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Endeavor Jordan Hosts Second Annual “Catalyzing Conversations” Event with Top Members of the Global Network

Endeavor Jordan hosted the second annual ‘Catalyzing Conversations’ event in collaboration with the 59th Endeavor International Selection Panel in Amman. ‘Catalyzing Conversations’ is a multi-tiered event featuring a series of interactive and motivational discussions with business leaders, entrepreneurs […]

June 30th, 2015 — by admin

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New Endeavor Insight Report Analyzes the Source of Silicon Valley’s Development

Endeavor Insight, supported by Omidyar Network, has released a new report that analyzes the development of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurship hub. The report, entitled “How Did Silicon Valley Become Silicon Valley,” includes new data that […]

July 29th, 2014 — by admin

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Six questions to ask a potential angel investor

Reprinted from growvc.com. See the original article here.

By Daniela Baker

Many entrepreneurs wonder if they may vet investors just as they are to be evaluated in turn. The answer is yes! These are people who may be investing in your company so not only do you have a right but a duty to find out as much about them and their investment strategy as you can. Doing so will save you significant time and energy.

The best strategy is to ask the following six questions before you reveal the details of your business concept. If any investor is hesitant to answer, move on to the next.

Have they invested in other companies over the past 6 months, year, two years? Before revealing too much about your business concept you want to first determine whether this person is a genuine angel investor. A serious angel will have invested in at least one company over the time period noted above. If the angel has not made many (or any) investments during any one of these periods, ask for a realistic assessment of your chances to obtain funding. If you receive a vague response, such as “I’m currently reviewing several proposals” it may be that this person is not a genuine investor but only seeking to hear about new ideas. A common method for an investor to get out of a deal after they have obtained all the information about your concept is to attach unacceptable terms, such as significant input into business operations or unrealistic expectations of performance.

What are their specific criteria for investing in company? This question is one of the first you should ask. You want to know at what stage of the business they fund (i.e. concept, beta, product launch, first customer contract). If your needs don’t mesh with their funding strategy you can cross this investor off your list early in the process.

Do you have to pay them to present your pitch? In a survey conducted by the Angel Capital Association (ACA) in 2008, 62.2 percent of angle investors reported they do not charge fees to listen to presentations. Of the remaining 37.8 percent who do charge fees, the average amount was $580. For full details regarding presentation fees visit here.

How involved do they wish to be in the business? This runs the gamut from completely passive (“call me when you sell”) to active participation in day-to-day operations–complete with desk and phone—to everything in between. There is no right or wrong answer here just ensure that you are comfortable with the level of involvement (or noninvolvement) the investor desires to have.

Will they fund additional rounds, if needed? Most angels are focused on the short-term and seek to exit within 5 years or less. As a result, they don’t anticipate funding beyond the first round. However, many times additional funding is needed down the line and, while you can apply for a credit card to obtain needed funding, it pays to also explore just how deep each investor’s pocket is.

What is their exit strategy? As noted, most angel investors seek to exit within 5, perhaps 6 years. There are also investors who subscribe to the “early exit” model and seek to be out of the business with two or three.. The other end of the range has investors staying in for at least 10 years (these are the investors who may be willing to fund additional rounds). Again, no right or wrong answers here but just make sure that you and your investor are in agreement regarding exit strategy. Good luck!

Daniela Baker is a small business blogger at the credit card review website, CreditDonkey.com.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Ezequiel Farca presents second book, Path

Endeavor Entrepreneur Ezequiel Farca is the creative director and CEO of the design firm EZEQUIELFARCA, located in Mexico City. One of the most important designers in Mexico, Ezequiel Farca is known for his clean, modern, and sophisticated aesthetic. On Friday, April 27th, Farca will launch his second book, Path, with a cocktail party at the Hotel Americano from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at 518 West 27th Street, NYC.

“Path” compiles 18 years of work and shows the design process, drawings, sketches, and models of his most important projects, from architecture, interior architecture, furniture design, and product design in Mexico and abroad.

Farca’s story begins in Mexico City and has grown to inhabit great design cities all over the world:

Born in Mexico in 1967, Farca began his career at the Universidad Iberoamericana in the same city, with an Industrial Design Degree (1980-1991). He got a scholarship by the Western Washington University inWashington State, to continue his studies of Specialization in Industrial Design (1991- 1992). He completed his studies in design with a Master in Big Scale Architecture and Other Environments at the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, in Barcelona, Spain. He is now finishing an MBA at UCLA.

