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Endeavor and Linda Rottenberg Profiled in The Christian Science Monitor

The Christian Science Monitor, a U.S.-based international news publication, recently profiled Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg and the story of Endeavor, spotlighting the organization’s journey and its rapidly growing global impact. In particular, the article calls […]

April 16th, 2014 — by admin

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Integr8 of Endeavor South Africa sells part of company for R126M

Endeavor South Africa Entrepreneurs Robert Sussman and Lance Fanaroff sold Integr8 IT- an arm of their company, Integr8 Group- to Business Connexion for an estimated R126M. Business Connexion is a leading ICT services provider with […]

March 4th, 2013 — by admin

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eMBA Field Report: From Hong Kong to Uruguay

Rufino de la Rosa is an MBA student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and spent the summer as an eMBA in Uruguay.

It feels like we arrived in Montevideo only yesterday. Before we came here, we knew we were going to work for todotvmedia, a magazine for professionals in the media industry that is currently working to create a new online service for this market. Previous to our arrival to Uruguay, we had several conversations with the staff to become more familiar with this new service; however we were impressed with how the initial idea had evolved to the creation of a unique platform for the media industry.

Our first day in the office was amazing; the staff received us with a big smile and with the most popular drink in Uruguay: mate. We felt comfortable and supported from the very first minute, and immediately started to work on the new project. We had some information about the company to start, but did not know what kind of work atmosphere or culture to expect. We were pleased to find that they are amazingly creative people who work with passion and commitment in a wonderfully contagious way.

Through the weeks, we have conducted a deep analysis of this complex industry, completed a competitor analysis, and another study about data providers for South America. Currently, we are in the phase of interviewing professionals in the industry to clearly define their needs. It has been great to interview people with such in-depth experience in the TV/media industry. Looking back, we cannot believe how much we have learned in the few short weeks we have been here.

Apart from work, we have enjoyed the experience of living in Uruguay. It is winter here, but it doesn’t affect the warm Uruguayan people, always ready smile and meet for an “Asado” (barbecue). And as an added bonus, we had the opportunity to celebrate the victory of Uruguay in the Copa America, and we discovered how passionate Uruguayans are about soccer and their national team. We’ll never forget the awesome celebration in the streets and at the stadium!

I cannot be more enthusiastic about the company, the project and the country. It is great to be part of this project, and it has been an invaluable personal experience for both of us. Thanks to Endeavor, todotvmedia, and the people in Uruguay that have helped us so much to have a wonderful stay in South America.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Carlos Mier y Teran to open restaurant in NYC

Endeavor Entrepreneur Carlos Mier y Teran’s company, Grupo MYT, is opening a new restaurant in New York City this fall. The restaurant will be called Taka Taka and will serve a unique fusion of Mexican and Japanese cuisine which will include such tempting abnormalities as tempura shrimp tacos, sushi caliente, and litchi margaritas.

The restaurant will be located in SOHO and will be Grupo MYT’s second venture into the New York market following the opening of their creperie La Crepe in 2009. The firm also owns 200 restaurants in Mexico, and will include in Taka Taka an engineering concept for which they have grown famous in the south: serving food via a conveyer belt.

Check out the coverage from New York Magazine, which includes menus.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Martin Migoya wins BRAVO Business Award

Latin Trade has announced that Endeavor Entrepreneur and CEO of Globant Martin Migoya has won the Emerging CEO of the Year award in their seventeenth annual BRAVO Business Awards. Award winners are first nominated by Latin Trade readers, and then chosen by the editorial staff based on their contributions to leadership and progress in Latin America. The award ceremony will be a black-tie affair in Miami this October.

Martin has helped to develop Globant, formed in 2003 in Argentina, into a significant international player in the IT services industry with a staff of over 1,500 professionals. In a busy 2011 the company has acquired the San Francisco based IT developer Nextive, and announced plans to increase their staff by two hundred engineers over the next year and half. Their strategy is to “proactively invest in initiatives that enable rapid and efficient development of their clients’ projects,” and they have grown faster than any other software business in Latin America.

