High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Join the global conversation


Mexico’s Ver De Verdad Launches First Mobile Eyecare Network in Mexico

Ver de Verdad, founded by Endeavor Entrepreneur Hugo Moreno González, is a retailer of  affordable, high- quality and stylish eyeglasses and accessories primarily serving low-income Mexican consumers. The retailer recently announced that it is introducing […]

October 31st, 2014 — by admin

Read more

In the news

Endeavor Board Chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Discusses the Impact of Entrepreneurship with Reuters

Reuters reporter Jennifer Rogers sits down with Endeavor Board Chairman and former Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr. for its “Wealth Effect” video series to discuss his passion for philanthropy and Endeavor’s mission. The […]

December 11th, 2013 — by admin

Read more
Get RSS Feed

Two Endeavor companies win awards at the Americas Venture Capital Conference

Endeavor companies gained valuable recognition at the second annual Americas Venture Capital Conference (AVCC) in Miami last week. Endeavor companies accounted for five of the twelve companies selected to speak in front of an audience of over 200 investors and attendees. Speakers included Endeavor Entrepreneur and Global Board member Wences Casares, Endeavor Global Network member Juan Pablo Cappello, and Allen Taylor (Director, Global Networks – Endeavor).

Two Endeavor companies were prizewinners at the conference. Buscalibre (Chile) received the FedEX Access to Global Markets Prize of $10,000 in-kind services for the company’s commitment to global trade. Cinemagic (Mexico) was voted by the public on Facebook to receive the CP Capital “People’s Choice Award,” awarding Cinemagic $10,000 in investment banking services “for a company that causes ripple effects of influence on people, industries and business around them,” according to the AVCC.

The AVCC is held annually to “provide a unique forum for innovative enterprises in South Florida and Latin America to showcase their ventures, and to meet established firms and potential investors to develop strategic alliances.” More information about the conference can be found here. Congratulations to Endeavor’s speakers and prizewinners.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Endeavor Tip of the Day: Start Local but Plan to be Global

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

Today’s most admired startups – the Facebooks, Googles and LinkedIns of the world – are global companies that started in local markets. Let’s take Facebook as an example. Zuckerberg started Facebook on a very local level, testing out the original concept at Harvard College. Over time, Facebook grew nationally and then globally. Today, Facebook has more than 800 million active users, more than 75% of whom live outside of the United States.

Reid Hoffman, Endeavor Global Board Member and Founder & Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, spoke about why it’s important to “start local but plan to be global” at the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit.

“You might as well shoot for something large because you can still end up with something smaller. And part of the reason this is a rule of entrepreneurship is because if you don’t start out aiming for the big game, you almost never can get there. It’s gotta be, ‘How can I have a global impact?’ I think all high-impact companies basically have to think globally in nature these days because of the way that the market ecosystem is going. You go, ‘okay, how do I play onto that stage?’ ….One of the biggest challenges is how to build something really strong with a local focus and then participate on the global stage. For example, we launched LinkedIn with thirteen countries on the list and I think we got to the full list within four months, because as each person complained that their country wasn’t on the list, we added it in.”

Research completed by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship suggests that the most successful entrepreneurs started local but planned to be global.

Among the best entrepreneurs interviewed – those whose companies have grown at an average rate of 20% or greater over the last three years –74% focused on succeeding locally at first, in order to perfect the fundamental aspects of their business model, but they aspired to be global, and designed their business in a way that would allow them to expand globally in the future.

When Endeavor Colombia Entrepreneur Lilian Simbaqueba founded LiSim in 1996, she knew she would have to expand beyond Colombia to be high-impact.