In 1995, Ezequiel opened his first design studio, and later on opened a furniture showroom in the heart of Polanco, a prestigious commercial and residential area in Mexico City. Ezequiel Farca was the first furniture designer to combine the talents of fashion designers, jewelers, and lifestyle designers of international renown.

Along the years, the more than 40 national and international distinctions and design awards that Ezequiel has won include the Quorum Award for the best designer in Mexico, the award for the Best Design for his famous lounger Zihua, the Best Product Design of the Year from the magazine Interior Design and the International Award of Design in 2008 and 2010, and the Red Dot and Design Preis in 2010. IDA 2011 competition, the silver award for the kitchen furniture category.Ezequiel Farca was named Best Designer of the Year 2007 by the magazine Ambientes, was the winner of the Icons of Design award of Architectural Record, and has been published in architecture and design magazines all over the world.

Ezequiel Farca is also well-known for design collaborations with the famous Mexican architects. Enrique Norten put him in charge of the furniture design of the exteriors of the famous Habita Hotel. Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon put him in charge of the furniture of Reforma 222 in Mexico City and for the hotel El Encanto in Acapulco, Gro. Other prestigious projects include the Hotel Ventanas del Paraiso in Los Cabos and the architectural development Los Veneros with Icon Group in Puerto Vallarta and Fairmont in Acapulco. Commercially, Farca’s firm EZEQUIELFARCA has designed products and ambiances of high profile for industrial customers such as José Cuervo, Stanza, Vitromex, Corian, Comex, Nouvel Studio, Aeromexico and Kartell, among others.

In 2007 and 2011, RM along with Arquine published the books EzequielFarca and Trayectoria distributed by the editorial house R.A.M. in the United States and Canada, and by Actar D in the European Union. The books can be found in the best architecture, design and art libraries around the world, including the library of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City, USA.  Check out “Path” on April 27th!

Farca collaborates with Endeavor staff members. L to R: Peter Olivier, Rebecca Plofker, Sasha Sadrai, Gerardo Cervantes, Maria Jose Cervantes

Gilt Groupe entrepreneurs tell their story: By Invitation Only

Gilt Groupe is an e-commerce website that provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels, at up to 60% off retail. Founders Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson are active members of Endeavor’s global network, and were honored as High-Impact Entrepreneurs of the Year at our 2010 gala in New York City.

Now, Alexis and Alexandra have co-authored a book, By Invitation Only, that tells the story of Gilt Groupe’s establishment and its eventual rise to success as the #1 luxury flash sale website in the United States.

(To purchase the book, which hits stores on April 19th, click here and use the code “endeavor”.)

For further insights, Endeavor interviewed the successful duo. Here’s what they had to say…

What was your ‘AH-HA’ moment that lead to founding Gilt?

We loved shopping the bins of New York sample sales, and we knew that millions of people would respond if we could transfer to the Web the excitement of competing for top brand bargains.

Alexandra, with your experience in retail and Alexis, yours in e-commerce- how did this experience help shape the vision of Gilt?

Some of the core elements that define Gilt’s vision were influenced by our prior work experiences. These include well managed growth, a strong level of trust from customers, word of mouth marketing. When Alexis was at eBay it was the fastest growing company in history, so her expertise on how to manage explosive growth was invaluable when Gilt got on its own growth fast track. Alexis also learned plenty from e-Bay about e-commerce and the power of grassroots, word-of-mouth marketing. Not only did Alexis get the chance in her twenties to run a company within a company (eBay Canada) and help launch eBay Motors, she also drank the Kool-Aid of startup optimism and inspiration that would prove irresistible when she later launched her own startup with her cofounders.

Alexandra’s jobs at Louis Vuitton and Bulgari prepared her for tough sales meetings and gave her insights about customers by working with them face to face. She learned at these jobs that she would establish the trust of customers if she refused to sell them something that wouldn’t look right on them. Much of Gilt’s success is due to the insights Alexandra learned about earning the trust of customers and curating selections shrewdly to help customers look their best and get the best value. Plus, Alexandra knew firsthand that most brands had overstock that they literally burned, and that this was a problem waiting for an entrepreneurial solution.

