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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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Endeavor and the SAP Social Sabbatical Program Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

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 […]

April 3rd, 2014 — by admin

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Could your kid be the next Bill Gates?

Reprinted from Under30CEO. See the original article here.

By John Hall

I had drinks the other day with a couple of friends who’d recently had kids. They wanted to know what encouraged my interest in the business world – and what prepared me for success within it. I started thinking about what impacted my entrepreneurial skills, knowingly or not. You don’t need to teach your kids complicated bookkeeping services, or how to code a website at the age of five. There are simple tips that will make a difference. Here are the conclusions I came to; each tip will strategically prepare your kids for a successful business career (without anyone being the wiser).

Cheese and Sausage: Teach Them How to Sell Early

Starting in the first grade, my school held fundraisers selling cheese and sausage. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, I am referring to the cheese-and-sausage gift packs that nobody really eats but gets by the truckload at Christmas time. My parents observed me while I went up to each door and tried to sell a product that I wouldn’t consider eating myself. They allowed me to do the work on my own, rather than rely upon them to pass it around at work to meet the minimum quota. The best way to teach your kid business isn’t to do the work by using your superior status at work to get people to buy your kids’ cookie dough. Most people hate to see you pimping out your work relationships to help your kid not truly earn something. I wasn’t worried about that because I had the overall goal in my head. I had a Schwinn on my mind. Motivation comes in all shapes and forms, but there aren’t many things more motivating than the idea of getting your first bike when you are a kid. If you can get your kid motivated to be successful in the cheese-and-sausage programs, then you can break down the fear of selling very early in life.

Golf and Rosetta Stone: Give Them Opportunities to Differentiate Themselves

What are the skills and experiences that will help your kid differentiate himself and stand out among others? If I could go back 20 years, I would probably put a golf club in my little hands. Being a good golfer can open up numerous opportunities, from networking with clients to always being handpicked to be on your boss’ team. Along with the golf club I handed to little John, I would include a Rosetta Stone Value Pack. Understanding a foreign language can open up doors all over. These are just two examples of ways that children can build a niche for themselves in business. The challenge is being strategic with how you introduce these skills in their everyday lives so they enjoy them. There is a major difference between the parent who makes his kid do sprints after everybody’s left practice, and one who can successfully implement sprinting in his kid’s life without burning him out. Make an effort to introduce these skills in fun ways and reward your kids when they accomplish something.

Packed-Lunch Business: Teach Them How to Negotiate

Everybody remembers the days of school lunch, where trading food was like the NYSE for grade school. I was fortunate to have the Berkshire Hathaway Class-A shares in my packed lunch. I always had some sort of treat that all the other kids wanted. After a couple of deals that ended with me taking another student’s money for an item, my parents got wind of my little “business.” The issue wasn’t so much that I was trading as it was my ripping off other students and leaving them with hardly anything. Reputation is everything in business, and if you learn at a young age to negotiate mutually beneficial deals, then it comes naturally to you later. Show your kids early how to look at both sides of an arrangement to understand the benefits and downsides for each participant. Chances are, not all kids will form their own packed-lunch businesses. However, when given the opportunity, make sure that they know that no matter how much it benefits them, lopsided deals usually aren’t the best option.

Create a Chameleon: Surround Your Kids with a Variety of Experiences and People

The business world isn’t made up of one type of person. On any given day, I deal with multiple cultures and personalities. If you keep your kids at the country club and at private schools their entire lives, they will probably only be exposed to a limited number of personalities and cultures. Being around a variety of people allows someone to become a chameleon and adjust his actions to ensure different people feel comfortable around him. If you try to control everybody your kids interact with, it’s likely to backfire on you. However, if you simply guide them to different activities, they will have opportunities to be exposed to different cultures.

Keep Your Warren Buffett Friends Around: Give Your Kids Mentors

Ask Warren Buffett how important Ben Graham was to the success of his company. Great mentors are an extremely important part of business, and you’re never too young to develop a solid relationship with a mentor. The friends you surround yourself with will have an impact on your kids. Provide them with good role models.