Initially, LiSim had plenty of business opportunities in Colombia, so Lilian decided to focus first on building a very strong business in the local market. When the financial crisis hit Colombia, however, risk to LiSim’s core business increased substantially. Lilian decided the time was ripe to expand internationally. One of LiSim’s existing clients had a bank in Ecuador – creating a natural link to a new market. After Ecuador, LiSim’s geographic expansion continued, mostly by “pulling” from existing contacts and clients. ACCION International brought LiSim to Peru and Bolivia, and the World Bank to Egypt and South Africa. Throughout the expansion process Lilian had to make small adjustments to the model, but the core business model she’d perfected in Colombia has remained the same. Today LiSim operates in 20 countries.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Endeavor Tip of the Day: Get other people’s money and advice

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

Entrepreneurs can’t do it all alone: research has verified that enlisting equity investors and talented advisors helps entrepreneurs overcome early risks to their business.

Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, and the author of Mastering the VC Game and seeingbothsides.com. He spoke to Endeavor about why it’s critical to “get other people’s money and advice.”

“It is easy to fall in love with your own idea, but harder to convince others. The process of pursuing other people’s money and counsel forces a rigor of thought and battle testing of the plan. Obviously, raising capital can provide resources to help with rapid expansion, but access to the advice of investors and trusted advisors is arguably an even more important component to success. Experienced investors, such as angels and venture capitalists, are pattern matching animals that have been exposed to a wide variety of startup situations and people – allowing them to avoid common pitfalls and accelerate progress. But if you’re going to choose an investor, choose very carefully – it’s a mutual relationship. Be sure to do as much due diligence on them as they conduct on you.”

Research completed by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship found that Endeavor Entrepreneurs sought outside help by:

1. Enlisting equity investors and/or sharing financial risk with their customers and suppliers. Sixty-six percent of Endeavor Entrepreneurs interviewed had at least two funding sources when they started.

2. Seeking outside advice from mentors. Seventy-four percent of the best entrepreneurs interviewed – those whose companies have grown at an average rate of 20% or greater over the last three years – had strongly engaged mentors when they were founding their business.

Endeavor South Africa Entrepreneur Carlo Gonzaga believes that multiple heads (and check books) really are better than one.

Carlo Gonzaga started pizza chain Scooters (today under the umbrella of Taste Holdings) with about 90% of his own savings. Knowing, however, that getting outside capital would help to grow the business more quickly, he also sought additional funding sources. His first strategic investor was a casual dining restaurant group named Nando’s. Their collaboration was not strictly financial; Nando’s support not only gave Scooters more credibility as a restaurant franchiser, but also provided Carlo with knowledgeable advisors from the restaurant industry. With Nando’s executives and a board of directors as mentors, Carlo was able to quickly expand his pizza chain to other restaurant franchises.

In 2011, Taste Holdings listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Endeavor Tip of the Day: A little experience goes a long way

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

Some of the world’s most iconic entrepreneurs founded their businesses in the garage of their parents’ home. Their success often raises the question: how can young entrepreneurs with limited business experience build major corporations? It’s because a little experience goes a long way- to be high-impact, entrepreneurs often need some prior experience, but not enough to prevent them from taking risks and being flexible.

Michael Dell is the perfect case study of the rule “a little experience goes a long way.” Dell is a longtime friend of Endeavor, and his eponymous company is one of Endeavor’s leading global partners.

“When I was 16 my job prospects expanded because I was able to drive. That expanded the potential job opportunities pretty significantly. And I got a job with a local newspaper in Houston. My job was to sell subscriptions. And turns out I was supposed to do this over the phone. And I observed that people buying the newspaper had two common characteristics. One is that they were moving into a new place to live, or they were getting married. And it turns out that you can get a lot of information about people that are moving into a new place to live because they have to apply for a mortgage, and that information’s actually available. And in the state of Texas , when you want to get married you have to apply for a marriage license, and when you apply you have to put the address where you want the license sent. So I created a direct mail campaign to send an offer to subscribe to the paper to all the people in the 16 counties surrounding Travis County where Houston was. And it worked out really, really well. It was a lot of fun. It was kind of an early learning in direct marketing.

If you don’t have a lot to lose, failure’s no big deal. When I started the company, it wasn’t as if anybody was really paying attention. Learn by making mistakes, learn by doing.”