Many Endeavor Entrepreneurs own family businesses. Were you friends before you started Gilt? Can you comment on maintaining your friendship as partners? Any advice?

We became friends when we met at Harvard University as undergrads and then became best friends at Harvard Business School. Being close friends who complemented each other well was an essential ingredient to Gilt’s success. The secret to staying friends when you’re in business together is to always make sure your professional relationship doesn’t busnify your friendship—your friendship should take priority and the time you spend together shouldn’t be just about business.

Was there an instance at the beginning where you had to veer from your path and change direction? What happened and how did you implement this change?

Our original business model had been designed to purchase brands’ leftovers. But if we stuck to this model, we would be left vulnerable to the booms and busts of the marketplace or be left dry in months like August when there is little excess inventory to buy. So we started reaching out to brands to try to buy into their current-season merchandise—in other words, place our order at the same time as department stores and full-price retailers. We figured that this would help brands drive their costs down (because manufacturers typically charge less per unit for larger orders). We were right: many brands were eager to work with us as more of a partner, instead of just giving us their excess inventory. We promised not to sell their merchandise at deep markdowns until it had been put on sale on the department store floors. But buying at the beginning of the season was not the same as buying leftovers. For one thing, we were not able to secure nearly as big a discount off the wholesale price. Merchandise produced specifically for us, rather than products taken off designers’ hands at the end of the season (at which point they were essentially sunk costs), was just never going to be as cheap.

We knew we were making ourselves slightly vulnerable because placing our orders six or nine months in advance didn’t exactly allow us to be nimble or to anticipate changes in fashion trends or in our membership growth. We’d even start having leftovers of our own to liquidate, in “final” sales, at even steeper discounts (luckily, our members loved these sales).

We also began discussions with certain brands about the possibility of producing capsule collections exclusively for Gilt. This would guarantee our brand partners more orders, allowing them to meet factory minimums, drive down their costs and increase their margins.

Gilt has an all star senior management team. Can you talk about the process of bringing in more people and scaling? How did you develop a senior management team and decide to bring in an outside CEO?

At the same time that Alexis was feeling the need to switch out of the CEO role, Susan Lyne was on our board and was interested enough in Gilt to consider becoming our CEO. We knew having a CEO of her stature would be a golden opportunity. We had to carefully prepare the rest of the company for this change and make sure that the culture would remain intact. One way we did so was by hiring and identifying evangelists that live our company values and can inspire their fellow employees.

Many of our entrepreneurs are looking to expand internationally. How did you decide to tackle the Japanese market? What have been your greatest challenges in growing abroad?

The appeal of launching Gilt in Japan was simple: an untapped market, no competitors, and access to the biggest luxury spenders in the world, not to mention plentiful inventory. By April 2008, with the very strong urging of the board, we’d made the decision to launch our first international business out of Tokyo. The biggest challenge to the Japan launch was learning that what worked to launch Gilt in the U.S. wouldn’t work there for cultural reasons. While the Japanese love the concept of “invite only” and “private” sales, they don’t really find it acceptable to e-mail friends outside their immediate circles with offers, or especially to profit from friends’ purchases. So much for our social and monetary incentives that we had used very effectively to grow Gilt in the U.S. But we learned what would work instead, which included a Tokyo press conference during which both of us spoke in carefully rehearsed Japanese.

The flash sale market has become saturated. How does Gilt continue to stand out among your competitors?

We have by far the strongest relationships with the very best brands and we’re very careful about how we curate our offerings to serve our customers and earn their trust accordingly. We also invest heavily in presentation and photography which makes all the difference in showing our customers the appeal of any item we sell. We also offer one of the fastest ecommerce experiences around.

Equally, how did you decide to go into other markets like home, food and travel? what have been the challenges in this expansion so far?

We’d always known the site would sell much more than women’s and men’s fashion, and in each category—partly because our competition was nipping at our heels—we made it a priority to launch fast and get a foothold in the home, food and travel markets before other companies did.

What inspired you to write a book on your experiences? How much of ‘by invitation only’ offers lessons to inspiring entrepreneurs?