Your kid may or may not have the innate business sense of Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. However, the skills that will make them successful in the corporate world are the same tools that will enable them to be successful elsewhere. Ensuring that your kid is successful is what every parent dreams of – and getting a billionaire in the bargain just sweetens the deal.

John Hall is the CEO of Digital Talent Agents, a company that helps experts build their personal and company brand through producing high quality content for reputable publications.

Seth Godin: Engaging with criticism

Reprinted from sethgodin.typepad.com. See the original article here.

By Seth Godin

If you need to find out how your audience is receiving your work, it’s worth considering how you’ve structured the interactions around criticism. Sometimes a customer has a one-off problem, a situation that is unique and a concern that has to be extinguished on the spot. More often, though, that feedback you’re getting represents the way a hundred or a thousand other customers are also judging you.

Some random ideas:

– If you defend yourself to the customer, quickly explaining precisely why the policy is the way it is, why the product is the way it is, you are pushing the criticizer away because you’re telling them they’re wrong about their opinion. And they might indeed be wrong, but it’s certainly not going to encourage more feedback.

– If your front line people restate the criticism in their own words and are grateful to the customer for sharing it, everyone will benefit. You can always choose to ignore the input later.

– If there’s no way for your staff to easily send the criticism up the hierarchy, it dies before it reaches someone who can do something about it.

– If senior people follow up with the customer with specific acknowledgment and thanks, you multiply the benefits.

Not every company needs to do this right to succeed (Apple succeeds and does not do any of these things–and as far as I know, Bob Dylan is in the same camp), but if you believe you can benefit from a cycle of feedback, it’s worth a try.

Seth Godin is the author of fourteen international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. His Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham steps down at Yola to launch new startup

Silicon-Valley based Endeavor Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham has resigned from his position as CEO at Yola to pursue a new startup venture. Lingham, who began his entrepreneurial career in South Africa, will remain on Yola’s board, but will step back from executive leadership of the company while focusing on his new venture, Gyft, an online service which promises “to change the way you think about gift cards.” The service will launch in May, and is offering early signup for members.

Yola, which had over a million users in 2009, will be replacing Lingham as CEO with current President and Chief Operating Officer Trevor Harries-Jones, who joined the company four years ago. “Trevor has demonstrated excellent leadership over the past year, driving Yola into its next phase of exciting growth,” said Jason Young, Chairman of the Yola Board. “The Board congratulates Trevor in his new role and for his tireless efforts in building Yola.”

“I am very enthusiastic about the continued strong growth and prospects for Yola,” says Harries-Jones. “My immediate focus will be on completing the release of our new suite of exciting, high-quality, next generation products to our rapidly growing customer base, and on continuing to manage and expand our strong distribution partner platform.”

Endeavor company Taste Holdings: A matter of taste

Reprinted from bus-ex.com. See the original article here.

[Endeavor-supported] Taste Holdings manages franchises, developing efficient and customer-focused brands tailored towards South Africa’s discerning diners and consumers of jewellery.

A chacun son goût, or so they say—to each his own taste. Taste has a dual meaning in both French and English: it refers either to the relish of food or to the sense of style possessed by the discerning. As such it is a neat name for the JSX-listed company that has its origins back in 2000 with the founding of the well known Scooters Pizza, a brand that really took off in South Africa where it is now the second largest pizza delivery chain, with 131 outlets. The other kind of taste is central to the jewellery trade, separating beauty from bling: the group’s jewellery division is focused on the 29-year-old NWJ chain of stores that now has 87 locations and is the fastest growing jewellery business in southern Africa.

Even before [Endeavor Entrepreneur] Carlo Gonzaga and his father Luigi started Taste Holdings they were both experienced franchisees in the food sector, owning four franchises in the Durban area. Law graduate Carlo was chairman of the Franchisee Council for three years and during this time won Marketer of the Year, and the Franchisee of the Year awards twice. Now CEO of Taste Holdings, he understands this business from the bottom up.

