging. From getting community support to gauging measurable impact of your work, it poses many more challenges than a regular business. If you have a potential hire that can get to the root of a problem and suggest workable solutions ; he is the one you cannot miss. I can hear you saying, “But how do we find out?” Well, there are many pre-employment tests like Wonderlic Test that help gauge the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving. Have the applicant take these tests, but trust your gut feeling in the end.
4. Someone with Compassion: Thomas Merton said, “The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.” Simply speaking, if a person does not have compassion, he won’t be able to appreciate this interdependence and has no place in a social enterprise.
5. A Strategic Thinker: A person with foresight and vision is an asset for any business, but even more so for a social one. It is much easier for forward thinking, strategic people to look positively at what may seem like a short term decision because they know it can provide substantial societal and business benefits. The person who can see the bigger picture is the person you cannot afford to miss.
6. Someone from the Community: When you are working in a certain community, it is imperative that you have someone from thatcommunity as part of your team. This person should be familiar with local issues and should have a position of trust within the community. If trained properly, he or she can prove to be invaluable in bridging the gap and managing expectations between the community and your enterprise.
7. A Good listener: Companies usually look for charismatic speakers who can move audience to tears with a well-rehearsed, yet oddly spontaneous-sounding speech. While it is great to have a few (very few) such people as part of your team, t a social enterprise benefits more from good listeners. Listening is an engagement tool that is highly underrated. As Dr. Covey in his timeless book stresses, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This approach is key to effective dialogue and results.
All of these traits are important for building a cohesive team, but I’m not suggesting that you need to hire seven people to find these seven traits. On the contrary, you may find them all in one, or make a point of being sure that anyone hired on your team has some of these traits (e.g. passion, listening skills, problem solving and strategic ability). The key is to define what you’re looking for in a holistic manner so that your social enterprise can maximize its effectiveness. Good luck!
Bushra Azhar is the Founder of Good Business Sense (GBS), a CSR and Sustainability Knowledge Advisory based in the Middle East. A former corporate VP and academic, she has 14 years of experience under her belt with almost 5 years in CSR related areas. She is the author of a research study examining the growth of CSR in Saudi Arabia and is also responsible for developing 3 out of a total of 6 CSR reports released in the Kingdom. Her latest publication “The Concise Dictionary of CSR:Simple, Practical, No-Nonsense Introduction to the Main Concepts” is available for free on her company website. You can follow her on Twitter @bushraazhar.
The desire and skills to be a successful entrepreneur can be recognized early in a person’s life. Many young people realize the value of hard work, creativity, and effective marketing in their own way and try to relay those skills into profit. With the guidance and direction of parents and experienced entrepreneurs, the young entrepreneurial spirit can begin to form.
Signs of the Young Entrepreneur
While children or young adults might not necessarily have a business plan or feasibility study in hand, they do have certain traits that demonstrate that entrepreneurial drive. The most concrete sign for these students is the desire to earn money. Whether it takes the form of the age-old lemonade stand, mowing the lawn, or babysitting, the knowledge of working for a profit exists. Common traits found in young entrepreneurs include independence, creativity, persistence, and confidence. By matching these traits up with the motivation for profit, a budding entrepreneur is born.
Key Lessons for the Young Entrepreneur
In a world where it seems children can get anything they want, it’s important for a young entrepreneur to struggle a bit to develop motivation and inspire creativity. Being a bit stingy with a general allowance motivates children to find ways to earn money. It also communicates the value of money so they know where it comes from, how to manage it, and how to determine the real value of a product. Young entrepreneurs learn “opportunity cost” through this process by analyzing their work and time in comparison to the cost of what they want to buy. This provides a life lesson as well as a business lesson.
Some parents might balk at the idea of making their children spend their own money at a young age, but this lesson is key for the young entrepreneur. Children will begin to scrutinize what they want and what they are willing to pay with their own funds. If a parent buys everything, then they only see half of this equation: how much they want something. The value of the process is finding that balance between desire and spending.
A concrete way to show this process to children is through setting up a bank account. They can see their income vs. their spending in a very organized way. Children also benefit from understanding how checks and debit cards work. Some older people still have a hard time understanding that, when you use a debit card, that money is gone. Even though checks might seem obsolete in our technological age, they do offer a more hands-on experience in actually writing out the amount deducted, as well as in balancing a checkbook. As mentioned earlier, this is a lesson many adults could benefit from, and it is essential to an entrepreneur.
Avenues for the Young Entrepreneur
A key facet of this process is the student’s ability to come up with ideas to earn money. The creative spark begins early. They may begin branching out and realize the assets they possess, such as video games, CDs, DVDs, and toys, and begin to sell those online via eBay or Craigslist. Online ventures open up a whole new world for potential entrepreneurs, as long as they are guided and supervised by parents. As a child becomes more interested, he or she may express a desire to work with a parent, or for the family business. This is a great opportunity for a young entrepreneur to learn how a business is established and maintained, as well as providing certain tax advantages for you, the business owner.