-Michael Dell at University of Texas, Austin
November 2009

Michael Dell certainly seems to have learned from his mistakes as a young entrepreneur! Today Dell is a Fortune 50 company with over $60 billion dollars in annual revenue.

A study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship confirms that “a little experience goes a long way.”

Seventy-eight percent of the best entrepreneurs we interviewed – those whose companies have grown at an average of 20% or greater over the last three years – started their business before they were 31 years old. In addition, the best entrepreneurs already had some experience as an entrepreneur. Fifty-eight percent of the best entrepreneurs had previously started a business and ninety-six percent had some entrepreneurial experience, either with family or in school, even if they had not actually started their own business.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs corroborate that “a little experience goes a long way.”

The background of Endeavor Entrepreneur Wences Casares in some ways mirrors that of Michael Dell. Wences similarly caught the entrepreneurial bug at a young age, creating a phone book directory for Patagonia, Argentina, for which earned an $80,000 profit while still in his teens. When he was just 20 years old, he took a semester off from college, borrowed $75K from friends, and started the first Internet Service Provider in Argentina. His third venture (for which he was selected by Endeavor), Patagon.com, came three years later in 1997, when he was only 23 years old. At this point in his career, Wences had already proven himself and learned a lot about start-ups as a serial entrepreneur who had felt the thirst for success and the sting of disappointment. Yet he was still a young man who could afford to take big risks and be flexible. Patagon.com, an online stock trader, ultimately became the premier financial destination in Latin America and Spain. In 2000, Wences sold a majority stake to Banco Santander for $585MM.

Wences has gone on to found several more ventures and is a dedicated mentor to many Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Global Entrepreneurship Week Endeavor Tip of the Day: Start With What You Know

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

The best business ideas are often right under your nose. When launching a company, instead of searching for a ground-breaking business idea, start with what you know. Entrepreneurs can identify a competitive advantage in an industry and get feedback more quickly if they already know the industry and potential customers. Many leading entrepreneurs have become successful by creating businesses in an area where they have prior experience.

Makeup mogul Bobbi Brown shared her insight on what “start with what you know” means to her.

“I’ve had a lifelong love affair with makeup. When I was a little girl, I used to take my mother’s makeup and paint all of my dolls’ faces, and I even painted the dog’s face! It wasn’t until I was in college trying to figure out what to do with my life that my mother asked me, ‘Pretend it’s your birthday, and if you could do anything you wanted, what would it be?’ I told her I wanted to go to Marshall Field’s and play with makeup. She said, ‘Then you should become a makeup artist.’ And I did. I was frustrated by the lack of flattering makeup options for women. The colors that were available made women look like they had makeup on — so you noticed the makeup before the woman. There was nothing on the market that accentuated a woman’s natural beauty. When I first got into making makeup, I didn’t necessarily want to start a company. I just wanted to make a lipstick that looked like lips, only better. This first lipstick became Brown No. 4 and it was a pinky brown. I realized that not all women like nude shades, so I created nine more lipstick shades inspired by different women I knew. I launched those 10 lip colors at Bergdorf Goodman in 1991—and that was essentially the start of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.”

Twenty years later Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are sold in 56 countries and 988 stores worldwide. As it turns out, “starting with what she knew” was the key to Bobbi’s success.

Data from Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship suggests that most high-impact entrepreneurs “start with what they know.”

Among the best Endeavor Entrepreneurs – those whose companies have grown at an average of 20% or greater over the last three years – 94% started businesses that met three criteria:
1. The business was in a market or industry in which the entrepreneur already had expertise;
2. The business utilized skills that the entrepreneur already had acquired; and,
3. The entrepreneur was close enough to customers that he could engage them very early and often.

Hairdresser turned High-Impact Entrepreneur by starting with what she already knew, hair.

