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Endeavor Hosts Retail, Food & Beverage Tour for Endeavor Entrepreneurs, Features Presentations from Top Industry Brands

Endeavor hosted a Retail, Food & Beverage Industry Tour for select entrepreneurs in its network, providing them with a rare look into the operations of  some top global brands in each industry. The two-day tour included a mix […]

November 19th, 2014 — by admin

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El Economista and Forbes Mexico Profile “The 6-30 Report” by Endeavor Insight

El Economista and Forbes Mexico, two of Mexico’s top finance and business news outlets, recently featured Endeavor Insight’s “The 6-30 Report“, which highlights the contributions of scaleup companies to the nation’s economy. Part of a series from Endeavor Insight focused on scaleup ecosystems worldwide, the […]

January 16th, 2014 — by admin

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What being an advisor to 17 companies taught me

Reprinted from www.quicksprout.com. See the original post here.

By Neil Patel

To this date I have been an advisor to 17 companies. 16 of these advisory positions were obtained 3 to 5 years ago and I joined 1 more in the last year. Over time I dropped a decent amount of these advisory positions, but before I get into that, let me first explain what being an “advisor” is.

Companies can grant stock options to individuals who aren’t employees. The stock options usually vest over a period of 3 or 4 years and in exchange for the stock you have to help the company out with whatever they need.

If the company does well, the stock options will be worth a lot and you will have made more money in the long run than if you just asked for cash up front for your advice. On the flip side if the company fails, your stock is worth 0 dollars and you don’t get anything for your time.

In my case companies would ask me for marketing help and instead of paying me in cash for my advice they would offer me stock options. By doing this 17 times, here is what I learned:

Cash is king

Out of all of the companies I agreed to be an advisor for, 3 or 4 are failing, 8 to 10 are doing alright, and a few are doing extremely well. But even then, the money that I will earn from all of my stock grants will probably only make me somewhere in the 7 figures, but if I had charged my normal consulting fee, I would have made a lot more money.

Now granted, each company wouldn’t be able to afford my consulting rates and as a consultant I would have to put in much more time compared to being an advisor, but none-the-less I would have came ahead if I just charged a consulting fee.

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Why building an entrepreneurial culture extends beyond business creation alone

Reprinted from www.wamda.com. See the original post here.

By Nafez Dakkak

There has been a lot of talk recently, both globally and regionally, about the importance of creating an entrepreneurial culture, and the role such a culture can play in an economic recovery. Calling for an “entrepreneurial revolution” should definitely be one of the priorities of the world today; however, we need to make sure we do not define entrepreneurship too narrowly. In its essence entrepreneurship is about a proactive mindset that encourages ownership of surrounding problems in society, sees them as opportunities, and embraces the risks and failures involved in finding a solution.

In most cases, discussions about creating an entrepreneurial culture focus exclusively on endeavors to establish a business-centric ecosystem of workers and employees. Yet entrepreneurs are daredevils and business owners who are not found in our everyday environments. I believe an emphasis only on business is too narrow and can be very detrimental in the long run.

With the highest youth unemployment rate globally, job creation should definitely be a key priority for MENA economies. Nevertheless, a narrow focus on job creation alone misses a great opportunity to radically improve the region’s future. Governments and other entities working on establishing an entrepreneurial culture should not overlook the importance of creating a proactive and entrepreneurial citizenry outside the workplace.

In the new Middle East, we must not forsake any of the potential positive change an entrepreneurial revolution can bring. We must see entrepreneurship through a larger and more holistic lens. An entrepreneurial revolution must encompass all members of society in their different capacities and describe a culture that takes ownership of its problems and thinks critically and creatively of solutions – even if these solutions are outside of a business framework and don’t result in the creation of actual companies. Under this framework, the teacher that employs technology in the classroom to engage his students is an entrepreneur whether he fails or succeeds. Similarly, the company CEO who takes time after work to raise awareness about important local issues is an entrepreneur, whether she succeeds in solving the lack of information problem or not.

Entrepreneurship has the chance to play a central role in moving the Middle East forward and creating a more engaged and active civil society. Its rise presents the chance to create a culture that values and practices lifelong learning and takes direct ownership of all its problems. The promotion of such a society can only lead to a better environment for nurturing companies and start-ups. Existing and future companies will exist in a region where the general population is entrepreneurial by nature and no longer sees problems as obstacles but as opportunities for positive change and improvement.

In an opinion piece for CNN, Marwan Muasher stated that “[w]hat has taken place in the Arab world is the start of a genuine and permanent process of change where the average citizen suddenly discovered real power.” Moving forward, governments in the region and others working on creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem should leverage this change to empower citizens to become entrepreneurs that find organic and culturally sensitive solutions to the problems facing us today.

