High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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Endeavor Insight Spotlights Scaleup Ecosystems in Bangladesh and Uganda

As part of a series of reports focused on scaleup ecosystems worldwide, Endeavor Insight has analyzed the impact of scaleup companies on the economies of two emerging markets: Bangladesh and Uganda. Entitled “The Critical 5 Percent” (Bangladesh) and “The […]

March 24th, 2015 — by admin

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Endeavor Insight Report on What Entrepreneurs Want in a City Featured in Inc. Magazine and The Atlantic

A report by Endeavor Insight released in February examines the top qualities that American entrepreneurs look for when choosing a city to live and work. With research based on surveys and interviews with 150 founders of some […]

March 20th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor remembers Lidia María Riba

At Endeavor, we deeply regret the recent passing of Lidia María Riba.

Together with her business partner, Trinidad Vergara, Lidia was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2003 for her Argentinian publishing house V&R Editoras.

The enterprise focuses on a genre of books previously unseen in Latin America: gift books with a message. With locations in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, V&R publishes books in both Spanish and Portuguese and continues to expand.

Lidia was a treasured member of the Endeavor family who participated actively in the Endeavor Argentina network and donated time to mentoring fellow entrepreneurs. She will be deeply missed.

Financial Times highlights Endeavor

The Financial Times mentioned Endeavor in an article on “Social Entrepreneurship in Latin America.” The article quotes Rhett Morris, director of Endeavor’s Center for High-Impact Entrepreneurship (C-HIE), who “believes that, in given the relatively underdeveloped state of philanthropy in many Latin American countries, as well as the limitations of government social programmes, entrepreneurs will play an increasingly important part in delivering essential services.”

The article also spotlights Endeavor company Enova. Based in Mexico, Enova “designs, builds and operates small educational centres called the RIA – Red de Innovación y Aprendizaje (Learning and Education Network). Based on e-learning, the centres target low-income urban communities. Since May 2009, Enova has opened centres in 42 locations and more than 14,000 students have completed its courses. It aims to improve the education of 5m poor Mexicans by 2013.”

See the original post here; note that it is paywall-protected.

Linda Rottenberg selected for Forbes list of “Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs”

For the first time, Forbes has selected 30 individuals who they consider to be the “world’s leading entrepreneurs,” and has included Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. Click here to see the profile of Linda and Endeavor.

24 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay Join the Endeavor Network

Endeavor invited 24 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay to join its network at its 41st International Selection Panel.  Endeavor now supports 656 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 413 companies in 12 emerging market countries.  The entrepreneurs were chosen at a Panel held from December 7 through 9 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

“This panel highlights two clear trends in the kinds of entrepreneurs we are finding in Latin America,” said Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rotenberg.  “First are Diamonds, relatively young companies, often in the tech area, that have the potential to scale dramatically, expand globally and are increasingly magnets for venture capital and foreign investment to the region.  The second are Growth Engines, companies that have the potential to add hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.  Endeavor’s success in selecting and mentoring these types of high-impact companies is what contributes to building a true entrepreneurial eco-system in the region.”

The International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous multi-step Search & Selection process where top local and international business leaders interview and then offer feedback and guidance to entrepreneur candidates.  Endeavor’s next scheduled International Selection Panel will be held in Dubai in March.  Post-selection, Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with customized services provided by local business mentors and volunteers from Fortune 500 consulting firms and top U.S. business schools.  Endeavor Entrepreneurs have had a significant track record of creating thousands of jobs and building sustainable growth models in their home countries.

Entrepreneur(s)/Companies selected:


Entrepreneur: Martín S. Frascaroli
Company: Aivo
Description: Founded in Córdoba in 2002, Aivo develops automated, chat-based customer service agents that intelligently recognize, interpret and respond to written client questions.


Entrepreneur: Cristian Schweizer
Company: Axeso5
Description: Axeso5 is an Argentinean online game company that publishes free to play online games for the Latin American market. Cristian Schweizer (46) founded Axeso5 in 2008 and today is one of the largest online game communities in Latin America with 4.2M registered users across 20 countries. Axeso5’s revenue comes from the purchase of in-game virtual goods.


Entrepreneur: Mariano Nuñez Di Croce, Victor Montero
Company: Onapsis
Description: Founded in late 2009, Onapsis is a software development firm that performs automated SAP security assessments that help clients reduce their risk of losing critical data, better enforce compliance and reduce auditing costs.