Helping other entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship dreamers is exactly why we wrote this book. We take readers through all of our toughest decisions and share many lessons we learned along the way from how to get funding to scaling, hiring and leading and everything in between. We hope the book will help entrepreneurs start the business of their dreams and grow it to its full potential.

What’s the greatest advice you received when launched Gilt?

To avoid the dire consequences of rapid growth by anticipating what could overwhelm your systems.

What are you most excited about in the next year? Where do you see Gilt five years from now?

We continue to refine our business model according to the changing needs and desires of our customers as we deepen our relationship with them. We hope to improve personalization for our members by creating a shopping environment that feels tailor made to the preferences of each of our members. Many surprises to come, but Gilt will stay true to its core.

Dow Jones VentureWire: Intel Capital and Endeavor Catalyst back Minha Vida, the ‘WebMD of Brazil’

This article is reprinted from Dow Jones VentureWire. The original version can be found here.

Intel Capital has teamed up with Endeavor Catalyst, the equity investing division of nonprofit Endeavor Global Inc., to fund Minha Vida, a health-and-wellness Web portal that one investor described as the “WebMD of Brazil.” Further details about the funding were not provided.

Founded in 2004, Minha Vida offers an all-in-Portuguese Internet portal that connects consumers to a wide range of health information, professionals and social networks related to health, company materials said. The only such service of its kind in Brazil, Minha Vida boasts 8 million visitors per month, 14 million registered users and tens of millions of page views per month.

The investment marks Intel Capital’s first Brazil investment this year, and the second ever for Endeavor Catalyst, still a fairly new part of Endeavor, said Baily Kempner, a director at Endeavor.

Intel Capital, which invests globally, backed five Brazilian companies last year, and has put a total of $75 million into Brazilian companies since it began investing there, the firm said. Intel Capital began investing in Latin America in 1999. An attempt to reach the firm was not immediately successful.

For Endeavor Catalyst, the investment follows a February investment of $2 million in Globant, a software development company headquartered in Argentina. Though part of a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurship worldwide, Endeavor Catalyst makes equity investments, with the understanding that any profits will be plowed back into the organization, which over the years has mentored and helped some 700 entrepreneurs launching new businesses, Kempner said.

New York-based Endeavor Catalyst is in the process of raising a fund that the group hopes will grow to $50 million over the next several years, and has raised $12 million to date, Kempner said. The fund does not have limited partners, but donors, she added.

Donors in the fund include True North Venture Partners Chairman Michael Ahearn, former Warner Music Group Chairman Edgar Bronfman Jr., Accretive LLC Managing Partner Michael Cline, Greylock PartnersPartner Reid Hoffman, Abraaj Capital founder Arif Naqvi and Omidyar Network founder Pierre Omidyar, Endeavor Catalyst has said.

Aggreko purchases Endeavor Entrepreneur company Poit Energia for £140 million

The Brazilian temporary infrastructure company Poit Energia, started by Endeavor Entrepreneur Wilson Poit, was recently bought by Scottish temporary power group Aggreko for £140 million GBP ($220 million USD). This marks the largest deal ever done by a Brazilian Endeavor Entrepreneur. The high sales price is also reflective of Poit’s incredible growth in the Brazilian, Chilean, Peruvian, and Argentine markets over the last 13 years. Poit earned £46 million GBP in revenue last year, and has posted a 45% compound annual growth rate over the last 3 years. They also have a fleet of over 1,300 generators, and over 450 employees in their 18 depot locations throughout Latin America, making them the largest temporary energy resource in these markets.

Started in 1999, Poit Energia has been an incredible success for founder Wilson Poit. After getting his degree in Industrial Engineering, he took a look at how to overhaul the ineffective Brazilian Generator industry. Creating a scaleable business of leasing state-of-the-art generators and temporary power equipment, Poit Energia grew quickly to dominate the market. The founder is also deeply passionate about the environment, and has integrated strict recycling and sustainability measures into Poit Energia’s business. For his work, Poit was recognized as one of the “Entrepreneurs of the New Brazil” in 2002, and in 2008 was awarded the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

However, selling his namesake company doesn’t mean that Poit will be leaving the business he grew from the ground up. As Aggreko expands their operations for the first time into Latin America, they need experts in the local market and have reached a deal to keep Wilson Poit and his management team running Poit for the next year. His expertise will be crucial for Aggreko, as they have a set goal of doubling Poit’s facilities in Latin America in the next few years. This will be the fifth acquisition of a local company which Aggreko has done in the last 4 years, and their stock price surged 1.25% after the announcement of the merger, indicating positive investor opinion of Poit’s Latin American business.