Prior to co-founding Globant, Martin was the Latin America Regional Business Manager at Origin BV Holland, and Project Manager for REPSOL-YPF, Argentina’s largest oil-and-gas company. He has been an Endeavor Entrepreneur since 2005.

eMBA Field Report: Tying up loose threads in Chile

Cecile Aro is an MBA student at NYU Stern School of Business and spent her summer in Chile with Araucania Yarns.

It’s been over month since I left Santiago, and despite the cold weather there, I miss it terribly. As an eMBA consultant, I worked for Araucania Yarns, the largest yarn exporter in Chile. Araucania’s yarns are hand (not machine) dyed, made from the highest quality and variety of natural materials, and produced in a spectrum of beautiful and sophisticated colors, which only a few players in the global industry can match. Araucania is in fact the only producer in Chile that can export at that scale.

The driving force behind the company is Endeavor Entrepreneur Michelle Boisier, Araucania’s co-founder and CEO. I worked closely with her to develop a competitive analysis on the high-end yarn natural yarns market, and recommended pricing, distribution and marketing strategies. Working with Araucania allowed me to see up close and understand the opportunities and challenges faced by a small company operating in a niche market.

On my last day, I presented my findings to Araucania’s advisory board, comprised of high-caliber professionals: a former CEO of Coca Cola, Latin America, a veteran Endeavor Entrepreneur, and an Araucania local adviser. We spent nearly three hours discussing the data and next steps for the company. Multiply those three hours by the three advisory board members (there are typically four I’m told), then by the 12 meetings in a year (at times they even meet more than once a month). That adds up to over 100 hours of pro-bono time in a year for just one SME!

After leaving Santiago, I continue to work with Michelle on the next stage of my project which focuses on expansion alternatives for her business. My time in Chile was incredible to say the least. I was welcomed warmly by the Santiago Endeavor team, and met several Chilean Endeavor Entrepreneurs, a partner of a venture capital firm, and other eMBAs— all of whom share the same excitement I have for entrepreneurship and emerging markets.

Company culture counts

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

By David Hornik

What a great week I had last week. On Tuesday I attended the Splunk Worldwide User Conference. On Thursday I attended the SAY Media all hands meeting. (On Wednesday I had board meetings for StumbleUpon and Ebates — they’re building awesome companies as well, but that has nothing to do with this blog post). Both events reminded me of what excited me enough to invest in these companies over a half a decade ago. And both events reminded me that company culture really matters.

There is no single culture that assures a winning startup. Splunk and SAY have very different cultures. But I have found that successful companies have distinct cultures that reflect the values of their founders and the focus of the business they’re building. What’s more, successful startups have founders who really care about culture. And that desire to build a purposeful company sets the tone for the business as it grows.

When I invested in Splunk and SAY, each had fewer than half a dozen employees. Today both companies employ several hundred people and are growing rapidly. Yet despite growing by dozens of people a quarter, their company cultures are stronger than ever. This is in no small part due to the fact that both companies prioritize maintaining culture. New employees are not left to discover company culture on their own. Employee “indoctrination” (and I mean that only in the most positive of ways) begins at orientation and is an ongoing effort. As a result, culture is transmitted and propagates from one generation of employees to the next.

Since the early days of Splunk, it has been characterized by a sort of geek hipness (no, that is not an oxymoron) that has proven a fantastic cultural glue for the company. In many ways that hipness is reflected in the name Splunk itself. The company started out its life as Oplicity, then Transaction Engines, but neither name captured the attitude the company was trying to project. Along came the name Splunk — a play on the idea of spelunking your log files — and a culture and attitude were born. Splunk rules the trade shows with their often edgy t-shirts (“Taking the SH out of IT” remains the classic), which are worn with pride by customers, employees and board members alike. As Splunk has grown and delivers increasingly powerful solutions for giant corporate customers, the geek chic attitude continues to permeate the company and provide a unifying identity that will long outlast those of us who witnessed its birth.