Entrepreneurs: Carlos Balma, Ricardo Buckup, Felipe Ribeiro
Company: B2
Description: Founded in 2002, B2 organizes premium graduation events for Brazil’s universities and serves as a marketing platform for brands and advertisers to access Brazil’s burgeoning youth market.


Entrepreneur: Carlos and Noeli Bazanella (husband & wife team)
Company: Doce D’ocê
Description: Founded in 2000 by husband-and-wife team Carlos and Noeli Bazanella, Doce D’ocê provides bakery outsourcing services to suppliers of all sizes—from corner bakeries to large supermarket chains—throughout southern Brazil.


Entrepreneur: Diego Martins and Paulo Alencastro
Company: Acesso Digital
Description: São Paulo-based Acesso Digital has been providing Brazilian businesses with a comprehensive electronic document management solution since 2007. The company’s offering has allowed more than 800 small, medium and large enterprises to quickly, conveniently and safely digitize documents needed to run their businesses.


Entrepreneur: Patricio Catalán & Gonzalo Santamarina
Company: Innovex
Description: Founded in 2007, Innovex is an aquaculture technology company dedicated to equipment and software development for fish farms.


Entrepreneur: Santiago Querol
Company: Laserpack
Description: Based in Arauco, Chile, Laserpack applies laser-cutting technology to medium-density fiberboard to produce premium packaging that is biodegradable, splinterless and easily assembled without nails or staples.


Entrepreneur: Valentina and Paula Valverde (sisters)
Company: Valverde Norambuena
Description: Founded in 1985, family-run Valverde Norambuena designs and sells innovative, fun and fashionable children’s clothing throughout Chile under three brands: Limonada, Maite, and Black and Blue.


Entrepreneur: Alberto Lederman, Jorge Andrés Osorio
Company: Aranda Software
Description: Founded in 2002, Aranda Software is an IT infrastructure and services management company with offices in 11 countries in Latin America.


Entrepreneur: Arturo Galván Contreras
Company: Naranya
Description: Founded in 2002, Naranya is the leading provider of mobile content in Latin America, a market of 530 million mobile users. Naranya is a pioneer in developing mobile entertainment content services for Latin America and has more recently branched into the mobile marketing and applications markets.


Entrepreneur: Jesus Manuel Jimenez Garcia
Company: Mister Tennis
Description: Founded in Puebla in 1987, Mister Tennis is now a chain of 106 retail stores across 14 Mexican states that sells athletic footwear, clothing and accessories.


Entrepreneur: Sebastián Lateulade
Company: TodoTVMedia
Description: Founded in 2004, TodoTVMedia produces both print and online media covering the television industry in the Americas.


Entrepreneur: Álvaro García, Ariel Burschtin, Ruben Sosenke
Company: PedidosYa
Description: Founded in 2009 by three recent college graduates, PedidosYa offers an online solution for ordering food delivery, bringing together restaurants and users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.

Should you have a board of advisors?

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

By Paul Morin

In the small business world, there is a lot of talk about whether a company should have a Board of Advisors (a/k/a Advisory Board), and if yes, what the composition of such a group should be. In my time in the small and medium enterprise (SME) world, I have been exposed to and worked with thousands of companies, a small percentage of which have had a Board of Advisors. Whether having such an advisory group makes sense depends a lot on the business and more importantly, the CEO and senior management team of the business.

First, let’s talk about the key ways a Board of Advisors differs from a Board of Directors. The most important difference is that having a Board of Directors is a legal requirement, whereas having a Board of Advisors is completely optional. A related point is that the members of the Board of Directors have fiduciary duties to the shareholders of the corporation, whereas the members of the Advisory Board do not have those duties. I won’t go into the distinction between a Board of Directors (Corporation) and a Board of Managers (LLC) here, but if LLC structure is relevant to you, it’s something you should go over with your attorney. My discussion here will focus on the Board of Advisors, with some references to what differentiates it from a Board of Directors.

So, if a Board of Advisors has no fiduciary duties to the shareholders, what is its purpose and who does it “serve”? The Board of Advisors typically is put in place to provide guidance and support to the CEO and the remainder of the senior management team of a company. In contrast to the Board of Directors that has responsibility for and major focus on “corporate governance,” the Advisory Board often supports the senior management team as it tries to navigate through functional and technical business issues. For example, if a company is trying to grow from $5 million in sales to $25 million in sales, it can be useful to the CEO and other senior management team members to have an Advisory Board at least in part comprised of people, including entrepreneurs and business functional area professionals, who have already “made that journey”. Such guidance can help to understand “best practices” and avoid major pitfalls en route.