Taste has wasted little time over its short history. It was always the plan to grow aggressively, both organically and by acquisition, says Carlo Gonzaga, and the track record so far is remarkable. In April 2005 it acquired Maxi’s, a chain of breakfast and lunch restaurants that has now grown to 72 outlets. In 2010 it added St Elmo’s, another pizza brand but aimed at a different market from Scooters. Concentrated in the Western Cape, St Elmo’s Woodfired Pizza is a sit-down, casual dining proposition as opposed to the home delivery model represented by Scooters. There are no international brands to contend with in the South African pizza market: the market is entirely dominated by native brands and among these Scooters and St Elmo’s are entirely complementary: you can have them both side-by-side in a small town, according to Gonzaga.

The group has delivered growth every year since its foundation—11 full years of expansion, with annual revenues increasing to R752 million in 2011. “Taste has expanded through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth,” says Gonzaga, “but the key factor can be summed up in two words: vertical integration.” Taking control of the supply chain, as far as practicable, from manufacturing through distribution through to customer service can drastically reduce the cost of these operations and synergies between the businesses can be exploited.

Take the jewellery division: NWJ is the third largest jewellery chain in South Africa, and the only one with a claim to be vertically integrated. From its Durban factory and distribution facility, employing in all about 180 people, NWJ internally sources some 40 per cent of the product it sells, giving it an advantage in flexibility and competitive lead times. All products are procured and styled in-house and distributed to the franchisees and managed stores on the company’s own fleet of vehicles. “We are going to continue to focus on vertical integration in the medium term,” promises Gonzaga. “One important reason for that is to make the businesses simpler to run from the franchisees’ perspective: having one supplier coming to your back door is a lot more attractive and easier to manage than having to deal with 20!”

While every single one of the food division’s businesses is franchised, 23 per cent of the jewellery stores are directly owned and operated by Taste Holdings. “Franchisees usually do a much better job of running service businesses than retail owners,” he says. Food outlets are the ultimate service business. However in the right circumstances it is better to run a retail business as a managed store under corporate ownership, he believes. “On the jewellery side of our business we often find that the stores we own do better than the franchised ones.”

In a high value business like the jewellery trade, a greater level of capital needs to be tied up in stock. This can put excessive strain on a franchisee, he says, and is better handled at group level, with a strong balance sheet. But even in jewellery, circumstances alter cases: while he foresees that a core group of company stores will be retained in the future, the hybrid model will always work well. In the last analysis, a franchisee usually looks after the customer better than a manager, Gonzaga believes.

In the financial year ending in 2011, jewellery revenues increased by 4.5 per cent to R243 million; NWJ won the Daily News Readers’ Choice Best Place to Buy Jewellery Award; and it added 10 new outlets.

The growth in jewellery sales could be called robust under the economic circumstances, but it is modest when compared with the 11 per cent group turnover increase over the same period to R750 million. By 2014, though, the board has set itself the task of doubling these earnings. In the face of continued uncertainty in the jewellery market this will have to come mainly from food sales—and these will be helped by the St Elmo’s acquisition, whose full-year earnings will only begin to show from 2012. But its main boost comes from another acquisition.

From February 1, Taste Holdings became the owner of 220 fish and chips outlets. Fish is the fourth largest fast food category in Africa and expanding rapidly. It has grown considerably over the last five years, during which time The Fish & Chip Co has becomean established brand, with strong marketing ties to the South African football fan base through an association with Bafana Bafana player Siphiwe Tshabalala. It is arguably the largest chain by number of outlets and the market leader in the takeaway fish category.

The purchase price of R66 million included all assets of The Fish & Chip Co including stock, trade debtors, the distribution centre and any payments made in advance to secure new stores still to be opened. It is an excellent fit within the group, since it is 100 per cent franchised and because the concept works just as well in the low-income townships as in the middle class and tourist locations. The pattern of spending may differ, with more people spending less per head or fewer spending more depending on income, but the level of takings per location is comparable across the board. Additionally more than half the existing franchisees have more than one store—it has become a great catalyst for entrepreneurship at a local level.

If the company has a unique selling point, it is low prices combined with high quality, and its insistence on sustainable sourcing of fish. The problem for fish restaurants has often been one of consistency. That is why the fish, mainly hake, is all from sustainable stock. The principal supplier of fish is Sea Harvest, which is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading certification and eco-labelling programme for sustainable seafood. The raw material is supplied graded to size and it couldn’t be fresher because it is caught, de-skinned, de-boned and individually quick-frozen at sea on Sea Harvest’s factory ship the Harvest Lindiwe. The involvement of Tshabalala is a bonus: the much loved footballer and role model for the youth of South Africa, who scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup, is an ambassador for the company—and his involvement has brought in other soccer players who want to invest in a good and socially responsible business.