SAY Media has always had an equally quirky company culture. From its inception, SAY has encouraged its employees to think creatively about its products, its brand, its attitude. The company’s marketing materials have always featured employees. SAY videos have been produced starring its employees as actors and musicians. Company parties showcase employee bands. Company t-shirts are conceived of and designed by the people, of the people, for the people. The openness of SAY Media’s culture assures that it is molded by the creativity of the employees from the bottom up, rather than by mandate from the top down. The culture that has emerged was clear at last week’s All Hands Meeting, the highlight of which was the awarding of the “Raddies” — a crowd-sourced award for those employees who exemplified the cultural values of SAY Media. The creation of the Raddies, the nomination process, the design of the trophy, and the awarding of the prize, all reflect the very same open and creative culture that they celebrate.

That all sounds like great fun and games, but why am I so high on company culture as an investor in startups? It is because culture matters. Companies with a strong culture inevitably find it easier to recruit like-minded employees. What’s more, a strong culture dramatically decreases attrition. Companies with a shared purpose are more efficient — they work well together in pursuit of a common goal. Employees can appreciate their company’s priorities and focus on the stuff that matters. And, at the end of the day, fun and games matters. People would rather work at a company that they genuinely enjoy and believe in than one that lacks any real sense of purpose.

No two companies in which I have invested have the same corporate culture. Each has its own unique history, priorities, and traditions. But like Splunk and SAY, each of my portfolio companies has found its unique voice and is working hard to promote and protect that culture.

For more than a decade, David Hornik has worked with technology startups throughout the software sector. In 2000, David joined August Capital to invest broadly in information technology companies, with a focus on enterprise application and infrastructure software, as well as consumer facing software and services.

David is currently a lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he teaches intellectual property, and the Harvard Law School, where he teaches entrepreneurship and venture capital. Please click here for a complete bio.

Experience is everything: a field report from Experiencia Argentina (Part 1 of 3)

By Mark Horoszowski (reprinted from his blog, Aspen to Nepal)

I am currently at Experiencia Argentina, a conference for high-impact entrepreneurs and their businesses. The tagline for this year’s event is “LIVE THE EXPERIENCE OF CHANGING THE WORLD.”

The concept is simple: high-impact, responsible businesses are the most potent force in creating jobs and leading innovations that drive positive progress. As such, getting entrepreneurs together to share ideas, learn from each other, and expand their networks will surely make a more positive impact, faster. I couldn’t agree more with this theory. But, not everyone can attend these world-changing conferences. So here are four tips on how to grow your own skills to be more effective:

These four tips center around the notion that we can all help drive more positive progress if we have more experience to empower us:

DEMAND IT: Paid or volunteer, if you want to grow, you have to get more experience. An essential trait of all leaders is experience, and it’s also a fundamental component of Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours on why people succeed and excel.

STUDY IT: Another common trait of the best leaders is an unquenchable desire to learn and innovate. Read, write, and watch as much as possible: Blogs, books, videos, conferences, etc. Using coaches and mentors is essential, too.

VOLUNTEER FOR IT: Everybody should give more than they take simply because it is the right thing to do, but in doing so, you can also experience exponential growth in your core skills. So use your skills in different settings to fuel creativity and grow. (Note: the important thing is to volunteer your desired skills, not just volunteer to volunteer).

TEACH IT: To teach is to learn twice. If you can’t teach on the job, try volunteering at schools, being a mentor, or traveling abroad.
Mark Zuckerberg was successful because he loved programming, loved writing about it, loved working on side projects, and loved telling his friends about it. Starbucks is what it is because Howard Schultz loved telling people about coffee, traveled around the world to experience it in different settings, taught others about it, and demanded new opportunities at his job to get better coffee in the hands of more people.

The bottom line: whether you want to grow your career or make a more positive global impact, experience is everything.