Young entrepreneurs also benefit from any experience that relies on teamwork. Athletics teaches goal orientation, social skills, and the importance of communication. In a similar way, school activities, such as plays, promote self-confidence, creativity, and public speaking skills. The goal of these activities is to have a child engaged and involved with other children. If this is a fairly diverse group, then your child can learn how to be open-minded and conscientious,
Games also have the potential to provide great entrepreneurial lessons. Games such as Sims 2: Open for Business Expansion Pack, Lemonade Tycoon, DQ Tycoon, and Hotel Giant build problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Many children think they are just having fun, but they are acquiring essential business skills as well.
Young entrepreneurs display traits of venture-related success early in life. If pursuing those skills is a goal shared by children and parents, a multitude of opportunities and growth experiences are available. The independence, self-confidence, and drive that children possess can translate to a successful business, as well as a successful life. In nurturing these skills, it’s important that you, as a guide and teacher, provide your children real-life, practical experiences that show them how money is earned, as well as how they can analyze their wants and their needs in spending their hard-earned income. Those are lessons they’ll carry with them, no matter their entrepreneurial path in life.
From April 29th to May 2nd, the Milken Institute convened its 15th annual Global Conference in Los Angeles. Experts from various fields gathered to discuss ways of leveraging economic activity and policy to improve human welfare worldwide. Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg participated in several panels, including “Game-Changing Global Entrepreneurs” which featured Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mario Chady, Leila Velez, Vinny Lingham, and Amr Shady:
Reprinted from the author’s blog. See original post here.
By Alexander Torrenegra
If you follow my tweets, you may know that I was applying to become an Endeavor Entrepreneur. Endeavor Global is an organization that helps entrepreneurs unleash their potential by providing a network of seasoned business leaders. Endeavor Entrepreneurs get mentoring from members of the world’s top companies, educational and networking opportunities, and hands-on assistance with the most difficult challenges for startups.
We were invited to apply last year. The application process took hundreds of hours of paperwork, interviews, mentorships, and judging panels. Last week we flew to Cartagena, Colombia, for the Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP). Finally, the last step of the process. We felt prepared and excited as tons of support and encouragement poured in, cheering us on. Sixteen companies were judged by an independent panel and after hours of deliberation, seven were rejected, including us. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. I failed at pitching my business properly. I let my team down, as well as the members of the Endeavor team that invested innumerable hours helping us. I’ve never dissapointed so many great people at once.
There is a positive side though: the experience was life changing. We got over a dozen VIPs (top-notch VCs and executives) analyzing every detail of our business. They criticized it and proposed improvements. We got raw, honest feedback— something quite uncommon since most VCs that don’t like your idea simply tell you “Interesting… we’ll get back to you.” We also met a lot of great people that want to help us.
Professionally speaking, I’m a new Alex today. Thanks to Endeavor, I’m now pitching better, hiring differently, executing faster, and more importantly, dreaming bigger. Or at least, I hope so.
Endeavor Enterpreneur Amr Shady of Egypt-based mobile value-added service provider company T.A. Telecom describes how he got his start pitching mobile advertising concepts, how an initial meeting with the CEO of Vodafone kickstarted their pivot into value-added services, and how having a bootstrapped approach to making profit helped him sell his first big clients.
They’ve been growing the company in terms of revenue 10 times every 5 years, Shady says, lately benefitting from assistance from Endeavor since T.A. Telecom was selected in 2011. He advises young entrepreneurs to test, test, test, and be open to feedback.
“It’s important not to [simply] take someone’s opinion on an idea. If you believe in a service, you need to really test. We’ve learned to double down once it’s generating cash and it’s a scalable project,” says Shady.
Raising money should be seen as a means to accomplish ambitious goals for your company, not an accomplishment on its own. Securing investment from a prestigious venture capital firm can make headlines, but there are many downsides to raising money for an early-stage company. Here are a few:
The earlier stage your company is in, the higher risk it’s perceived to have. This means lower valuation and ultimately, lower returns for you. Startups should aim to validate their idea and get as much traction as possible before raising money. From the investor’s perspective, there is much more risk associated with a company with an unproven idea. A company with no traction is less likely to get funded and if it is funded, it will be valued lower than a company with traction. More dilution means lower returns for founders.
You can get fired from your own company! It’s fairly common for venture capitalists to remove the founder from the CEO position and hire a new one. In addition you will have less voting power on business decisions.
Money can remove spending discipline. It’s nice to be able to take a salary after getting funded, but as Peter Theil believes, CEOs should be motivated by the long-term success of the company, not by the short-term benefits of a salary. Reid Hoffman took the minimum salary available while staying above the poverty line of $15,000 while serving as CEO of LinkedIn.