The takeover will bring in additional sales in excess of R300 million, and Gonzaga sees a massive potential in the brand. “One thing that absolutely drives our business is having good solid brands. Whatever the efficiencies you may be able to achieve through vertical integration, at the end of the day it is all about selling people something they really want—whether it is pizza, a cappuccino or fish and chips.” In a business that stands or falls by creating and managing brands, Taste Holdings’ latest acquisition ticks all the boxes, he adds. “The Fish & Chip Co is the largest business of its kind in the country and a market leader. Its growth potential is huge: we see it growing from 220 outlets to somewhere between 400 to 600 outlets in the coming five years.”

Many future stores, whether belonging to The Fish & Chip Co or Taste Holdings’ other brands, will be beyond the borders of South Africa. Gonzaga has set his sights firmly on expansion into Africa, though he appreciates the difficulty of reaching out into new territories with unfamiliar ways of doing business and challenges relating to infrastructure, lines of distribution, currency exchange and the like. Nevertheless, he hopes to be established in two new African countries—not including Namibia and Zimbabwe, where Taste Holdings already has a presence—by the end of 2012.

Every acquisition is accompanied by integration costs, and The Fish & Chip Co will be no exception. But these are quickly offset by the savings inherent in vertical integration and taking control of the value chain, he says. There are more ‘moving parts’ in the food supply chain than in non-perishable stock like jewellery, and there will no doubt be some ways in which the requirements of the fish and pizza businesses can be synergised. Currently there are four separate offices and manufacturing locations for pizza premixes in Johannesburg, and an office and training centre in Cape Town—as well as a factory that produces mixes, spices and toppings. The only major operation still outsourced by the group is packaging.

Some rationalisation of the manufacturing and distribution facilities can be expected, he says; meanwhile, the group is targeting its carbon footprint and aiming to reduce its energy consumption by 20 per cent by changing to energy-efficient lighting, signage, air conditioning and cookers. The more the number of franchises in the group increases, the greater the opportunity for offsetting the anticipated rise in energy costs.

Taste has a fantastic track record to date, but just look at some of the targets it has set itself in the near term: “Last year, we said we wanted to double our earnings in three years. One year in, I think we will get to that target. The main objective in 2012/2013 is to engage with some of the growing African markets; at the same time, I expect to open 100 Fish & Chip Co outlets and I do believe we will make another acquisition in that period. We have substantial opportunities to grow the business: we have a good model and it is scalable.”

Endeavor board member and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joins Board of Advisors for Endeavor Entrepreneur company Globant

Endeavor-supported company Globant, the Latin American leader in the creation of innovative software products, recently announced the appointment of Endeavor board member and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman to its Board of Advisors. The appointment is one of many benefits that Globant has received since the founding entrepreneurs were selected to become part of Endeavor in 2005. Mr. Hoffman comes to Globant following a recent investment in the company by the not-for-profit Endeavor’s Catalyst Program, of which Mr. Hoffman is a Board Director.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Hoffman said, “Globant is a great example of the Endeavor’s mission of catalyzing long-term economic growth in emerging markets. The team struck me with their vision, passion and extensive experience working with some of the most innovative companies of today. The work they’re doing is generating jobs and career opportunities for thousands, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help them continue on this trajectory.”

Globant runs a network of more than 2,500 software engineers, developers and designers based in 15 locations across Latin America and the US, creating innovative software products for international clients including LinkedIn. Globant is responsible for the development of LinkedIn’s mobile applications for Android and iPhone, and the implementation of the OpenSocial framework to integrate applications with the professional network (more information here).

Mr. Hoffman is Partner at Greylock and executive chairman at LinkedIn, the company he co-founded in 2003. Reid currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Edmodo, Mozilla (Firefox), Shopkick, Swipely, and Zynga. He has co-led investments in Coupons.com, Groupon, and Viki.

