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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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Endeavor Entrepreneurs Silvina Leibenberg and María Noel Ache Featured on CNN en Español

Endeavor Uruguay Entrepreneurs Silvina Leibenberg and María Noel Ache were both  featured on CNN en Español for their work as successful female entrepreneurs. Silvina Leibenberg appeared on the channel’s “America Latina: Fuerza En Movimiento” series, which spotlights successful  business leaders and entrepreneurs […]

January 2nd, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor takes center stage at Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Istanbul

Note: be sure to follow the Summit on Twitter: #ESummit2. Special thanks to Ludmilla Figueiredo and Büke Çuhadar for contributing reporting.

CLICK HERE to read Endeavor’s official press release.

This week, over 120 Endeavor network members gathered in Istanbul to participate in the 2nd Global Entrepreneurship Summit (December 3-6), hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Along with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg delivered a keynote address.

In addition to speaking on two panels, Didem Altop, Managing Director of Endeavor Turkey, participated in an exclusive meeting with the Vice President during which he complimented the work of Endeavor.

The Summit, which has brought together 2,000 top entrepreneurs from Turkey and around the world, is a follow up to the U.S. President Barack Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship held in Washington in April 2010.

Joe Biden spotlights Endeavor Entrepreneurs

In his opening speech, Joe Biden emphasized the importance of fostering global entrepreneurship, moving beyond policies to create ecosystems for entrepreneurs to succeed. Describing the new class of visionaries leading the entrepreneurial revolution, he shared the stories of two Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Turkey–Alemşah Öztürk (41?29!) and Bedriye Hülya (b-fit).

Linda Rottenberg’s keynote

Following an introduction by Lorraine Hariton (Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs, U.S. Department of State), Linda Rottenberg delivered a 30-minute address in which she highlighted the rise of global high-impact entrepreneurship. “Innovators from around the world can imitate, emulate, or leapfrog their Silicon Valley counterparts,” she said. She proceeded to break down 10 common myths about entrepreneurship, including the belief that all entrepreneurs are equally effective drivers of economic growth and that the same companies that create lots of wealth also create lots of jobs.

Linda ended by relating a recent conversation she heard in the Middle East when Steve Jobs died, in which young people said: “Who knew that he was just like us? His father was Syrian! But good thing he didn’t live in the Middle East or Apple wouldn’t exist.” “That’s when I knew that our work is not done,” Linda continued. “Let’s ease the heavy lifting. Together, we can make the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, the new cradle of entrepreneurship.”

Endeavor network members attending and speaking at the Summit

Numerous Endeavor board members around the world are attending the Summit, including Arif Naqvi (Abraaj Capital), Fadi Ghandour (Aramex), Vuslat Doğan Sabancı (Hürriyet), Ferit Şahenk (Doğuş Grubu), Işık Keçeci Aşur (Aragon Capital), Murat Özyeğin (FINA Holding), and Fawaz Zu’bi (Accelerator Technology Holdings).

In addition to Linda Rottenberg, Arif Naqvi, and Didem Altop, network members with prominent speaking roles include Erhan Erkut (Endeavor Advisory Board member / Ozyegin University), Ferit Sahenk (Endeavor Turkey Board member / Dogus Holding), Christopher Schroeder (Endeavor global network member / HealthCentral), and Ken Morse (Endeavor global network member / Entrepreneurship Ventures).

Numerous network members also had speaking roles in parallel events organized by Endeavor Turkey, including Endeavor Entrepreneurs Ahmet Ozgun (Speedcity), Alemsah Ozturk (41?29!), Ali Ozgun (Speedcity), Basar Akpinar (PIWorks), Bedriye Hulya (bFit), Bulent Celebi (AirTies), Emre Mermer (Dukkan), Firat Isbecer (Pozitron), Fatih Isbecer (Pozitron), and Nevzat Aydin (yemeksepeti.com). Other speakers included Buke Cuhadar (Staff member, Endeavor Turkey), Isik Kececi Asur (Board member, Endeavor Turkey), Kaan Gur (Akbank), and Jonathan Ortmans (Kauffman Foundation – Global Entrepreneurship Week).