When Heloísa Helena Assis recognized that women with curly hair (like herself) did not have access to quality hair care products in Brazil, she decided to draw on her experience as a hairdresser to develop a patented product that tames and smoothes curly locks. Shortly thereafter Heloísa and her business partners Rogério, Leila and Jair opened the first Beleza Natural salon in 1993. An immediate success, Beleza Natural quickly grew into 26 franchised salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, which today employ over 1,000 people. Each franchise serves up to 1,000 customers per day, processing up to forty clients at a time through their seven-step process. Clearly, because she herself was the target customer for Beleza Natural’s first product, Heloísa was able to develop a product that would serve customers needs for years to come and provide the basis for Beleza Natural’s success.

At Jordan selection panel, Turkish Investor Osman Ünsal offers insights on entrepreneurs

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

At Endeavor’s International Selection Panel last month in Amman, Jordan, Osman Ünsal of Turkish investment firm Atlas Corporate Finance describes the Chilean female entrepreneur and the Egyptian family business that impressed him the most, and the biggest mistakes that he saw entrepreneurs making.

27 Endeavor Entrepreneurs participate in Endeavor Digital Media Tour in NYC

A global organization in 15 countries, Endeavor supports 632 High-Impact Entrepreneurs (selected from 29,000 candidates), connecting them to a network of 2,400 top local and international business leaders who volunteer their time to provide pro-bono mentorship, advice, connections, and supports. In 2010, these executives spent over 25,000 hours mentoring entrepreneurs.

One of the popular services that Endeavor Global provides to Endeavor Entrepreneurs is access to special “Immersion Tours.” On November 9-10, 27 Endeavor Entrepreneurs from emerging markets in Latin America and the Middle East gathered in New York City for a Digital Media Tour, meeting with numerous senior executives in the digital media and advertising space from companies like Facebook, News Corporation, Huffington Post / AOL, IAC, R/GA, Edelman, Gilt Groupe, and Barclays Capital. These executives delivered presentations and offered pro-bono mentoring and support. A list of participating Endeavor companies can be found at the bottom; many of these firms are generating between $2M and $10M+ and are working with multinational clients such as Google, Facebook, Coca-Cola, Citi, Nike, IBM, and Sony.

The tour kicked off on Wednesday morning at Barclays Capital, a sponsor of the Tour, with a fireside chat with Endeavor Global Board member Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn and Partner at Greylock. Reid shared his personal entrepreneurial story and offered his assessment of the current technology landscape, including new areas for innovation.

At Barclays, Entrepreneurs also attended a panel “Investing in Online Media and Advertising Start-Ups,” which shed light on recent IPOs, future trends, and tips for entrepreneurs interested in fundraising. The panel, introduced by Paul Parker (Global Head of M&A, Barclays Capital), was moderated by David Shrier (Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Ernst & Young), and featured Endeavor Entrepreneur Mariano Suárez Battán (Co-founder, Three Melons), Greg Dalvito (Co-Head, Technology M&A, Barclays Capital), Howard Morgan (Managing Partner, First Round Capital), and Dave Morgan (Founder & CEO, Simulmedia [backed by Union Square Ventures] and angel investor). At one point, Mariano summarized many Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ view on the economic downtown: “We were ‘born’ in a crisis: Argentina in 2001. So, in 2008, when my friends in the US said that there was a crisis, I said ‘whaaaat?’ For us, a crisis is a feature, not a bug.”

Later, at Endeavor Global’s offices in Union Square, Sunny Bates (CEO, Sunny Bates Associates) moderated a panel on building a fast-growth media company, which addressed challenges surrounding building an effective team and scaling successfully. Panelists were Kirsten Nevill-Manning (International HR and Staffing, Facebook; formerly at Google) and Melanie Hughes, COO, Gilt Groupe.

Then PR expert Brian Reich (SVP and Global Editor, Edelman), drawing on lessons from his new book Shift & Reset, discussed macro issues for cultivating engagement beyond traditional strategies.