Nafez is a recent Yale Alum who majored in Economics and International Studies. Nafez wrote his Yale thesis on Obstacles towards curriculum reform in Jordan and the UAE. He is currently a consultant for PricewaterhouseCooper’s Education Team based in Dubai. He is interested in Education Reform, MENA politics, social entrepreneurship, and tech start-ups and is a firm believer in the power of gamfication. His main passion is the intersection between technology and education entrepreneurship.

Mentors: an essential engine for growth

Reprinted from informationarbitrage.com. See the original post here.

By Roger Ehrenberg

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become increasingly reflective on the seemingly random twists and turns in my life. Most of this consideration has gone towards my professional life, as I was blessed with meeting my life partner in college and, therefore, my personal life has largely been “up and to the right” since meeting the person of my dreams. But oh, that career… As I’ve thought deeply about exactly how I arrived at my current circumstance, there is a common element that has influenced each twist and turn I’ve taken: trusted mentors. While there is no doubt that I’ve done the work, taken the risks and pushed myself to the brink, it would be both disingenuous and inaccurate to say that I’ve done it completely on my own: I’ve been influenced by many great people who have, and continue to have, a marked impact on my thought process and decision-making. It actually boggles my mind to think about the generosity and helpfulness provided by these individuals, whether advice and counsel on a specific issue, hugely valuable contacts they’ve made or just a kick in the ass to say “keep it up,” they’ve without question had a material and positive impact on my outcomes (for which I feel incredibly fortunate). So, this message is both a call to action to the ambitious, curious and those hungry for guidance and a shout out to mentors everywhere who have positively impacted the destinies of their acolytes: because you rock. And I regularly try and give back in this same way, as I know the power of the mentor role and how beneficial it can be for the right person thirsting for such coaching and empowerment.

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The recession’s silver lining

Reprinted with permission from Smallbiztrends.com. See the original post here.

By Rohit Arora

Did the recession ever really end? Technically, we are in a recovery, but there is little growth in the economy, employment and wages are stagnant, home prices and consumer confidence both continue to drop, and retail sales are down. The immediate future doesn’t look bright. However, the bright side is that now may the best time for people with the entrepreneurial itch to scratch it and go into business for themselves.

How can I advise starting a business when things seem so uncertain and credit markets are thought to be tight? There are several reasons:

1) Job Growth Is Almost Nonexistent

Washington’s stimulus efforts haven’t worked. Meanwhile, corporations have reduced their workforces, gotten increased productivity out of their remaining workers, and felt no need to hire when times got better. The result: higher corporate earnings but few new jobs. Those who have been out of work for six months or more now realize that the government and big companies are not going to create jobs for them.

The answer is to create your own employment. If you have ever dreamed about starting your own company, now is the time to take the bull by the horns (or the bear by its tail) and go for it.

2) Low-Cost Capital Is Available

With housing sales down, banks are not making money from granting mortgages, yet financial institutions cannot generate profits without making loans. While the largest banks have other sources of income and strict lending criteria, smaller banks and nonbank lenders (credit unions, nonprofit institutions and others) have less stringent requirements and are more likely to lend to entrepreneurs.

These lenders may not be as well known as the big guys, but they are making loans — often at better interest rates than the large banks are able to offer. While some experts are saying that capital markets are too tight, the reality is there are lots of lenders out there looking to make loans. Do not be discouraged.

3) Technology Makes It Easier to Go Into Business Than Ever Before

All aspects of starting a business are easier now than ever before because of technology:

– Searching for funding? You can find it online through a loan-matching website.

– Don’t know how to keep your books? You can search the Internet for a CPA or hire a free lance, part-time CFO through Elance.com, which helps thousands of businesses hire and manage online. The site enables companies to find and hire qualified professionals without having to take on full-time employees.

– Need help with your marketing? Conduct a Google search to find a local PR or marketing firm (they are all hungry right now) or take matters into your own hands by using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other forms of social media. You don’t need a journalism degree or marketing MBA to take advantage of the free resources on the Internet that can help you promote your business.

4) America Has a Heritage of Entrepreneurship

Small business growth has historically led the U.S. out of past recessions. This is likely to be the case again during the current downturn. Small businesses create two-thirds of the new jobs in this country. Creating an atmosphere to nurture and develop startup companies is vital to America’s recovery.

Whether or not the country is still in a recession is a topic for debate. But our instincts tell us the economy is not great right now. This is an opportunity to take the risk and pursue the American Dream. I know this because I started my company just as Lehman Brothers collapsed. It was difficult, but we came out stronger for it.

Success isn’t going to come to you; you must go after it yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of people and resources available — often easily accessed online — to help you do it.

Image from Peter Baxter/Shutterstock

A frequently quoted expert on small business lending and recently named the “Top Entrepreneur of 2011” by Crain’s New York Business, Rohit Arora is CEO of Biz2Credit, which connects small business owners with 400 lenders, credit rating agencies and service providers. Since 2007, Biz2Credit has secured $400 million in funding for small businesses across the U.S. via its safe, efficient online platform.