Special session on entrepreneurship

The close of the first day featured a session with Arif Naqvi (Board member, Endeavor Global), Ferit Sahenk (Board member, Endeavor Turkey), and Leonard Schlesinger (President, Babson College), moderated by Guven Sak (Director, TEPAV). Calling Endeavor a “very smart NGO,” Arif discussed Endeavor’s model of searching for an supporting high-impact entrepreneurs.

Arif went on to identify entrepreneurs as tenacious, passionate risk-takers who were at the same time risk-minimizers with obsessive attention to detail, irrational optimism and the ability to improvise. He entreated the MENA region to: 1) better protect intellectual property and thus encourage innovation, 2) create more institutions of higher education (fewer universities in MENA than in Japan!); and 3) minimize the stigma of failure (e.g., create bankruptcy law, as Turkey has).

Ferit, meanwhile, discussed his experience attending Endeavor’s recent International Selection Panel in Jordan (Oct 2011). He told the story of a Turkish Endeavor Entrepreneur who traveled to Silicon Valley and stalked investors in a coffee shop until he convinced them to invest, using the anecdote to illustrate that the best entrepreneurs will always raise money–i.e., a lack of capital is not the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship in emerging markets.

After further group discussion about Endeavor, Arif emphasized the importance of mentorship, and of creating a culture where success is celebrated but so is learning from failure.

The Endeavor Lounge

The event venue featured an “Endeavor Lounge,” an area that showcases Endeavor Entrepreneurs (some of whom are delivering presentations) and recognizes Endeavor country offices and board members.

Investor Network Trek

In addition to attending the Summit, Endeavor Entrepreneurs, board members, and mentors participated in seven related events organized by Endeavor Turkey–including an Investor Trek, Gala, two panels, two roundtables, and one “speed networking” session.

Endeavor’s two-day “Investor Network Trek” (December 1-2) assembled many top international and local investors, culminating in a massive “speed networking” session with over 200 investor-entrepreneur introductions in one two-hour window.

During special pitch sessions, Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Arvento, Digitouch, Jeeran, Pozitron, Tiaxa, and Yemeksepeti had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to local, regional, and international investors.

A panel, “Why Turkey? Why Now?” featured some of Turkey’s top web gurus (Ali Karabey, Managing Partner – 212 Venture Capital; Alp Saul, CEO – Pronet Security Systems; Emre Kurttepeli, Founder – Mynet Group; Melih Ödemiş, CIO & Co-founder – Yemeksepeti), many of whom left the country to study but returned to build high-impact enterprises. The consensus was that Turkey is experiencing an entrepreneurial boom, with significantly opportunity especially in the tech space.

A discussion, “Beyond Turkey: Investors’ Perspectives on MENA and other Emerging Markets,” spotlighted the current investment climate.

Endeavor Turkey Gala

Endeavor Turkey celebrated its 5th anniversary with a Grand Gala on December 2nd at Four Seasons the Bosphorus Hotel. More than 300 people, including many top Turkish business leaders and investors that are part of Endeavor’s network, attended the annual event. This year’s Gala honored Ferit Sahenk, Doğus Group Chairman and Endeavor Turkey’s newest Board member, who was introduced by last year’s honoree, Hüsnü Özyeğin (Chairman, Fiba Holding), who was a close friend of Ferit’s late father.

During his speech, Ferit threw aside his cue cards and with a quivering voice, shared that he had often wished to hear more words of praise or encouragement from his late father–making the evening’s recognition by his peers more meaningful than expected. He admitted that he had avoided Endeavor for several years due to a challenging period restructuring the organization, and said that following an epiphany at the recent Jordan selection panel in October, he recognizes the inspirational power of the organization–not only for entrepreneurs but for mentors.

Acknowledging the progress of Endeavor Turkey, the board’s Chairman, Özcan Tahincioğlu, mentioned that Endeavor Turkey now supports 37 Entrepreneurs representing 28 companies, who together have created 1,550 high-value jobs and grew by 51% in 2011, generating US$183 million.

Abraaj Capital was one of the main sponsors of the Gala and many of its top managers and partners including the Founder and Group CEO Arif Naqvi were present.

Another highlight of the event was the screening of a special video, “Adventures of Mini Entrepreneur,” produced by Jordan-based Endeavor company Kharabeesh (Think Arabia).