“We are extremely proud to have Reid in our Board of Advisors. I admire his professional experience and especially the way he is always thinking big and different”, said Martín Migoya, Globant CEO and Co-founder. “His technology, business and entrepreneur perspectives will provide strategic points of view on Globant´s challenges. During this year, we need to work hard to keep adding more value to our customers, staying at the edge of every technology and trend, and growing at a constant pace, both organically and through M&As. I believe that Reid will definitely add a lot of value to these plans.”

Globant´s Board of Advisors plays a key role in defining the strategic agenda and providing advice and guidance to the Company. Mr. Hoffman´s knowledge around innovative successful companies will be key to help Globant become a leader in its field.

Globant is the first company to receive an investment from Endeavor’s recently created Catalyst program, a revolutionary and high-impact initiative that uses donated capital to allow Endeavor Global to co-invest in Endeavor Entrepreneurs in a neutral, unbiased way. The main goal of this program is to use the returns of the investment both to support Endeavor Global’s operations and to be reinvested into Catalyst to provide funding for other Endeavor Entrepreneurs. To see the Dow Jones VentureWire article on Catalyst, click here.

Also check out the TechCrunch article “After Endeavor invests, Reid Hoffman joins Globant’s advisory board; is an IPO next?

Endeavor Entrepreneurs participate in Austin Innovation Tour / South by Southwest Interactive

Endeavor Global board member Reid Hoffman offers advice to Endeavor Entrepreneurs

This past week in Austin, Texas, 14 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Middle East, and South Africa participated in an Endeavor-organized Innovation Tour (March 7-9) leading into South by Southwest (SXSW) — the famed digital and music festival that begins with a five-day Interactive conference. (Check out photos at the bottom.)

The Entrepreneurs represent a variety of tech industries including e-commerce, mobile, social media, gaming, advertising, and online publishing. Throughout the Innovation Tour, they were introduced to industry experts who offered advice and guidance. As one of the highlights, the entrepreneurs participated in one-on-one mentoring sessions with top executives from over 20 top Austin companies — for instance, Brett Hurt, CEO & Founder of Bazaarvoice.

As an introduction to Austin and SXSW, the entrepreneurs met initially with Hugh Forrest, Director of SXSW Interactive, to learn how to make the most of their time at the event. On March 8, Endeavor sponsor Dell, organized a dynamic “un-conference” featuring a lively social marketing panel moderated by Richard Binhammer (Director, Social Media and Community at Dell). Then, participants led a series of impromptu panels and discussions about various tech-related topics. The event also featured a behind-the-scenes tour of Dell’s Social Media Command Center.

Later, Entrepreneurs traveled to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong) where they toured the attractive new facilities and heard from Randall Macon, Partner, The Acceleration Agency and Director, My Entrepreneurial Journey. They also heard from Jon Kolko, Founder of Austin Center for Design and former Creative Director, Frog Design, who spoke about “Design Creativity and Innovation,” and gained insight into Human Resources issues from Janet Walkow, Cofounder, Leading Women Project and Associate Professor, University of Texas.

Endeavor also arranged private meetings with network members speaking at SXSW including an intimate Q&A lunch hosted by Reid Hoffman, and meetings with with Endeavor Global Network members Gina Bianchini (co-founder, Ning) and David Kidder (co-founder and CEO, Clickable).

In addition to these valuable business interactions, our entrepreneurs enjoyed the fruits of Austin in a different way, through barbecues, mixers, and other social events hosted by Endeavor including a networking event hosted at LINK Coworking Space and sponsored by Turnstone. Positive feedback from the entrepreneurs indicated that the Innovation Tour was both interesting and valuable.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive mentorship at Global Connections

At Dell, Richard Binhammer moderates a panel of technology and social media influencers

At Livestrong HQ, Entrepreneurs receive 1:1 mentorship through a Global Connections session

Entrepreneurs David Assael (l) and David Basulto (r) with mentor Vivek Menan (middle)

Reid Hoffman at "Celebration of American Startups"

Dell panel...illustrated!