In Egypt, Endeavor and EFE work together to create high-impact jobs

By some estimates, the Middle East will need to create 100 million jobs in the next decade to maintain current employment levels. In addition to Endeavor, one organization tackling this problem head-on is Education for Employment (EFE). The D.C.-based non-profit was founded on the premise that when young people have satisfying jobs and the hope of building a future, they help lay the foundation for secure and peaceful societies.

“Youth unemployment is a global phenomenon, and MENA is the region that suffers more than any other,” says Shahinaz Ahmed, CEO of EFE-Egypt. “By focusing our energy and resources here, we stand to make the biggest impact.” EFE engages a range of disadvantaged young people through tailored educational programs for numerous sectors, including business, government, education, civic and community development. Upon graduation from the program, participants are placed in jobs with partner organizations.

Currently, two Endeavor-supported firms in Egypt are working with EFE: Azza Fahmy, a high-end jewelry company, and El Matbakh, a full-service lunch caterer. “We decided to participate with EFE programs due to the complicated process of finding, training and mostly keeping the right caliber of employees,” says Endeavor Entrepreneur Hiba Jammal of El Matbakh. “In the Food and Beverage industry in Egypt, this has proven to be the biggest challenge for any establishment. We believed outsourcing this process would result in better outcomes.”

El Matbakh has hired several EFE-trained employees, including 19-year-old Safaa Mohamed. As one of six children in a low-income household, Safaa struggled to find a job after graduating job school; besides lacking basic skills and English proficiency, her religious beliefs (including dress requirements) precluded her from her desired positions in the tourism industry. Now, she is an enthusiastic worker at El Matbakh where she aspires to become a branch manager.

Islam Mohamed, now 24, was led to EFE by a similar path. After attending Mansoura University, Islam joined the military to complete his mandatory service. Finding subsequent employment was a challenge, as employers dismissed him for lack of experience. Turning to the internet for help, he found EFE and immediately applied to the program, which provided him with marketable skills. Islam now works as a Sales Representative for Azza Fahmy, where he enjoys interacting with customers, colleagues and managers.

Hiba Jammal

“EFE Programs and the like are of extreme value for the future of Egypt,” says Hiba. “The general populace has very low education levels and even lower understanding of having to work hard to build a career and reach a higher goal in life. As a small to medium enterprise we prefer to hire staff with low skills or zero skills. It has proven more successful to train them on our Service & Quality Standards rather than get a highly skilled employee and train them from scratch.”

Entrepreneurs’ involvement with EFE is consistent with Endeavor’s mission to create employment opportunities and pave the way for sustainable economic growth. As Endeavor Entrepreneurs have expressed, they are particularly receptive to working with EFE because they themselves have had to overcome obstacles in an untraditional way – thereby identifying with EFE job seekers.

Says Shahinaz of EFE-Egypt, “We are excited about our involvement with Endeavor, which has resulted in placing young people with limited job prospects with growing Egyptian SMEs supported by Endeavor. EFE-Egypt graduates now have hope for a better future, access to social mobility and are empowered with education and jobs. We are eager to strengthen and expand this powerful and impactful relationship.”

To learn more about Endeavor Egypt, click here. To learn more about EFE, click here.

eMBA Field Report: Seeing the world anew – three eMBAs in Argentina

Fareeda, Eduardo, and Jose spent their summers as eMBAs working with Satellogic in Argentina.

By Fareeda Ahmed

As the tenth and final week of my eMBA internship comes to a close, I am flooded with an emotional cocktail of enthusiasm, reflection, and gratitude.

Enthusiasm

For the past two-and-a-half months, I have been supporting Satellogic, Inc., a technology startup that promises to make significant waves in the satellite Earth Observation [EO] market with its proposed enhancements to existing technology. Sound unfamiliar? Good. It did for me too. I had no previous experience in aeronautics…or engineering…or working in South America (let alone in the mountains of Patagonia, where Satellogic is currently headquartered).

After 10 weeks of researching the satellite market, I have come away with a deeper understanding what EO means and what it can do – essentially satellite pictures of earth serve a variety of purposes, such as tracking deforestation, monitoring coastal safety, and lending imagery to news and media services.