Note: scroll to the bottom to check out Gala photos.

Linda Rottenberg featured in Summit newsletter

Rottenberg was featured on the cover of the official Summit newspaper, in which she is quoted as follows:

I am extremely honored to participate in this landmark Entrepreneurship Summit, generously hosted by Prime Minister Erdoğan. As I look forward to discussing in my keynote address, Turkey has become an extraordinary hub of innovation and a catalyst for entrepreneurship in growth markets around the globe. Increasingly, the world is looking to Turkey as an example of a successful ecosystem of entrepreneurship—with a growing network of mentors, investors, and role models.

The timing is right for this Summit. From the debt crisis in Europe to the wave of revolutions in the Middle East, the world is clamoring for new solutions. What we at Endeavor call “high-impact” entrepreneurs remain an important driver of growth: they generate wealth and opportunity, create high-value jobs, and serve as inspirational role models for the next generation. Together, they foster a culture of “thinking big,” where young people grow up learning to take risks and innovate.

At the Summit, I’m especially proud to be joined by the Endeavor Turkey network and board members, as well as by many other outstanding support organizations and entrepreneurs from around the world. Supporting and spotlighting High-Impact Entrepreneurs is crucial, and major events like this are important for promoting collaboration among key stakeholders—from CEOs and investors to entrepreneur support organizations, universities, media organizations, and the government. Together, let’s make it happen.

The next Summit

It was announced that in 2012, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit will be hosted in the 2012 during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week, with the partnership of the Kauffman Foundation.

2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship

The Entrepreneurship Summit was a follow-up to U.S. President Obama’s Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington, D.C. in April 2010, aimed at “deepen[ing] ties between business leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.” Endeavor played a prominent role in this inaugural summit; Linda Rottenberg and Endeavor Jordan founding board member Fadi Ghandour spoke on a panel about fostering an entrepreneurial culture (watch the YouTube recording), and four Endeavor Entrepreneurs were selected to attend as delegates. Endeavor also released a survey of 66 Middle East entrepreneurs which underscored the relevance of the Summit for highlighting the promise of entrepreneurial solutions to addressing common challenges.

Congratulations to the entire staff of Endeavor Turkey for playing a major role in this landmark Summit.

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Ferit Sahenk (left) and Özcan Tahincioglu (right)

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Vuslat Dogan Sabanci

Endeavor Turkey Gala: Husnu Ozyegin

Endeavor Lounge (Global Entrepreneurship Summit)

5 tips for turning failure into success

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

By Khaled AlSaleh

Failure is terrible. It’s a word we often associate with losing. And yet, when I failed, my so-called failure led to my working for an excellent company and doing something I truly enjoy. So I’m here to reassure you that failure can be a step forward.

Over a year ago, when I had the opportunity to start a new venture, the possibility that I might fail never crossed my mind. I was reminded time and again that if I failed, I’d be left unemployable. But this wasn’t me; I had a brilliant career and every reason to think I’d succeed. I was told to visualize success, and so I did.

I had met a company in South Africa that wanted to expand to the Middle East, and everything about the idea seemed promising. They were a small firm with a great track record and a spectacular team. After a few rounds of meetings and interviews, we agreed to set up an office in Dubai in April 2010.

So what caused us to fail? It was a gradual process. We underestimated our competition, overestimated the value of our proposition, mispriced, and entered a fiercely competitive market at a time when incumbents were hungry for business at any price. We simply did not get enough business. It was a lonely day in Dubai when I was told that the company’s “Middle East experiment” simply hadn’t worked out and we would have to call it quits.

Yet, while failure is awful, I learned a lot by not succeeding. As Edison once said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Here are some of the lessons that I took away:

1. Assess your next investors wisely.

Investors have families, responsibilities and bills to pay. When they choose to take a risk on you, don’t treat it lightly. Next time I face potential investment, I won’t jump on the opportunity, but rather will carefully assess my chances of success.