Continuing their busy day in New York, Entrepreneurs then visited R/GA, a full service advertising agency that was named Adweek‘s “Digital Agency of the Decade” as well as Adweek’s “Digital/Interactive Agency of the Year.” William Charnock (Chief Strategy Officer, R/GA) discussed some of R/GA’s most successful campaigns, and offered advice for taking advantage of various areas of advertising — from mobile and social media to visual design and digital productions — to create compelling campaigns.

On Wednesday evening, Entrepreneurs convened at the iconic Frank Gehry building that is home to IAC (InterActiveCorp), an Internet company with over 50 brands across 40 countries led by Chairman and Senior Executive Barry Diller, previously head of Paramount Pictures, Fox Broadcasting, and USA Broadcasting. A “Founders’ Panel” highlighted the experiences of founders from some of IAC’s most popular sites, in addition to David Kidder, Co-founder and CEO of Clickable. Then, at a cocktail reception at IAC, Entrepreneurs had the chance to network with IAC executives and employees, as well as various Endeavor network and board members.

The second day of the media tour (November 10) kicked off with 1:1 mentoring sessions between Endeavor Entrepreneurs and industry and subject matter experts, customized to the Entrepreneurs’ industries and specific business needs. “The mentoring sessions, like the Tour itself, were relevant, well-organized, and highly valuable,” said Endeavor Entrepreneur Ramzi Halaby (The Online Project). “We have already started implementing a number of the tips and recommendations.”

“They were amazing connections,” said Endeavor Entrepreneur David Basulto of Plataforma Networks. “Even if [some of the mentors] were from companies in different industries, they’ve gone through some of the same issues so the experience was very valuable. They were very open to collaborate with us, tell us about their insights, and connect us with people, so it’s a huge benefit for us. They’re already connecting us with the right people we’re looking for (for instance, people in advertising sales in New York).”

Jesse Dwyer (Senior Sales Development Lead, Facebook) then delivered a lively presentation on social media marketing, discussing how best to utilize Facebook as a platform and medium for building businesses and marketing to key audiences.

Entrepreneurs then divided into groups and visited companies relevant to their businesses:

– At Gilt Groupe, one of the fastest growing e-commerce sites in the U.S., Alexis Maybank (Founder & President, Premium Products and Services) and Susan Lyne (Chairman) offered advice on driving user adoption through game mechanics, leveraging online marketing and social media to build brands, and differentiating products from the competition.

– At News Corporation, a global and vertically integrated company with brands including 20th Century Fox, HarperCollins, and Sky, Entrepreneurs gained advice from Jorge Espinel (EVP, Strategy and Corporate Development – News Digital Media) and Gil Fuchsberg (SVP – News Digital Media).

– At The Huffington Post, a top news website and content aggregating blog launched in 2005 and acquired by AOL in 2011, Entrepreneurs gained advice from Jimmy Soni (Chief of Staff), Tim O’Brien (Executive Editor), and Nico Pitney (Managing Editor), among other senior staff members.

MediaVest is a division of Starcom MediaVest Group and one of the leading, full-service media specialist companies offering brand-building results and business solutions for marketing partners. Entrepreneurs spoke with Guillermo Abud, VP & Digital Director at Forty-Two Degrees at MediaVest (MV42), a leading multicultural media agency with clients such as Kraft, P&G, The Coca-Cola Company and Wal-Mart.

– At Kickstarter, the largest online funding platform for creative projects, Entrepreneurs gained valuable insights from Perry Chen, Co-founder and CEO. Specifically, Chen recounted his unique road to becoming an entrepreneur and discussed the value of finding and focusing on a niche market.

Entrepreneurs then reconvened for a visit to Google‘s New York office, before joining 600 New York and global CEOs and business leaders at Endeavor’s annual Gala, which has raised $2m and will honor Reid Hoffman and Fadi Ghandour—an event hosted by Endeavor Board chairman Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (Chairman, Warner Music Group).