Every entrepreneur needs an elevator pitch

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

By Paul Morin

Are you familiar with the concept of an elevator pitch (a/k/a elevator speech)? If you’re an entrepreneur, you really need to understand the idea of an elevator pitch and you need to formulate your own.

The name elevator pitch (or elevator speech) comes from the idea that when you get on an elevator and want to say something to someone you just met there, you don’t have very long to do it! How long you have depends on how many floors you’re going, how fast the elevator goes, and how soon after entering the elevator you start speaking to the other person.

It’s a great metaphor and a great idea, as it forces you to boil down your “pitch” to its very essence, so you can get your point across “before the elevator opens”. The concept of elevator pitches has been around for a long time. If you’ve not already formulated yours, I recommend you do so as soon as possible and begin using and refining it as you meet new people. Before you take it “prime time” with potentially important prospects, partners, investors, etc, I strongly advise you to try it out on several people you know.

So, how should you think about constructing your elevator pitch? How long should it be? What should it include? Think about the scenario of just entering an elevator and realizing that, by chance, a potential investor you had wanted to get in touch with is on the same elevator. You literally have an opportunity to give an elevator speech! Unless you were in a very tall building with lots of stops, you would likely have less than thirty seconds, potentially far less, to deliver your elevator speech. What would you want to get across to this very important prospect in such a short period of time? Let’s look at an example.

In this example, we’ll think along the lines of being the founder and CEO an early stage technology company, getting into the elevator with an important potential investor. We’ll look at a couple of elevator pitch examples for the same scenario, so you can see the good and the bad.

Elevator Pitch To Potential Investor – Example #1

Hello Mr. Investor. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I have been wanting to get in touch with you to tell you about the amazing technology we’ve developed. I think it may be a great investment for your venture capital fund. It’s based on nanotechnology and has the potential to help a lot of people and keep them from getting sicker. I’d love to be able to get some of your time and tell you more about it.

Elevator Pitch To Potential Investor – Example #2

Hello Mr. Investor. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I have been wanting to meet you to tell you about the amazing technology and business model we have created, which I think is very well aligned with the types of investments your fund focuses on. It’s based on our patented nanotechnology, which has been proven to reduce repeat heart attacks by 65%. The addressable market is $10 billion and our team of veteran entrepreneurs and award-winning physicians has been at the forefront of many advances in this market. Could we meet next week, so we can provide you with more details?

Ok, so which elevator pitch above do you believe is more likely to get the desired result – a meeting with the potential investor? I’d have to say it’s pitch #2. Do you agree? Why? Elevator speech #1 focuses on the entrepreneur and does not provide any specifics, particularly those specifics that would be of greatest interest to the potential investor. Elevator speech #2 immediately shows the investor that you are thinking about their needs and what they’re looking for. It says, “… which I think is very well aligned with the types of investments your fund focuses on…,” immediately proving to the prospective investor that you’ve done some research and are not just throwing out the same canned elevator pitch to everyone you run into. Elevator pitch #2 also quickly gets into key points that are very relevant to most every venture capitalist, such as: “patented technology,” “proven to reduce,” “addressable market,” and “team of veteran entrepreneurs”. With this second pitch, you are “talking their language,” as the saying goes. Such an approach greatly increases the odds that they will listen and grant you the meeting you are seeking.

You can see how this concept of “talking their language” is relevant for any kind of elevator pitch, whether it’s to a potential customer, partner, investor, or any other important constituent. Everyone is busy. Everyone has a natural filter to help them ignore or “pay lip service” to those things that really are not relevant to them. In order to get through this filter, you must be able to put your elevator speech in terms that really matter to the person with whom you are speaking. If you do not take the time and effort to do this, you probably shouldn’t bother giving the elevator pitch, as you’ll only end up sounding irrelevant and confused.

When you are thinking about how to construct your elevator pitch, think about it the same way you would think about any marketing or sales pitch; it must be focused on the benefits you offer that solve specific problems the target is facing. Elsewhere I’ve written about why most marketing does not work because it is focused on features and not benefits. Every prospect with whom you have a “conversation,” regardless of the medium through which that communication occurs, has one thing first and foremost on their mind. What is that one thing? It is solving their issues and problems, particularly the most pressing ones. That’s what we as human beings focus on all day long. If you show up on the scene with your marketing message or elevator pitch and it is not relevant to me, my problems and issues, or my future aspirations, you get filtered out. Period. End of story.