4.) Exit opportunities
If you decide you want to sell the company early at low price and move to the beach, you won’t be able to because of a term called a liquidation preference. This grants investors a minimum amount of the exit price before founders receive any.
Raising money is extremely time-consuming. It requires a lot of networking and meetings. For someone without much knowledge of how to raise money, it can also be very time consuming to prepare for fundraising. It’s time that could be better spent building the business or networking for partnership or distribution opportunities.
Technological advancement has made it cheaper and easier for a technology to launch and start getting traction and has thus raised investors’ expectations. I recommend startups use Lean Startup Methodology to validate their idea and get traction in a time and capital efficient manner. I agree with Niki Scevak: “Instead of raising money, writing code and then proving the business, do the complete reverse.”
Mike Fishbein helps startups through mid-size companies with capital raising, mergers and acquisitions and strategy. He also teaches a Skillshare class on capital raising and can be reached at twitter.com/mfishbein.
Cartagena, Colombia, May 14, 2012 – Endeavor invited 15 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico at its 43rd annual International Selection Panel. Endeavor now supports 691 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 431 companies in 13 emerging market countries. The entrepreneurs were chosen at a Panel held from May 8 – 10 in Cartagena.
“I’m incredibly impressed with the quality of the companies we are seeing at our panels this year,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “In particular, we’re seeing a whole new generation of fast-growing technology oriented companies emerging in growth markets that are equal to what we see coming out of US tech hubs.”
Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries. The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and then offer guidance to entrepreneur candidates. Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 companies, consulting firms and top U.S. business schools. Additionally, Endeavor’s Catalyst program co-invests in Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ professional funding rounds.
Endeavor will host three more International Selection Panels this year in London (June); Istanbul (October) and Miami (December).
Entrepreneurs: Pablo Orlando, Daniel Jejcic
Company: Good People
Description: Founded in 2008, Good People is building a global community for action sports fans both online via its social e-commerce site, and offline through its 12 brick-and-mortar stores and partnerships with industry leaders including Disney’s X-Games.
Entrepreneurs: Wagner Furtado, Marcio Furtado
Company: Cash Monitor
Description: Wagner Furtado and Marcio Furtado, both from the financial services sector, founded Cash Monitor to help companies manage accounts payable and receivable, which often arrive from different parties at different times in different formats/currencies. Cash Monitor’s two solutions—conciliator credit cards for retailers/service providers and consolidated financial statements for large companies—reduce costs, improve security, and empower CFOs. Cash Monitor targets clients in industries with tight margins (e.g. retail, aviation, and diagnostic laboratories).
Entrepreneurs: Rogério Gabriel
Company: Prepara Cursos
Description: Prepara Cursos offers young, middle class Brazilians more than 70 computer-based vocational and language courses at affordable prices, providing them with the knowledge and skills required to secure their first job. The company serves more than 200,000 students in 350 branches throughout Brazil.
Entrepreneurs: Paolo Escobar, Eduardo Donoso
Description: Bionativa develops, produces and sells natural pesticides to fruit growers in Chile. Founded in 2002, Bionativa is now riding the wave of demand for organic produce and growing quickly. The company has a six-person R&D team. Currently selling to Chile’s fruit exporters, the entrepreneurs have plans for regional expansion.
Entrepreneurs: Victor Devia
Description: OpenDat develops and sells software that enables mining companies to on-board and manage employees more efficiently and cheaply than they currently do. HR management is a major pain point in the mining industry due to the highly regulated workflow of miners. The company sells its product to the major copper mines in Chile and it plans to move into the Peruvian and Colombian markets this year.
Entrepreneurs: Alfredo Gomez, Patricio Rojas
Description: Based in Chile’s mining centre of Antofagasta, Scrum provides copper and gold mining companies with software that allows them to monitor the quality and track the production process of their products from start of production to client delivery.
Entrepreneurs: Andres Alban, Mauricio Hoyos
Description: Conexred brings financial services and products to Colombia’s lower class population. The company has a network of terminals that facilitate the third-party sale of products such as pre-paid cell phone minutes and financial transfers. Conexred places terminals in neighborhood cafes, drugstores, and convenience shops, giving Colombian microentrepreneurs the opportunity to supplement their income.
Entrepreneurs: Jesús Saro Boardman
Description: Fagro develops, produces and sells organic fertilizers to Mexican farmers. Fagro’s products allow farmers to export from Mexico to markets with stringent organic certification requirements and environmental regulations.
Entrepreneurs: Luis Pernia, Luis Martinez
Description: Proa builds personalized safety and security solutions for new construction projects undertaken by contractors and architecture firms. The company both consults with clients on their structures’ specific needs in the context of international safety standards and partners with vendors to supply installations such as doors and alarm systems.