Endeavor’s previous Immersion Tours have taken Endeavor Entrepreneurs to such places as Silicon Valley, Boston, India, and Israel. At the October 2010 Silicon Valley Tour, entrepreneurs met with executives at Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and eBay. December 2010’s Fashion and Design Spotlight in New York featured presentations, conversations, and panels with top fashion executives, as well as several “Behind the Seams” tours. In 2012, Endeavor plans to offer a tour in Austin and another tour in the San Francisco area.


Endeavor Entrepreneur companies that participated in the Digital Media Tour


Social Metrix (Argentina) – a leading social media analytics company in LatAm; just received investment from A&N Media
Modern Media (The Online Project) (Jordan) – launched Jordan’s #1 hit music station; now the leading Arabic social media management firm; untraditional marketing/events
SocialWire (Turkey) – online social recommendation engine (for int’l retailers who want “recommended items” on homepage à la Amazon)


Pozitron (Turkey) – a leading mobile software developer for large companies in MENA; clients include 30 Turkey Fortune 500 companies
T.A. Telecom (Egypt) – a top mobile platform in Egypt; early pioneer in mobile value-added services (VAS) industry

WEB 2.0

Akhtaboot (Jordan) – “Monster.com of the Middle East” (region that needs to create 100 million jobs by 2020)
Jeeran (Jordan) – “Yelp of the Arab world”; user-generated reviews for 8+ cities across MENA
Clandescuento (Chile) – daily discount site acquired by Groupon in June 2010 to build out Groupon Latin America
Yemeksepeti.com (Turkey) – the “Seamless/GrubHub of Turkey” (top online food delivery site); expanding internationally
Plataforma Networks (Chile) – publisher of the world’s most visited architecture website, ArchDaily (over 2M monthly visits / 18M monthly impressions; 400k Facebook fans)
Hindawi (Egypt) – Publishes 300+ open access, peer-reviewed academic journals; innovation in traditional industry; 20k editors; 400+ employees


Globant (Argentina) – top LatAm IT outsourcer; poised for U.S. public launch in 2012; Google’s first outsourcing partner; 2k employees
Three Melons (Argentina) – pioneered Argentine video game industry; acquired by Playdom in March 2010 (July 2010: Playdom acquired by Disney)
Think Arabia (Jordan) – creative production / tech firm for new media platforms; includes Kharabeesh, offbeat animation studio
Ollin Studio (Mexico) – a leading LatAm movie studio (post-production / visual effects); 2009 Oscar for visual effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dynamo (Colombia) – only PE fund for film financing in LatAm; also a leading production studio
Oruga (Colombia) – “Pixar of Colombia”; digital animation studio
Subway Link (Brazil) – pioneered closed-circuit “business TV” in Brazil (55M viewers each month)

Endeavor’s Global Entrepreneurship Week Tip of the Day: Don’t be tied to a business plan

Part of a series: Ten Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur

The following post is from an upcoming study by Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE) on key success strategies for start-ups. The study is based on interviews with 55 High-Impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from 11 countries. In honor of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we’re sharing five of our favorite “Rules for Becoming a High-Impact Entrepreneur” from this study, with input from some wise Endeavor friends. The full report will be available soon.

Forget what your professor said: some of the world’s most renowned entrepreneurs never wrote a formal business plan. These entrepreneurs argue that, while there is significant value in thinking about the fundamental aspects of a new business, being overly-committed to a paper copy of a business plan stifles an entrepreneur’s flexibility, making it difficult to adapt to challenges and to respond to new opportunities. When starting a company, you can’t be tied to a business plan.

At the 2011 Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit, Scott McNealy, the Co-Founder and former CEO of Sun Microsystems, spoke to Endeavor Entrepreneurs about the need to be flexible with a business plan.