I have come away with a deep and growing enthusiasm for the potential of this market. While I can’t give all the details away, suffice it to say Satellogic’s CEO Emiliano Kargieman has constructed a crack team, with whom it was a pleasure to work, and the growth of the market combined with the potential introduction of previously untapped markets – thanks to this new technology – promise to make Satellogic a leader in its space, and an inspiration to entrepreneurs in markets around the world. I am enthusiastic about the product, the team, and experience I have had here that is sadly drawing to a close.

Reflection

The eMBA experience has proven enriching and enlightening to me, and beneficial and fulfilling for our client, based on their warm reception thus far to the work of me and my two eMBA colleagues (Eduardo Cajavilca and Jose Luis Tenorio de Figueiredo, the man of a thousand names, all of which I’m sure I’ve spelled correctly…). Now approaching the “peak” of the experience, there is an opportunity to look backwards on the project, the people, and the place that have coalesced these past several weeks and transformed so much in each other. Without getting too detailed, my top three reflective “take-aways” are:

1. Rethink the work/life balance, and consider that, especially in a startup environment, any split between work and life is an unnecessary gap, and even detrimental. Here, everything has blended beautifully; colleagues are friends and snowboard-mates; “work” dinners are nothing of the kind I have known before. Weekends are an opportunity to explore other facets of our team’s dynamics. A team so thoroughly intertwined is not overwhelming or all-consuming; rather, as illustrated by Satellogic, it can encourage deep trust between team-members, helping them towards the goal.

2. South America is a diverse and exciting place for new business. This was my first time in South America. I am astonished at the diversity that I did not in my ignorance recognize or appreciate. I anticipate many more exciting innovations to sprout from this multi-cultural, storied, and underacknowledged region of the world.

3. Winter in Patagonia is no joke. Seriously. This hemisphere is not kidding around.

Gratitude.

I am immensely grateful to Endeavor, my aforementioned eMBA colleagues, and the Satellogic team for comprising the perfect storm of an exceptional summer/winter. There are few places more beautiful than San Carlos de Bariloche, even in the midst as it is of a near-constant dusting of ash thanks to a nearby Chilean volcano. Our office overlooks the beautiful Lake Nahuel Huapi, home of a mythical creature not unlike the Loch Ness Monster. The mountains that encase this lake have provided a beautiful backdrop that has certainly lent a generous amount of serenity, calm, and inspiration to our hard-working team.

Warm wishes for the Satellogic team in the fulfillment of this visionary venture.

* * *


By Eduardo R. Cajavilca

I have spent 9 weeks in Bariloche working with two other eMBAs (Jose Figueiredo & Fareeda Ahmed) on the market entry strategy for Satellogic, a venture that is proposing new and improved satellite services. Emiliano Kargieman, Satellogic founder, has compiled an amazing team that is focused on developing innovative technology in Argentina and offering it to the rest of world. Inspired by the team’s entrepreneurial drive, we set out to find the best strategy to compete with the current leading companies.

Our assignment has been more challenging than I initially expected, due to the complexity of the industry. However, overcoming these hurdles has taught me new business skills that can only be acquired in a startup environment. I couldn’t be more thankful to Endeavor and Emiliano for allowing me to be part of this breakthrough venture!

It’s wonderful to read about the different experiences of eMBAs in their respective projects. I’ve also had the pleasure to meet delightful people and discover the amazing city in which the project is based. With that in mind, the following is a list of 6 peculiar facts that make Bariloche and the Satellogic team of Winter 2011 an amazing experience!

1. Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains and lakes, Bariloche is one of the best places to go skiing, hiking, kayaking. The summit of Cerro Campanario, a small mountain 20 minutes from the city center, was once voted by National Geographic as one of the “Top 10 Views of the World”

2. Silicon Valley startups are fueled by coffee and Red Bull, but the Satellogic team is fueled by yerba mate. Team members drink it all the time! Pipore is the brand of choice.