Capturing the Visionary Spirit: Milken Institute’s Global Conference Brings Together Brightest Visionary Women Entrepreneurs to Share Keys to Success
Today Milken Institute’s Global Conference was launched in Los Angeles bringing together over 3,000 of the world’s brightest minds in business, finance, policy, education, health, energy and philanthropy for prestigious two day event off educational lectures, panels and interviews on various topics affecting our world today.
I had the privilege of interviewing three visionary women entrepreneurs that have made tremendous contributions in their fields. These, like the visionary women in my book Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World (Assouline) have learned valuable lessons about success that we can all benefit from. Here I’ve compiled a short list of the lessons learned from these powerhouses… but first, let me introduce my panelists…
Georgette Moschbacher is the CEO and president of Borghese, a worldwide cosmetic company, who has now partnered with the Costco brand Kirkland retailing nationwide. She is also the author of two books Feminine Force and It Takes Money Honey.
Linda Rottenberg is the CEO and co-founder of Endeavor — she has pioneered the field of high-impact entrepreneurship, the global phenomenon of using high-growth business to transform economies. Endeavor entrepreneurs have created 150,000 high-value jobs and generate annual revenues of 5 billion. She has been named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report and one of 100 “Innovators for the 21st Century” by Time magazine.
Leila Valez is the co-founder and CEO of Beleza Natural, a chain of Brazilian beauty institutes and provider of hair-care products which is taking Brazil by storm… Her institutes to serve up to 1,000 clients per day and women have been known to stand in line for over 4 hours for treatments… The company boosts an impressive yearly revenue growth 30% and Leila Valez is an Endeavor Entrepreneur. She was recently listed in Voce SA magazine as one of its “Entrepreneurs of New Brazil.” In 2007 she was recognized as one of Brazil’s most influential women. She is also the co-author of the book Success Stories From the Small and Medium Enterprises.
KEY LESSONS LEARNED:
1) Believe That Anything Is Possible
Both Leila and Georgette came from very humble backgrounds. Georgette was raised as the eldest of four children, and lost her father at tender age of seven. From that point forward she was raised my her mother and lived at the edge of poverty. Leila Valez grew up in the falevas of Brazil and at one point worked at a McDonald’s. It is impressive that these women were able to build such formidable companies considering their backgrounds. Both attribute a portion of their success the fact that early on they were taught to believe in themselves and that it was possible to achieve even the biggest of dreams. Georgette mentioned how her mother had instilled this belief in her early on, and how it paved the way for perseverance towards her goals.
2) Think Big
Linda Rottenberg said that having a big vision is very important in entrepreneurship. It’s better to have a vision that is giant sized than one that is too small. The BIGNESS of the vision often attracts other like-minded individuals who can see into the possibilities, and therefore this type of thinking attracts opportunities for growth.
3) Always Develop a Strategy, Measure Your Goals, and Readjust
Along with thinking big, it is important to have strategy and plan. Georgette shared about the importance of being able to measure results and use them to grow and adapt as you move forward in your plans. A real strategy is a living breathing document or game plan , it is something both directional yet flexible, and gives life and captures the vision of your organization. A good strategy adapts to real needs and is able to seize new opportunities as they become available.
4) Don’t Let the Word “No” Discourage You From Moving Forward — Keep Knocking
Leila Valez said she learned early on not to take “No” personally. The other panelists agreed. Linda’s early success was due to her tenacity and knack for not letting “no” discourage her from pressing forward. Sometimes “no” is the best news one can hear — it offers closure. It protects entrepreneurs from creating partnerships with dissimilar goals and expectations, and leaves room for the right person or organization to say “Yes,” and to fulfill their important role. Georgette Mosbacher mentioned that this is true for fundraising for philanthropic causes as well as is for venture capital. The lesson to be learned is to keep knocking on doors until the right door opens before you, and not to be discouraged by hearing “no.”
5) Hire the Best and the Brightest
This is very important in building a company. A good team is essential to having success. Georgette spoke about the importance of having or being a part of the right team. Human capital is the cornerstone of successful companies that last — a statement that all three panelists agreed on.
6) Mentorship and Building a Network of Supportive People
Another common theme in the panel was mentorship. Leila spoke about how difficult it was for her to find the right mentors — and how this is something that endeavor does very well. Having a good mentor can help direct our efforts in the right way and gives us the necessary support and networks that are needed in building companies. However, Georgette noted poignantly that sometimes we find ourselves alone with no one there to mentor us — and that’s okay too. In that situation if you can’t find a good mentor, sometimes, you need to be your own role model and “mentor yourself”.
Interviewing these pioneering women in their various fields was both tremendously fun and enlightening. Women today are not only changing the world in homes and communities, but in business, politics, and philanthropy, on a global scale. Each one of us has the power to transform the world.
For videos of Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg at the Milken Global Conference click here.