“If you’ve gone to business school, you learn ‘gotta have a mission, gotta have a vision, gotta have strategies, gotta have objectives, and tactics.’ You write this all up and it’s called a business plan. And that’s a necessary component of what you’re doing. Now the problem is, you shouldn’t do it in hard copy; you should do it online because it’s going to change. And I tell everybody who comes into any startup that I’m involved in, things are going to change above, below, and around you faster than any other place you’ve ever been. And be prepared for that, and to accept change. You know, I don’t think that Apple knew that word processing was going to be their number one market, I don’t think IBM realized that Lotus 123 would be the reason people bought their computer at the start, I don’t think that eBay knew that Beanie Babies was going to be the thing that happened, and I don’t think that Google got started knowing that Page Rank search, selling words to the highest bidder every day was going to be their business model. So you gotta be prepared to get lucky, to be opportunistic, and have that plan.”

Data from Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship confirms that many High-Impact Entrepreneurs never wrote a business plan.

Seventy-one percent of the best entrepreneurs that C-HIE interviewed – those whose companies have grown at an average rate of 20% or greater over the last three years – did not write a business plan. And, amongst all of the entrepreneurs that C-HIE spoke with – both those that started with a paper business plan and those that started with a mental business plan – eighty percent made some change to their businesses design during start-up. These results suggest that entrepreneurs need to lay out a rough concept of future strategy; however, they should not put on paper what will likely change within minutes.

The success of Nadia and Hind Wassef, two Endeavor Entrepreneurs, affirms that entrepreneurs need not be tied to a business plan.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs and sisters Nadia and Hind Wassef didn’t write a business plan when they founded Diwan Bookstore in Cairo; they merely mapped out a basic outline of what they wanted to sell. In retrospect, they believe that if they had created a business plan, the low forecasted revenue figures might have actually dissuaded them from their entrepreneurial ventures. Instead, they opened their first bookstore based on an initial concept, and then made adjustments before opening additional locations. Nadia explained: “I never wanted a formal business plan. We just had a hunch and a very rough business plan in our heads. There was something fantastic about having the fluidity to make mistakes and having an open heart to learn from them. By far the most valuable investment we’ve ever made is our mistakes. And, if we’d had a rigid business plan, we probably would not have allowed ourselves to explore and make mistakes.”

“Exploring” and adapting their business plan seems to have been the right choice for Nadia and Hind. Today, Diwan Bookstore has ten stores in Cairo and employs over 200 people. During the 2011 Arab Spring, Nadia and Hind quickly responded to the revolution by incorporating it into their business plan: they held lectures at Diwan stores, offering Egyptians a place to congregate and discuss during troubling times.

In VentureBeat, Endeavor Entrepreneur Fatih Isbecer writes about Turkey’s growing mobile market

Mobile technology is spreading rapidly in emerging markets and this is especially true in the Middle East. With such a large young population it is “the second fastest growing mobile phone market in the world” according to a recent blog post on the popular blog VentureBeat by Endeavor Entrepreneur Fatih Isbecer, who asserts that “Turkey is leading the mobile revolution in the Middle East.”

Fatih notes that “lately, emerging markets’ key focus area has been mobile. Since 2002, mobile penetration has grown 321 percent in developing countries. Meanwhile, it’s only grown 46 percent in developed countries in the same time period.’

‘The number of mobile phone subscribers has increased from 50 million in 2006 to 80 million in 2011, including more than 20 million 3G subscribers. With the completion of mobile revolution in the country, the overall mobile penetration rate expected to reach 95 percent in 2013, from just 43 percent in 2008.”

This goes hand in hand with increased internet connectivity and use. Fatih notes that “while worldwide average time spent online is 23.1 hours per week, this number reaches 29.4 hours in Turkey.”

Such activity has not escaped the attention of multilateral corporations.

“Well-known corporations such as Vodafone, eBay, Telecom Italia and Intel Capital are only a few of the global tech players that have entered Turkey, and new ones are being added rapidly. In the last year, around $1 billion has been invested in Turkish internet-based companies, ranging from private and group shopping to daily deals.’