Financing Latin America’s entrepreneurs

Reprinted from www.latinbusinesschronicle.com. See the original post here.

By Jerry Haar

Venture capital is a driver of entrepreneurship in Latin America.

Venture capital (VC) is one of the most challenging yet promising arenas of finance in the Americas today. While much attention has centered on the U.S. venture capital market, in the wake of the 2008-2010 financial downturn in that country, Latin America is emerging as the next frontier for entrepreneurial funding.

Funding for Private Equity (PE) and VC deals in Latin America more than doubled from 2009 to 2010, topping $8.1 billion. As for the first half of 2011, LAVCA (Latin American Venture Capital Association) reports nearly $7.5 billion in fundraising and investments—impressive performance by any measure. Nonetheless, VC represents only a tiny portion of the PE/VC category in Latin America. Compared with the United States, VC comprises 25 percent of total VC/PE commitments; in Latin America, it is just 5 percent. In 2010, the average PE deal size in the region increased significantly. Deals valued at $100 million and over jumped 100 percent from the previous year. Clearly there is a lot of room for growth in mid-market deals.

The average deal size also increased to about $41 million last year from roughly $19 million in 2009. It can be that private equity investors are beginning to perceive the long-term benefits of investing in Latin America which makes prices go up; or it can also be that capital flows are inflating the local market.

The 2011 edition of the Scorecard on the Private Equity and Venture Capital Environment in Latin America reflects a stable regulatory environment in which the top ranking countries are Chile, Brazil, and Mexico. In the past, Latin American businesses traditionally have been starved for capital, with bank credit tight and shallow public markets. Access to debt financing was just beginning to expand when the credit crisis first hit in 2007. Today, despite macroeconomic turbulence in Europe and the anemic recovery in the U.S., global investors are expanding their presence in major Latin American economies, amidst an increasing awareness of the importance of private equity and venture capital in local markets. At the same time, fund managers have actively engaged regulators on industry-specific rules and regulations. A fundamental distinction between developed world private equity and those that are increasing in Latin America is the relative lack of leverage in Latin American deals.

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Fawaz Zu’bi: Why entrepreneurs need more confidence

Reprinted from Wamda.com. See the original post here.

By Nina Curley

At Endeavor’s International Selection Panel last October in Amman, Jordan, Fawaz Zu’bi, founder of Jordanian venture capital firm Accelerator Technology Holdings and Endeavor Jordan board member, describes why entrepreneurs need a confidence boost, and what it means for Jordan to host entrepreneurs from other emerging markets.

Top 10 accelerators in MENA, according to WAMDA

Reprinted from www.wamda.com. See the original post here.

By Nina Curley

So you’ve written a quick pitch of your idea, sketched out your market, come up with some monetization options, taken stock of your competitors, and determined what (you hope) is your competitive advantage. Now you’re looking for a quick few months of investment and mentorship that will bring your startup from idea stage to funding.

Fortunately, in the Middle East and North Africa, a new slew of accelerators have emerged in the past year to bring Silicon Valley models to the region. Most of them borrow heavily from the Y Combinator model, in which startups are given a relatively small amount of seed investment in exchange for a slice of equity, and then sent through a period- typically three months- of intensive mentorship. The model has proved successful in Silicon Valley, as Y Combinator alone has churned out 316 startups, including Dropbox, Posterous, Scribd, reddit, and Disqus.

Here are some accelerators that you can apply to in the MENA region:

Oasis 500
Based: in Amman, Jordan.
Launched: August, 2010 by a board of directors led by Usama Fayyad, previously Yahoo’s Chief Data Officer.
Model: Tech-oriented startups must first apply and complete a six-day intensive Boot Camp. Qualified startups proceed to receive 10,000 JD (~ $14,000) and three of mentorship at Oasis500, for 10% equity. Startups that demonstrate growth qualify for a second round of investment up to 50,000 JD (~ $70,000), another three months of incubation, and a chance to pitch to a global network of investors at Oasis500’s Angel Network event.
Famous Alumni: MarkaVIP, Wheels Express

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Failure: what is it good for?

Reprinted from www.wamda.com. See the original post here.

By Alaa Rady

Failure is perhaps the most important teacher for any entrepreneur. Although failure is often treated as a taboo in school and university, where repeating a year or having to re-do courses causes our parents to look down on us, once we graduate and join the real-life work-force, failure becomes one of the main aspects of hands-on learning.

Often, entrepreneurs who failed before have a higher chance of success in their new start-ups, thanks to the learning they accumulated from prior failures. No successful businessman that I know has known success only without failure; most successful entrepreneurs have failed more times than they have succeeded. But the successes they achieved eventually compensated for all their prior failures. So, in my opinion, failure is one of the most important metrics by which an entrepreneur can gauge his progress.