3. Lago Nahuel Huapi, the biggest lake in Bariloche, is filled with mysterious tales.
Similar to the Loch Ness in Scotland, Nahuel Huapi is believed to be inhabited by a Cretaceous monster, called Nahuelito. Some Barilochenses claim to have seen it.
Isla Huemul, the biggest island in Nahuel Huapi, contains remains of an atomic energy laboratory. In the 1940s, a German physicist claimed to know how to achieve nuclear fusion and convinced the Argentinian president to fund his research. After a few years of no apparent results, it was discovered that the physicist had tricked the president.

4. The Satellogic team is made up of people from different geographical backgrounds including: Argentina, England, Mexico, France, Portugal, and the U.S.

5. The delicious Argentinian beef offered at local restaurants have attracted some interesting figures: Butch Cassidy and his gang would frequent El Boliche Viejo; and Bill Clinton dined at El Patacon on his stop at Bariloche.

6. Due to the eruption of the Puyehue volcano in June, the city authorities have closed the airport all winter. Team members have used bus lines to travel between Bariloche and Buenos Aires. The 20 hour ride is actually quite nice since the Argentinian buses are very comfortable and the meals served during the trip are much better than airline meals.

* * *

By Jose Figueiredo

I’m writing from San Carlos de Bariloche in Patagonia, the south of Argentina. Me and two other eMBAs, Fareeda and Eduardo, are helping an Argentinean entrepreneur develop a market entry strategy for a constellation of a new generation of satellites. Isn’t that incredible? Yes! So far, the project has been really awesome.

The entrepreneur, Emiliano Kargieman, has been amazing; he takes a ton of time with us to go through our analysis and conclusions. Every Friday, we have a long meeting together where he takes the time to discuss with us how to move forward. I am definitely learning a lot from him.

Apart from the project, the area is stunning. San Carlos de Bariloche is located on a lake surrounded by snowy mountains. Patagonia is also beautiful. We have been exploring its diverse beauty and adventures, traveling up to 2000 km during weekends to visit towns, sights, and attractions nestled in the Andes.

I am sure everybody says this, but: this is the best internship ever.

Avoid these three “small business killers”

Image by Antonio Bovino via Flickr

This editorial is reprinted from companyfounder.com (@companyfounder).

By Paul Morin

Small businesses, even those that appear promising at the start, have an unnerving failure rate. Here I’ll discuss three common small business killers, and what to do about them. In my extensive time in entrepreneurship, I’ve experienced and seen them all, in my own businesses and those of my clients. The good news is that if you are aware of these issues and keep vigilant watch, you can spot them early and often prevent them from killing your business.

Common Small Business Killer #1: Insufficient Funding

I guess this one should come as no surprise. Most businesses are started on a “shoestring budget” and tend to stay that way through most of their lives. While this may be unavoidable for some who are starting a business, for others, it is simply an issue of not understanding the likely capital requirements of the business and planning accordingly.

Solution: Perform a break-even analysis before you start your business, so you can get a basic understanding of the sales volume you will need to break even. This will, of course, involve making many assumptions and it will never be perfect, however it will at least give you a target and a basis for understanding where you need to take the business. It will also help guide you as you put together your pro-forma financials, including a cash flow projection, which will help you understand when the business is expected to start generating, rather than burning cash. Realize that if you make your projections too “rosy,” you are likely to miss them and run into cash flow problems. Project conservatively and leave yourself a buffer for projection error. Finally, make sure you understand the potential sources of capital available and stay ahead of your capital requirements, so you’re not in a compromised position, trying to raise cash in an emergency.

Common Small Business Killer #2: Weak Profit Margins

Some businesses have inherently weak profit margins, due to a variety of factors, but usually because of intense competition and the pricing power of key suppliers. If you know from the get-go that you are entering a business with weak margins and little hope of improvement in that area, you’re either crazy, don’t realize this issue, or have some other ulterior motive.