Endeavor staff members (l to r) Karen Martell, Becca Plofker, and Shaun Young

Endeavor Entrepreneur Leonardo Shapiro introduces an impromptu session at Dell's "unconference"

Endeavor Entrepreneur Moatasem Osam (center)

At Livestrong, design guru Jon Kolko discusses design creativity and innovation

At Livestrong, Janet Walkow discusses "alignment of people and processes"

At Livestrong HQ

At Dell, Endeavor's Walt Mayo w/ Entrepreneur Mariano Suarez-Battan, Jordan Board Member Maher Khaddour

Recorded address by President Obama at "The Celebration of American Startups"


    Endeavor Entrepreneurs attending the Tour / SXSW

Moatasem Osam
Company: E-Masary
Country: Egypt
E-Masary is the first mobile payment service in Egypt to use online and mobile payment technology combined with a robust network of merchants, to turn cell phones into debit cards.

Zafer Younis & Ramzi Halabi
Company: Modern Media (The Online Project)
Country: Jordan
Modern Media is the premier service in the Middle East to offer tools to manage social media.

Mariano Suarez Battan
Company: Three Melons (acquired in July 2010 by Playdom, itself acquired by Disney)
Country: Argentina
Gaming studio Three Melons creates popular online games on free-to-play business models. Recently, Mariano founded IDEAME.com, the “Kickstarter of Latin America” which connects artists with funding.

Alemsah Ozturk
Company: 41?29!
Country: Turkey
Turkey’s leading creative digital marketing agency, 41?29! creates captivating and interactive advertising campaigns.

Amr Shady
Company: T.A. Telecom
Country: Egypt
T.A. Telecom is a pioneering mobile telecom company that provides time-and-location specific content to over 10 million subscribers across the Middle East.

David Basulto & David Assael
Company: Plataforma Networks
Country: Chile
Plataforma Networks runs two top architecture blogs (in English & Spanish), updated daily with user content.

Andres Angulo
Company: CampoAlto
Country: Colombia
Campo Alto offers 16 different training programs at 5 campuses across Bogota that provide education and job training to low income populations.

Fernando Martinez
Company: Vialux
Country: Mexico
Vialux is the only provider of cell sites in Mexico that offers custom built, on-demand solutions to remote areas of Mexico, previously inaccessible by cell providers.

Sam Hutchinson
Company: Prefix Technologies
Country: South Africa
Prefix is a content management system (CMS) provider for the publishing industry that exposes customers to new opportunities on web and mobile platforms.

Leonardo Shapiro
Company: Verasoft
Country: Mexico

Vinny Lingham
Company: Yola
Country: South Africa, currently based in San Francisco
Yola is an online platform that allows the typical user without programming skills to develop websites through an easy drag-and-drop system. Vinny is a serial entrepreneur who also serves as an angel investor and board member of multiple tech companies.

Reid Hoffman’s The Start-Up of You offers advice for managing your career like a startup

Endeavor global board member Reid Hoffman, cofounder of LinkedIn, is co-author of the recently published New York Times bestseller The Start-Up of You, which offers advice for how to succeed in today’s competitive world by managing your career like a start-up company.

With the message that “every individual is a small business,” the book encourages readers to “craft iterative, flexible plans…be in permanent beta…build a network of relationships…[and] budget time for randomness.” Its insights draw on Reid’s own extensive technology career, as well as those of members of his professional and social circles. The book tackles the challenge to “be in more control of my life, create more value in myself and the world around me, by proactively investing in growing my capabilities and adding more to society.”

“People sometimes think it’s morally wrong to talk about investing in themselves,” he writes. “In a flatter world with more competition, how do you succeed? How do you invest in yourself and gain those skills? You can’t do it accidentally.”

To learn more, visit thestartupofyou.com.

Entrepreneurship lessons from the Berenstain Bears

Reprinted from Under30CEO. See the original article here

By Harrison Kratz

For 50 years, the Berenstain Bears have been teaching American youth lessons that last a lifetime. I’m sure all of you have read at least one of the 260+ editions of Berenstain Bears that Stanley and Jan Berenstain wrote, starting in 1962. Stanley passed away in 2005 and unfortunately Jan passed away at 88 because of a stroke this past Friday in Solebury, PA – 15 minutes from my hometown.

To honor all of the lessons they taught us, I wanted to add a few lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from the Berenstain Bears.