Make sure your elevator pitch quickly gets to the point, which should be how what you have to offer is highly relevant to helping the person with whom you’re speaking solve their issues, problems and aspirations. Keep it under thirty seconds. Have a couple of versions prepared, so you can change it up a bit, based on relevancy to the particular person with whom you’re speaking. Keep refining your pitch based on feedback you receive and results you achieve. Remember, you’re not giving your whole pitch in the elevator; you’re just trying to “open the door,” so they’ll be intrigued enough to be willing to listen to a more detailed version of your pitch. If you do those few things, you should end up with an elevator pitch, or really, a repertoire of elevator pitches, that allow you get your message across to key constituencies quickly and effectively.

Janine Allis on creating a dynamic and effective office culture

By Alex Pirouz (reprinted from Under30CEO).

Co-Founder Janine Allis started Boost Juice in her garage in 2000 out of frustration that she could not find healthy takeaway products for her three children.

Since starting their first store in Adelaide back in year 2000, 11 years later Boost Juice now boasts more than 180 outlets in Australia and 50 overseas (mainly in Britain, Singapore and South Africa). Boost was ranked seventh on BRW‘s list of fastest growing businesses in 2010 and Ms Allis is said to be worth $36 million on the magazine’s Young Rich List.

We spoke with Janine regarding the importance of work culture and how that has attributed to the success of what is now the largest juice and smoothie bar in the southern hemisphere.

Janine, you attribute the success of your business to the fresh, young and dynamic culture that pervades all aspects of the company. Why is that?

The success of every business is based on the quality of people who are hired, that have the right attitude and on the path that you want them to be on. If you haven’t got the right culture or working environment you won’t attract the right people.

When creating a compelling culture at work, what’s most important?

Working with integrity and honesty is the top two most important things when it comes to building a culture.

Do you have a specific formula, criteria or approach when designing a culture?

I think it is just intuitive given that the culture is a moving target all the time. As you know when you work with people you like it’s a lot more enjoyable so we try and find people who are best suited to work with each other to make work that much more enjoyable.

What were some of the challenges you faced in creating such a compelling culture and how did you overcome them?

Oh, we face challenges all the time and the main challenge we find is that if you hire the wrong person in your business they can quickly bring down the culture of the business to the ground, and it’s about recognizing it as quickly as possible and if you can recognize it fix it ASAP.

How do you evaluate if a new candidate you are looking to employ is a good fit for the culture of your organization?

Intuitively you can get a good feeling whether or not they are right for the position. How they answer questions, what they say, recommendations and attitude. We hire on attitude not skill, unless you are applying for a position that requires a certain skill like an accountant or lawyer.

How do you determine if an employee you have hired is no longer a good fit for your company?

In business you need to be very clear on your expectations and all that starts with yourself. We set the expectations from the start, then we work with them to meet it and if they don’t we sit down and figure out why.

Do you recommend companies have an ongoing assessment, maybe once every 6 months or so to evaluate their current culture at work?

I think that every single company out there needs to have a very strong communication strategy. This communication needs to be in written form and for people to know clearly that it exists and that it needs to be followed. I think communication is extremely important.

How do you maintain and uphold a culture once you have developed it?

Treating people with respect, rewarding them and giving them a salary that is appropriate is how you maintain a culture. Have a bit of a laugh and make things fun.

What are some things that can damage or harm cultures at work?

The biggest thing that can kill the culture at work is getting the wrong CEO in the business. By getting the wrong management, you kill the culture of any company.

How do you replace an existing work culture with a new one?

You change the CEO and leadership team because it all starts with them. The CEO hires the managers and the managers then hire the staff so you work your way from the top to the bottom of the chain.

Press release: Ernst & Young Fellows return from Endeavor assignments in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Chile

Click here to see the original release on PR Newswire.

NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2011 — PRNewswire — Ernst & Young LLP’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows have returned from seven-week assignments in Latin America, where they helped high-impact entrepreneurs from the Endeavor Network in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile strengthen their businesses, free of charge. The CR Fellows leveraged their workplace skills to improve a range of business processes, including business strategy, financial reporting, marketing and information technology, for their respective entrepreneurs.

For the seventh consecutive year, this skills-based volunteer program has enabled a group of the firm’s top performers to help high-impact entrepreneurs create jobs, foster innovation and generate broad economic value in regional emerging economies.