Solution: Before you enter any business, make sure you have a very good understanding of the profit margins of the business. In particular, you should look for gross margins of sixty percent or better. I will agree with you that such businesses are not easy to find, but as one of my first mentors told me, when you have gross margins of sixty percent or better, you can make a lot of mistakes in the remainder of your business and still survive to fight another day. Make sure that as you are putting together the pro-forma financials for your venture, you are very realistic regarding the direct costs you will have in producing your products and/or delivering your services. Any unrealistic assumptions regarding these costs will give you an inaccurate picture of the likely gross margins you will enjoy in your business and make your pro-forma financial projections misleading and dangerous. Likewise, be very realistic about how you will be able to price your offering, as this will be the other determinant of the gross margins you will be looking at. Finally, be realistic about how these direct costs and pricing power are likely to change over time, given the competitive forces and other market trends you see at work in your industry.

Common Small Business Killer #3: Unskilled Management

The unskilled (or under-skilled) management issue occurs quite a bit. Two scenarios where this issue is particularly common are: 1.) a person comes out of a larger corporate environment with a very specific skillset and decides to become an entrepreneur; and 2.) a family business employs its family members in key management and leadership positions, regardless of the fact that they don’t have the experience or the skills to do the job well. There are many other situations where entrepreneurs do not have the proper skills to run the business they have chosen, but these are two of the most common.

Solution: When you are starting a business, or even if you already have it up and running, take a close look at the types of skills that will be necessary to run and grow the business effectively. If you are not sure what it takes to be great at your endeavor, take a look around at those who are already succeeding in the same or similar businesses. Take a close look at the core skills and knowledge they employ to allow them to do well in that business. In some businesses, the most important competency is financial acumen, in others it’s operational knowledge, in most all, it’s marketing and sales capabilities. Make an honest assessment. Where you see gaps in your knowledge and capabilities, partner with or hire others to fill those gaps. Remember when you’re doing this assessment that, regardless of how talented you may be, it will be very hard for you to have the time, energy and capabilities to do all tasks well. Be sure you have the most critical ones covered and seek assistance everywhere else.

It’s important to understand that these are just three of many potential “small business killers,” but start with making sure you have these three under control.

TIME magazine features Endeavor, Egyptian firms Diwan and El Matbakh

The democratic upsurge of the Arab Spring has been one of this year’s most provocative international developments. The related question of economic growth in the Middle East is addressed in a new article in TIME magazine, which highlights the role of Endeavor and Egyptian Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Author Michael Schuman points out that some businesses thrived even under the old regime, but had to contend with excessive government regulation and bureaucratic cronyism that hindered growth. One Endeavor company, El Matbakh of Cairo, has successfully supplied food for large corporate cafeterias for years. Yet in spite of their success, Endeavor Entrepreneur Hiba Jammal has been less than satisfied with the previous government’s regulatory practices:

Jammal says she got lost in a confusing and opaque web of regulations. She hired a lawyer to help her wade through the morass, but it made little difference. ”You can’t get anything done unless you know someone who knows someone who knows someone.”

Her dissatisfaction was mirrored by another pair of Endeavor Entrepreneurs, sisters Hind and Nadia Wassef, founders of Cairo’s successful Diwan Bookstore chain. “The bureaucrats have the productivity of a Cheerio,” complained Nadia. “It is demoralizing. Why would you become an entrepreneur in Egypt?”

Yet there is reason for hope. In the words of Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg, as quoted in the article, “A collapse of the traditional structures creates an opening for young people who want to create wealth.” In other words, inasmuch as one believes that the previous governments stifled small businesses through corruption, overbearing regulation, and cronyism –- circumstances all described in the article –- a new government is an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new and dynamic marketplace.

And although the author cannot predict the future, he did find a young businessperson with high hopes, IT company OMS’s co-founder Ahmed Kabeel: “I can’t hide that there are a lot of uncertainties in the circumstances around us,” but with the advent of democracy, “if you do something for your country, it will deliver results.”

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