Dealing with Grown-Ups

In the book with the same title, Brother and Sister Bear become discouraged because it seems their parents only have negative things to say about them. By the end though, both the parents and cubs see the issue from each other’s point of view and that getting on each other’s nerves just comes with being a family.

Many young entrepreneurs feel discouraged by older professionals and self-appointed advisors because it always seems like they have nothing but criticism to offer. Like the cubs, young entrepreneurs should look at the issue from the older professionals point of view to understand that they are only trying to guide an entrepreneur’s ambition and teach from years of experience.

Too much can be a Bad Thing

The Berenstain Bears have several “too much” books, but all point to the same thing – Too much of a good thing can turn out bad. The same can be said for many entrepreneurs.

If you’re only focusing on successes or putting too much emphasis on a certain aspect of business, you may start to other aspects decline and start to drag your company down. While this isn’t a fateful occurrence, it is important to avoid as you try to build a successful company. Never dwell on success or failure too long, just take it all in stride so you can continue to run a well-oiled machine.

Stay away from the Green Eyed Monster

One of the classic Berenstain books, this tells the story of how Sister Bear becomes jealous of her brother’s bike and convinces herself she can ride it. She quickly finds out that was a mistake when she crashes the bike.

This is always important to remember. As an entrepreneur, you will see other companies or entrepreneurs moving quicker than you or building larger companies. While that should motivate you to do better, do not substitute that drive with envy. Being jealous of another company can cause you to stop running your race or focus on the progress you have made. Focus is key as an entrepreneur and measuring yourself against others can only take that away.

Value your money

As a young entrepreneur, money can be scarce and success can be fleeting. In the book “Money Trouble,” Brother and Sister Bear learn the value of money after they become world-class spenders of every penny they earn.

It is important for an entrepreneur to value the money that they make, receive, and have for it can be gone before they can finish counting. Value your success and don’t take money, no matter how it is received, for granted.

Think of Those in Need

As I’ve written here before, it is very important for an entrepreneur to give back or focus on being an agent of change. In “Think of Those in Need,” the Bear family realized that they have too much stuff and that they can help others with their excess of items around the house.

Entrepreneurs should take this approach when building their businesses and career. I’m not saying you should sacrifice your business growth or model in the name of doing good, but if you have the ability to reach others and be a change agent through your talent, drive, or company that you have built – that opportunity should never be wasted.

Thank you Jan and Stanley – you have taught us more than you’ll ever know.

Harrison Kratz is the Community Manager for MBA@UNC, the MBA online program from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. Connect with him on Twitter, @KratzPR.

Company press release: Smowtion to silver sponsor MIT Latin American Conference

Press release – BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, March 1, 2012

Smowtion, a technology company focused on providing products and support for advertising networks, will be a Silver Sponsor of the 15th annual MIT Latin American Conference, the oldest Latin American Conference among U.S. business schools. The event will be held on Saturday, March 10th, in the Wong Auditorium at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and is organized in partnership with BrasiIinvest.

An established Sell Side Platform (SSP) with more than 150,000 long tail publishers in 130 countries, Smowtion has 270 million unique users worldwide and 5 billion monthly impressions. “We are proud to be a sponsor, along with Brasilinvest and Bain and Company, of this important international event,” said Andres Alterini, Smowtion’s CEO. “Smowtion invites MIT students seeking to join a fast-growing company to find out more about us and the wonderful opportunities offered to them in the dynamic digital media market.”

Led entirely by MIT Sloan students, the aim of the conference is “to promote greater involvement of the international community in the development of Latin America, to increase the awareness of investment opportunities in the region, and to inspire future leaders to become ethical, innovative change makers in Latin America.” Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States, will be the event’s keynote speaker.

For more information visit http://mitlac.com.

About Smowtion

Smowtion is a technology company specializing in developing products and solutions that help target quality audiences for the online advertising industry. Its proprietary technology helps more than 150,000 publishers—including Web sites, blogs and social networking sites that reach over 270 million users worldwide—through display ads and customized solutions. In 2010, Smowtion was included on Endeavor’s List of High-Impact Entrepreneurs at the 36th International Selection Committee.

Endeavor March 2012 newsletter

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