2. Learn what you don’t like to do.

Successful businesses aren’t successful because of a grand idea or a brilliant team. They’re successful because they execute well. Starting a business is like wearing a tight wetsuit; your flaws are accentuated and you feel exposed. But you learn quickly what you can and can’t execute well. Before starting this adventure, I had a good idea of what I enjoyed doing. But once I slipped into the wetsuit, I realized just how little I enjoyed cold-calling potential clients. Cold calling is an extreme sport; the highs are great but it can be crushing when companies say no. It was crucial to learn what I didn’t like doing.

3. Build a structure that keeps you sane.

It’s fun starting a business, and it’s easy to let it take over your life. But it’s also inherently lonely and stressful, so don’t let it consume you. It’s important to make time and do the things you enjoy doing, like going out for a run, staying healthy and staying in touch with your friends. I let all that slip, and it definitely affected my mood.

4. Find a good mentor.

After we failed, I went into survival mode in order to keep supporting my family, and I was lucky to have a mentor guiding me at the time. I met up with him less than a week after the business folded, when I desperately needed guidance. He’d successfully started a similar business and had invaluable advice. He alerted me to mistakes we made, especially the fact that, in our marketing approach, we hadn’t properly minded our Ps and Cs (product, price, promotion, place, consumer, cost, convenience, and culture).

5. Bring What You’ve Learned to Your Next Job

My mentor also helped me build a list of companies to target for my next job. Prior to each interview, I prepared by researching each company, practicing interviews with friends, and thinking about the lessons I had learned. I now had great answers to the question, “Tell me about a time when you had failed.” Not only did I have stories, but I wasn’t shy of admitting my mistakes. Within three months, byAugust, I was gainfully employed, doing something I enjoy.

I felt that interviewers admired both my honesty and my self-awareness. Many people want to be entrepreneurs, but very few venture out on their own. Most of the better employers want someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. They knew that if you had succeeded, then you wouldn’t be at the interview now, but having a true entrepreneurial spirit is still more important than claiming one.

So, to all you would-be entrepreneurs I’ll leave you with this: the worst that can happen if you fail is that you’ll learn about yourself and get closer to having a job that you truly love. Will working another year or two in a job you don’t like bring you closer to that? Probably not. So prepare for success, but appreciate failure.

I’ll part with the words of successful regional entrepreneur Habib Haddad: Yalla Startup!

Former Endeavor Fellow mentioned in New York Times

The New York Times spotlighted former Endeavor Fellow Lawrence Langowski. The article follows Lawrence’s journey from wrestling for Mexico in the 2008 Beijing Olympics to moving to Mexico City on a Fulbright scholarship. Upon his move to Mexico City, “Langowski began work as a fellow at Endeavor, a nonprofit focused on Entrepreneurship in emerging markets.”

During his time with Endeavor, Langowski assisted Endeavor candidate entrepreneurs through a selection process and wrote case studies on their businesses to present at national and international selection panel events. Langowski enjoyed some success during his time with Endeavor, as “his first review was honored at a panel in Jordan.” To see the original article, click here.

Press release: Endeavor Entrepreneurs Leila Velez, Hind Wassef and Nadia Wassef receive Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award

Leila Velez, Hind Wassef, and Nadia Wassef (7th, 9th, and 10th from left) pictured here with the other Veuve Clicquot 2011 Business Women Award Winners.

REIMS, France- Veuve Clicquot announced today that three Endeavor Entrepreneurs were honored at Veuve Clicquot’s Annual International Business Woman Forum. Leila Velez of Beleza Natural (Brazil) and Hind and Nadia Wassef of Diwan Bookstore (Egypt) received the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award.

Since 1972, the annual Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award has honored exceptional women in the business world, including Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. Recognizing some of the world’s top female economic leaders, the BWA is now awarded in 25 countries each year. These captains of industry display certain qualities: an enterprising spirit, strong leadership, unapologetic audacity, serious creativity and talent. It is these same qualities that make them the worthy descendants of Madame Clicquot Ponsardin, who as herself a pioneer in a world oft-reserved for men only.

Initially created to commemorate the House’s bicentennial, the internationally recognized Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award has since borne further initiatives (Best Female Chef Award, Women of Inspiration Award). As LVMH is extremely sensitive to the importance of sustainable development, it values a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility – a criterion now used to decide our BWA winner. Along these same lines, Veuve Clicquot launched its Initiative for Economic Development Prize in 2006, supporting the positive impact that exceptional women have in their own developing countries. Veuve Clicquot recognizes that our actions today will implicate us all tomorrow- thus it seeks to reward candidates for future-forward innovation, intuition and a visionary character, as well as exploration of new Internet capabilities and/or technologies that help to develop businesses of the future.