‘In a more tech-friendly environment, companies are trying to satisfy the expectations of a growing audience. Startups have emerged that are taking advantage of this opportunity. For example, P.I. Works is a Turkish company that provides network optimization products used by voice or data wireless operators to increase the capacity and decrease the operating and capital expenditures for mobile carriers. Another well-established start-up is the social gaming company, Peak Games, leading the gaming world both in Turkey and the Middle East.”

P.I. Works and Peak Games were both founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

According to the World Bank, more and more investors are attracted to Turkey due to “a diversified economy, proximity to Europe, integration with European markets, the external anchor of EU accession, and a lengthy track record of solid economic management and structural reform.’ For example, the government budget for R&D projects almost tripled in the last two years, enabling advancement in both finance and technology. This rapid and prominent progress in Turkey holds an example for the other countries in the Middle East.”

“Along with the start-ups that are filling various niche markets, financial companies are also pioneers of the mobile revolution, striving to provide their customers with uninterrupted service at all times.”

At the cross roads of mobile technology and financial services is mobile banking. But because of Turkey’s developed mobile market, Fatih says, “the emphasis in this country has been on sophisticated mobile banking solutions for customers of traditional banks. In this fast-paced society, people are looking for convenient ways to perform their banking activities. As of June 2010, Turkey had more than 16 million internet banking users who are processing more than 400,000 financial and non-financial transactions per month. The majority of the internet banking users are inclined to use or switch to mobile banking due to its speed and flexibility. With a share of 40 percent in the mobile banking market, IsBank is converting more clients to mobile banking every day. Banks like Doha Bank in Qatar are going into smartphone banking, following Turkey’s lead.”

‘In 2007, Turkey’s biggest bank, Isbank, partnered with my company, Pozitron,” also supported by Endeavor, “to create a unique mobile banking platform. With more than 75 different features, the platform Pozitron developed, IsCep, is one of the most sophisticated banking applications in Europe.”

In short, Turkey’s technological markets are growing every day and Endeavor is happy to be part of that growth.

Read the article in full here.

2011 Endeavor Gala honoring LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman and Aramex International Founder & CEO Fadi Ghandour raises $2 million

The 2011 Endeavor Gala, which took place Thursday evening in New York City, convened over 600 business leaders and entrepreneurs to honor Reid Hoffman, Founder & Chairman, LinkedIn, and Fadi Ghandour, Founder & CEO, Aramex International- considered the FedEx of the Middle East, as High-Impact Entrepreneurs of the Year. In total, the Gala raised over $2 million to support Endeavor Global and its 632 High-Impact Entrepreneurs.

In addition to remarks from Hoffman and Ghandour, attendees heard from Herb Allen III, Allen & Co.; Linda Rottenberg, Endeavor Co-Founder & CEO; Arif Naqvi, Founder & Group CEO, Abraaj Capital, and Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Chairman, Warner Music Group, and Endeavor Global Chairman. The evening ended with a smashing performance by UK sensation Lianne La Havas.

Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg said that while every Gala is unique, she was particularly thrilled to honor two Endeavor Board Members this year. “Our honorees truly exemplify what it means to be ‘high-impact.’ Aside from being phenomenal entrepreneurs, both Reid and Fadi are committed to giving back to the next generation of talent.’ Endeavor could not have been more excited to honor Reid and Fadi, or more grateful for Reid and Fadi’s participation as board members of Endeavor Global and Jordan, respectively.”

Hear Reid and Fadi’s insights on the meaning of “high-impact” in this short video:

The 2011 Endeavor Gala came on the heels of the Endeavor Entrepreneur Digital Media Tour, at which over 20 Endeavor Entrepreneurs participated in panel discussions with Reid Hoffman, met with leading media and advertisement executives, and visited top firms including R/GA, The Huffington Post, and IAC.

Below, check out a special video created for the Gala by Kharabeesh, an Endeavor company in Jordan:

And finally, here are some wonderful speeches from the evening:

Linda Rottenberg:

Arif Naqvi:

Fadi Ghandour:

Reid Hoffman:

Edgar Bronfman, Jr.:

Contact us

Press center


Newsletter Sign Up