“Our Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program underscores the firm’s long-standing commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and valuing them as important players within the global market. In the present economic climate, nurturing entrepreneurs is more crucial than ever,” explains Deborah Holmes, Americas Director of Corporate Responsibility, Ernst & Young LLP. “Through this program, Ernst & Young contributes our most valuable resource — our people — to helping these promising entrepreneurs advance their businesses. This program also reflects Ernst & Young’s deep commitment to helping our people advance in their careers by providing them with global stretch assignments.”

Ernst & Young collaborates with Endeavor, a not-for-profit organization that identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging economies, to match the CR Fellows with their host company. On average, these entrepreneurs employ over 200 local workers, pay 10 times the minimum wage, and generate sustainable economic value with a 96% survival rate after 10 years. To date, 55 high-impact entrepreneurs in Central and South America have received support from Ernst & Young’s CR Fellows.

In 2011, Ernst & Young announced a three-year sponsorship with Endeavor that includes support for International Selection Panels, executive-level mentors and connections, Global events sponsorship and the launch of a new financial course designed expressly for Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

The 2011 Fellows supported 12 distinct entrepreneurs with the following projects:


Diagnostika, a provider of surgical and oncology diagnostic services to hospitals and clinics, received assistance from a Detroit-based Advisory senior manager to prepare for an upcoming ERP implementation

Tecno Logys, a provider of wall-building solutions for Brazil’s largest construction companies, worked with a Tax manager from Columbus who enhanced their accounting processes

Endeavor Brazil, the local entity of the global not-for-profit, created a budget and financial analysis system with the support of a New York-based Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services senior manager


GrupoMIA, a provider of quality housing options to underprivileged populations in Mexico, had a balanced scorecard created by a New York-based Advisory manager

Alibio, a microbiology researcher and developer for the agricultural aquaculture and wastewater treatment markets, received guidance from a New Jersey-based assistant director in marketing to develop strategic marketing initiatives

Chilim Balam, a small chain of candy stores, improved their IT capabilities with the assistance of an Advisory manager based in New York

Mexis, an IT managed service provider, worked with a Miami-based Transaction Advisory Services senior manager to produce an expansion plan


Keepcon, a moderator of user-generated content, worked with a San Francisco-based Assurance manager to improve their budgeting and cash flow management processes

Socialmetrix, a provider of market intelligence solutions, re-engineered their key business processes with the help of a San-Francisco-based Advisory senior manager

Smowtion, an online display ad network, received assistance from a Transaction Advisory Services manager from Tel Aviv for the development of an improved reporting system


Plataforma Networks, an online community for architects, had assistance with an expansion plan from an Austin-based Advisory manager

Araucania Yarns, a producer of hand-dyed knitting yarn, enhanced their accounting and financial reporting processes with the assistance of a Boston-based Advisory manager.

“High-impact entrepreneurs hold the key to economic growth in emerging markets,” notes Linda Rottenberg, CEO and co-Founder of Endeavor. “With the strategic business support provided through Ernst & Young’s Fellows, we have the opportunity to create thriving companies that generate thousands of employment opportunities and millions in wages and revenues.”

Ernst & Young’s Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program is an extension of the organization’s global commitment to entrepreneurship, which includes the global Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards program, now commemorating its 25th year. This milestone marks the program’s tremendous growth in scale and influence and celebrates its establishment as the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs.

In addition to the Corporate Responsibility Fellows program, Ernst & Young LLP demonstrates support for the next generation of entrepreneurs with three additional programs:

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, launched in 2008, helps outstanding women entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their businesses by identifying and connecting them with the advisors, resources, and insights they need to scale up and become market leaders.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni-Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, created in collaboration with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), will provide scholarships for NFTE students while supporting NFTE in its mission of helping underserved youth pursue educational opportunities, start their own businesses, and succeed in life. In addition to the Fund, Ernst & Young professionals provide leadership on each of NFTE’s 11 Regional Advisory Boards across the US and demonstrate extensive volunteerism in NFTE programs.

Ernst & Young awarded an in-kind donation of $1 million dollars of professional services to Kiva.org, the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website that has helped fund over 670,000 entrepreneurs in developing markets. Ernst & Young LLP professionals from the Advisory and Assurance service lines contribute their time to Kiva.org in support of projects designed to help Kiva evaluate financial data and improve its controls.

SOURCE Ernst & Young LLP

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!

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