Endeavor Entrepreneurs Nadia and Hind Wassef are role models to aspiring female entrepreneurs. In 2001, Nadia and Hind recognized the opportunity to introduce a modern bookstore chain in Cairo and founded Diwan Bookstore. The business has grown to employ 200 people and includes ten stores in Egypt’s capital, each of which blends Eastern and Western literature, features a café and regularly welcomes visits from authors. During the 2011 Arab Spring, Nadia and Hind held lectures at Diwan stores, offering Egyptians a place to congregate during troubling times.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Leila Velez is the CEO of Beleza Natural, a Brazilian salon chain famous for an innovative product that tames and smoothes curly hair. Beleza Natural currently includes 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and employs over 1,000 people. Each serves up to 1,000 customers per day, processing up to forty clients at a time through their seven-step process.

Stephane Gerschel, Director of International Communication at Veuve Clicquot, said that Veuve Clicquot was thrilled to award Leila, Nadia, and Hind. “Veuve Clicquot is extremely excited to celebrate the accomplishments of these extraordinary women, all three of whom are paving the way for the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Felicitations, Leila, Nadia, and Hind!”

In addition to honoring Leila, Nadia, Hind, and a score of other inspirational female entrepreneurs, Veuve Clicquot awarded Indian novelist Shobhaa De a special Tribute for her remarkable accomplishments in the field of writing and her contributions to India’s cultural landscape.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Omar Koudsi in TechCrunch: “Startups: Silicon Valley vs. the Emerging World”

Endeavor Entrepreneur Omar Koudsi, co-founder of Jordan-based Jeeran, the largest review site in the Middle East, wrote an opinion piece in the popular tech blog TechCrunch, “Startups: Silicon Valley Vs. The Emerging World”.

Omar writes about coming to the Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit last summer in San Francisco, and of the starkly different challenges faced by tech startups in emerging markets like Jordan compared with Silicon Valley:

I believe the lack of a well-developed ecosystem (funding, mentoring, risk culture, lawyers, human resources) puts the burden tenfold on the entrepreneur in the emerging world. In many cases, foreign entrepreneurs have to do ten times the lifting of an American startup — for a much longer period of time to boot — in order to succeed.

My company (Jeeran) was lucky to find a VC firm called IV Holdings that had emerged in 2006 — way before entrepreneurship became cool in our part of the world — and it changed everything. Of course, it still took us a whole year to close our first round of funding.

Most startups in the Middle East, he notes, are not so lucky as to secure support from venture capitalists early on, and must rely on their revenue, friends and family, and whatever investors they can secure, in order to keep their new businesses afloat.

Attending a workshop at Stanford University while visiting Silicon Valley, Omar found some of the advice given rather laughable when applied to an emerging market context:

One of the tips he gave us was to interview at least 10 people for each position before choosing the right candidate — to take your time and be selective.

I found it humorous, since we barely find a handful of people with enough expertise to make a difference, let alone 10 people lined for the database, UX, and product management jobs we (and so many others) are hiring for. Founders in the emerging world are mostly occupied with building-up talent as it comes along in bits and pieces, not recruiting it.

Still, he notes that even Western companies outside of the Valley often face such problems:

I found it comforting that many founders in Europe and even the East Coast complain about many of the same issues: Lack of venture funding, lack of talent, and an ecosystem that penalizes risk takers. Of course, this situation has much improved for them and for us, but it made me feel less lonely when I hear tales of East Coast founders trying to convince Wall Street talent to join a startup.

Nevertheless Omar says he values the learning experiences he had while visiting Silicon Valley, where valuable expertise is undoubtedly plentiful, even if the experts may take certain advantages for granted. He closes with an invitation:

Here is an invite for the Valley to go out and see how the startups of the world are solving problems in ecosystems void of the many resources taken for granted by the Y Combinator-accelerated generation.

The full article can be read here.

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.

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