Even investment vehicles structure their models by taking failure rates into account- so why shouldn’t we? A typical venture capital investment model estimates that 8 out of 10 portfolio ventures will fail or stagnate, while the other 2 will produce returns that compensate for the rest.

Over the past 10 years, I have had a similar return rate: I’ve been a part of seven new ventures, four of which failed at different stages, two stagnated, and one succeeded, compensating me for all the prior failures and more. Here I will share with you my failures, and the lessons I learned with each.

1. The Bogus Business Plan

I started my first entrepreneurial venture in 2002, with my friend Mina Guirguis, who had the idea to start Zambaleta, an arts, music and entertainment resort in Egypt. We drew up the idea, gathered market data, and created a business model, and then entered the MIT Arab business plan competition. After reaching the semi-final round and receiving encouraging feedback, we wanted to launch the company and seek investment. After a lot of effort, we convinced a major Egyptian businessman in tourism and entertainment to take a look at our business plan during a car ride. As he sifted through the papers, he was initially impressed by the idea, until he reached the part that discussed our salaries and the percentage of equity we wanted to retain… at which point he opened the car window and threw the business plan out!

In the ened, my partner Mina ended up moving back to the US and starting the project as an NGO based in San Francisco, and we learned- powerfully- how to present better in the future.

2. Trying to Get a Free Lunch

Another failure of mine was my attempt to build a company to manufacture and distribute food products. I started the venture with a partner and booked “free” government land, in an area of Cairo called Maidoum in Bani Sweif, Egypt. We prepared the initial business plans and drafted potential financing partners… but what we forgot to look at were the conditions associated with this “free” land. As we reviewed our paperwork nine months later, we realized that the “free” land had operational conditions linked to it, such that the land would be taken away from us three months later! We eventually succeeded in returning the land, and unblocking the credit guarantees we had submitted to book the land, although not without with some financial losses. Fortunately our losses were not too heavy. Since then I have not missed looking at one single clause in any contract I sign, and I take contracts very seriously.

3. Not Enough Flow

When I lived in Algeria in 2005-2006, I supported a friend of mine in starting up her own advertising and PR agency, VectorGraphics. The venture rose quickly, becoming one of the largest ten PR and advertising agencies in Algeria in less than a year. We made a critical mistake, however, in forgetting that the venture’s growth depends upon cash flow. We never bothered to look at the cash flow statement, ended up running short on working capital, and had to file for bankruptcy despite having signed a contract for $1million.

The second mistake we made was over-working my partner. She took on almost all of the sales and management duties, even though we had more than 10 other employees. Once she got married and went on maternity leave, none of the other employees came close to filling 10% of her role. There I learned the importance of building up an institution, rather than a company based on a single person.

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Inc. spotlights Endeavor Entrepreneur Wences Casares, and his $750 million “mistake”

One of the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected in Argentina and Endeavor Global Board member Wences Casares said in a recent interview in Inc. that after selling his first company, Patagon, for $750 million and having several other successful exits, he “is not embarrassed by being a serial entrepreneur, but I am not proud of having sold so many companies.”

Wences explains that he “would have much preferred to build one company and take it to its full potential…I think that being a serial entrepreneur should be at best something that happens, but not something you strive to be. You want to build the best company possible.”

While Wences believes selling “ultimately represents a failure” he understands that “sometimes there’s just not many options. Sometimes you have investors and you have a really attractive offer on the table, and that’s what happened to me. The offer on the table was so attractive that the investors didn’t want to take the risk of not accepting. You knew that could happen when you accepted their money, so you have to go with them. There are different ways to do it, though. You can take the company public, or sometimes you can replace VC investors with private equity investors.”

Along with investors, entrepreneurs must also consider employees. “When you have an offer to be acquired, you as a founder may be willing to take on that risk because you believe it can be a stand-alone company and make it much bigger. But it’s also fair that when some of your key people may say ‘Hey, this equity would change my life, and it would make me very uncomfortable to put it all at risk for a few more years.'”

As a global board member of Endeavor and a founding partner of MECK, a private investment firm, Wences tells entrepreneurs that they need to get stuff done to impress investors. “Being an entrepreneur, after all, is really just being a do-er. It’s impossible to judge your capacity to get things done by a PowerPoint or how articulate you are as a talker or how polished your pitch is. The only thing that hints to how you are as a do-er is by looking at what you’ve actually done.”

Wences admires a “real entrepreneur who is driven by a driven by market need and by some passion and vision” rather than what he calls “entrepreneurship groupies” who aspire to be serial entrepreneurs. Wences hopes to see less focus on raising funds and more focus on building “the best company possible.”

Endeavor December 2011 newsletter

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

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