This sale will also mark the largest equity donation of an entrepreneur to Endeavor. Picked in 2002 by Endeavor’s International Selection Panel, Poit has since been a valuable and active member of the Endeavor network. When reached for comment about the sale he stated, “It is just the beginning of a long high-impact journey…I learned to dream big with Endeavor.”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Levent Yilmaz profiled in The National

Newly selected Endeavor Entrepreneur Levent Yilmaz was profiled by The National in an article highlighting the success story behind Baydöner, his restaurant chain in Turkey, which last year added 27 locations and increased revenues by 90 percent.

Much of this success comes from the founder “knowing his numbers”:

To get the biggest bang for each lira, Mr Yilmaz’s chain offers just one main dish and only six sides so that food procurement costs and food wastage are kept to a minimum. His employees are trained to turn around every order in an average of only seven minutes. And each customer is usually out the door within half an hour, with the same chair often being used more than 10 times in rapid succession, “which is providing us lots of efficiency”, said Mr Yilmaz.

At Endeavor’s recent International Selection Panel in Dubai, judges picked a total of 20 entrepreneurs, including Levent. Now he wants to expand further, including outside of Turkey.

“We need a very important thing: an international network,” Mr Yilmaz said at the selection meeting. “In Turkey and here [in Dubai], it was excellent to meet with the members of Endeavor. They gave us very good clues and strategic advice.”

Muwaffa Lahham, ISP panelist and chief executive of E3, a healthcare IT company in the UAE, was quoted as saying networks like Endeavor can help entrepreneurs to speed up the growth process by providing valuable introductions and by lending credibility to relatively unknown ventures.

“It helps a lot when you are part of an ecosystem,” said Mr Lahham, who, as a panellist during Endeavor’s event, spoke about doing business in the Middle East. “You’re just sharing your struggles and your strategies and progress and improvements, so that network is great.”

CNN’s Marketplace Middle East on Endeavor, selection panel in Dubai

Endeavor’s recent International Selection Panel (ISP) in Dubai was featured on CNN’s Marketplace Middle East program.

Following the ISP process, the report focuses on how panelists, comprised of top-tier business leaders, engage potential Endeavor companies through the rigorous selection process. With their years of experience, these panelists provide feedback and, often, constructive criticism of these companies, letting them know how they can improve their businesses and presentations. While not all feedback is positive, all of the potential selectees leave the ISP with new ideas about how to improve their companies, even the ones who don’t make the final cut.

CNN highlights the rationale for why Endeavor holds a high standard for chosen companies, only selecting those high-impact entrepreneurs which show potential for substantial growth, impressive job creation, and the potential to inspire others in their region. This is especially important in the Middle East, where unemployment has reached an all-time high and youth unemployment has reached nearly 25%. Endeavor’s model of helping among high impact companies reach their potential is cited for its potential to help alleviate this problem.

Endeavor April 2012 newsletter

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

Reminder: To receive our monthly newsletters by email, please enter your email address in the sign-up box at the bottom of our homepage.

Press release: Intel Capital and Endeavor Catalyst invest in Minha Vida, largest health and wellness portal in Brazil

You can view the original press release here.

São Paulo, April 5, 2012 – Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment and M&A organization, and Catalyst, an investment fund created by Endeavor to support companies in its portfolio, have announced an investment in the Minha Vida (“My Life”) health and wellness portal. Founded in 2004 by experienced Brazilian Internet entrepreneurs, Minha Vida is currently the biggest health and wellness portal in Brazil, attracting over eight million unique visitors per month and over 14 million registered users.

With over 10,000 articles, videos, evaluations and picture galleries created by an internal editorial team and the over 200 health professionals that contribute to the site, Minha Vida is the health channel for the top Internet portals in Brazil, including MSN, Yahoo, Terra, UOL and R7. Minha Vida currently reaches 69% of the growing health and well-being market on the Internet. This year, Minha Vida is also translating the most prominent health libraries in the world, such as ADAM and Harvard Medical School, to offer Brazilian Internet users the same medical content accessible to North Americans.

In 2011, the Minha Vida platform helped its users to achieve more than 140 tons in weight loss and over 50,000 years in aggregate of increased life expectancy. Its online dieting program, the biggest in Brazil, grew 220% in the past two years. The investment from Intel Capital and Catalyst will help Minha Vida accelerate expansion in the health and wellness market and launch new products and services for its users.

“With the significant inflow of new Internet users in Brazil, the online health and wellness sector is a promising market for entrepreneurs in this region,” said David Thomas, managing director for Intel Capital in Latin America.
“The health and wellness market has been one of the least impacted by the Internet so far. We are ready to lead this revolution. Year after year, demand for innovation in this market grows, and we think this is the right moment to invest further in this goal,” said Daniel Wjuniski, CEO of Minha Vida.

In addition to content, Minha Vida is focused on improving relationships between doctors and patients with a product currently under development. In order to lead and launch this new unit, Minha Vida has assembled a leading team of Internet executives.

Minha Vida is an Endeavor company and its highly regarded team led by founder and CEO Daniel Wjuniski and co-founders Roberto Lifschitz, Fernando Ortenblad and Sylvio de Barros were chosen as “2011 Entrepreneurs of the Year” by Ernst Young and PEGN Magazine.

Minha Vida is the first Intel Capital investment in Brazil in 2012. Since officially entering the region in 1999, Intel Capital has invested approximately US$140 million in nearly 40 companies in Latin America, with US$75 million invested in Brazilian companies. In 2011, Intel Capital invested in five companies and also expanded its local investment team, which now features four investment directors based in the region. In addition to David Thomas, the team includes investment directors Ricardo Arantes, Fabio DePaula, and Alexandre Villela.

About Minha Vida
Founded in July 2004 under the Dieta e Saúde (“Diet and Health”) brand, Minha Vida is an online portal focused on providing broad access to health and wellness information via the Internet to improve the Brazilian population’s quality of life. Minha Vida is the largest health and wellness portal in Brazil, with over 8 million unique visitors per month, 14 million registered users, 10 million visits per month and 50 million page views. In 2008, the company won the Ibest Award in the category of “Best Health Website,” “The Entrepreneur of the Year Award” from E&Y, and most recently the PEGN “Successful Entrepreneurs Award.” Since 2009, Minha Vida is an Endeavour company. Minha Vida is a privately held independent company; its revenue is obtained by selling advertisements and subscriptions to its healthy weight loss program, Dieta e Saúde – http://www.dietaesaude.com.br/.
Twitter: www.twitter/minhavida Facebook: www.facebook.com/minhavida

About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment and M&A organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, health, consumer Internet, digital media, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$10.5 billion in over 1,218 companies in 51 countries. In that timeframe, 196 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 291 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2011, Intel Capital invested US$526 million in 158 investments with approximately 51 percent of funds invested outside the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit www.intelcapital.com or follow @Intelcapital.

Kommunity Group partners with GM to distribute desks to South African children

Kommunity Group (formerly LapDesk), a portable desk company founded by South African Endeavor Entrepreneur Shane Immelman, has partnered with General Motors South Africa to distribute 475 LapDesks to disadvantaged children from the Mzomtsha Primary School in Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth. Every child at the school received their own LapDesk–a lightweight, ergonomically designed writing surface made from durable, child proof materials, which they can use at school and at home.

School principal Mntuwenkosi Mashologu said the school has 465 students and 16 teachers, but struggles with limited resources: “Most of our buildings are dilapidated and subject to vandalism. We have no paving, no administration offices, many classrooms have no electricity and conditions are generally a challenge for teaching the children.” Mashologu said at least half his students did not have proper desks where they could sit during class. “We are all very happy to have received these Lapdesks, as it will make a huge difference in the ability of learners to do their schoolwork,” he said.

While many schools in the world today use expensive advanced technologies as teaching resources, over 480 million students worldwide still lack proper desks, a most basic education tool. Shane founded Kommunity Group to overcome this barrier in South Africa by distributing portable LapDesks. His company has now distributed over 1,000,000 LapDesks in 16 countries.

Shane has been endorsed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and chosen by Harvard Business School for two case studies in its curriculum. His company remains focused on R&D, and released four new products in 2011.

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