High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Join the global conversation

Entrepreneurs

Endeavor Greece Celebrates Two Years and 3,500+ Jobs Created By Its Entrepreneurs

Endeavor Greece released an infographic and video to highlight the office’s impact during its two year anniversary. The team supports some of the region’s top high-impact entrepreneurs who continue to drive sustainable job creation and contribute to […]

December 18th, 2014 — by admin

Read more

In the news

Endeavor Entrepreneur Mauricio Hoyos Named a Top “Innovator Under 35″ by MIT Technology Review

Endeavor Entrepreneur Mauricio Hoyos was recently named to MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators Under 35 – Colombia” ranking, which recognizes ten local leaders who are finding innovative solutions to regional challenges. As founders of the Colombia-based […]

December 17th, 2013 — by admin

Read more
Get RSS Feed

Endeavor Entrepreneur Daniel Daccarett receives crime prevention award

On September 28, Chile’s government awarded Endeavor Entrepreneur Daniel Daccarett a major honor. As CEO of Producto Protegido, Daniel received the “Public-Private Partnership: Committed to Safety 2011” award for the company’s work in theft protection. The award is given annually by Chile’s Secretary of Crime Prevention to businesses that have “made notable efforts in matters of security and have become an integral component for a more efficient public safety, for the benefit of our entire community.”

Producto Protegido provides product protection services by laser printing a unique code on the property, and then storing the code in the National Register of Protected Product Goods. Besides deterring criminals from stealing the marked item in the first place, the code also contains information such as brand, manufacturer, photographs of the product, and owner contact information. If a marked good is stolen, the registered code facilitates the recovery of the stolen product. Producto Protegido’s online database works directly with authorities to minimize the market for stolen goods and to maximize the possibility of returning stolen goods to owners.

After building a website where everyone can register their marked products, Producto Protegido saw people’s great interest in marking their property and built special products for people’s most valuable goods. Producto Protegido now offers a Home Development Kit that allows people to mark goods inside of their home, an Electronic Development Kit for portable electronics, and an Auto Kit for vehicles and bikes. All these products have assisted the government’s goal of reducing criminal activity and the resale of stolen goods, and have made Producto Protegido well deserving of this major recognition.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Zafer Younis (Modern Media; Jordan) featured in UAE newspaper

UAE newspaper The National has featured Endeavor Entrepreneur Zafer Younis in an article, “A silicon oasis blooms in Jordan”.

The article sheds lights on Zafer’s entrepreneurial career, including the struggles that came with beginning his efforts at such a young age:

Mr Younis, 31, is a co-founder and the chief executive of Play 99.6 FM, the country’s first independent English-language radio station, which was launched in 2004. He is also a self-proclaimed ambassador of social media, technology and all things online. Since the launch of the station – he applied for a licence when he was just 16 – he has gone on to launch Modern Media, a marketing and events company and The Online Project (TOP), which applies social media tools to business.

Times have changed since he struggled to get noticed, Mr Younis says, and the current ease of securing the support and funding required for a new technology business has led to a stream of internet-based companies in Jordan.

“Seven years ago when we wanted to start our own business, we were laughed at [because we were so young]…Everyone said you need at least 10 years of experience. Access to funding was nearly impossible back then. There is a huge difference in appetite between when we launched Play FM and when we launched TOP two years ago. Today, you can see well-established businessmen sitting with young entrepreneurs helping them develop their ideas.”

The article, which also quotes other young Jordanian “idea entrepreneurs”, can be found here.

Ernst & Young Corporate Responsibility Fellows hit the ground running in Brazil

(L to R) Jamie Schafer, Tyler Schleich, Katie Duggan

By Tyler D. Schleich, Tax Manager, Ernst & Young LLP

Time Irado (pronounced Tee-May E-Raw-do) was born on August 30, 2011, in Secaucus, New Jersey. That’s when I joined 10 of my colleagues from across Ernst & Young for orientation for the Americas Corporate Responsibility (CR) Fellows Program. The loose translation of the Portuguese is “Team Awesome,” which includes three of us who are serving as CR Fellows in Brazil: Katie Duggan, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services manager (New York, New York), Jamie Shafer, Advisory manager (Detroit, Michigan) and me (Columbus, Ohio). Other teams are deployed to Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile.

The CR Fellows Program is a skills-based volunteer initiative where “top performers” (I use the term loosely because I’m included) travel to emerging markets and are paired with some of Latin America’s top Entrepreneurs. [Note: Entrepreneur is spelled with a capital ‘E’ as these folks are the real deal.] Every businessman has a story, but not everyone has the guts, glory and appetite to lay it all out on the line like these transcendent personalities who grow businesses with nothing more than a dream.

The CR Fellows Program is a collaboration between Ernst & Young LLP and Endeavor to help foster growth, create jobs and build communities. As a Fellow, I am paired with an Entrepreneur who is changing the way construction and building materials are produced, delivered and installed, which — given Brazil’s construction boom — is a very good thing. However, as most business professionals know, growing too fast can create challenges. Technical resources are needed along the way including Information Technology, Accounting, Tax and the list goes on. It can also be helpful to have someone assist in thinking a longer range strategic plan. That’s where a program like the CR Fellows comes into play, by helping to provide some of that technical help that may be missing, and by bringing in a different perspective on growth.

So, Team Brazil heads to Sao Paulo for just under two months to donate about a thousand skills-based volunteer hours to three Brazilian Entrepreneurs.

Three traits that set apart the best entrepreneurs

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

By Omar Aysha

Saad Khan, venture capitalist and thought leader in the fields of technology, design and media, spoke recently at Startup Weekend Alexandria about why he believes entrepreneurs are “the new asset class.” He invests in people, not companies, he said, because, “the ideas can change- it’s the people that matter.” Khan also explained that the best entrepreneurs all possess three distinctive traits:

1. They rewrite the rules. Imagine that someone is beating you in chess, but you reframe the rules of the game so that you’re now playing checkers- this is the kind of flexible thinking that entrepreneurs use in innovation and competition. As an example, Saad mentioned Rich Skrenta, who created Blekko, a search engine that uses slash tags to facilitate topic-based search (Saad is an investor). Rich is credited with writing and releasing the first computer virus, which he did because he wanted to create the maximum amount of impact using the least effort.

2. They never say die. Saad gave the example of Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora over a decade ago. In 2000, Pandora was poised to be the next big thing, but legal battles and bad timing and planning caused Tim to blow his initial $1.5m in funding in no time, leaving him facing financial ruin. At the time, however, Tim believed in his product enough to use his personal credit cards to keep Pandora going. As Pandora’s strategy and product evolved, Tim met over 300 investors over the years who all said ‘no.’ But he persevered. His staff also believed in the product enough that they worked without pay for 3 years! Finally, in 2004, he got a VC to say ‘yes.’ This year, over 10 years after its launch, Pandora reached an IPO of $3 billion.

3. They inspire. Salman Khan (no relation to Saad) was a teenager who wanted to help his friends and family, so he made a few tutorial videos about standard school subjects and shared the videos with them on YouTube. He found that it wasn’t only his friends and family that watched these videos, however- thousands of others did as well. So he began creating more videos and got others to contribute as well. What he ended up inventing was the world’s first open-source virtual school, the Khan Academy. Salman is now Bill Gates’s favourite teacher.

At the end of his speech, Saad was asked whether an entrepreneur should ever quit- surely some reach a point where the only option is to stop? Saad replied by saying that good entrepreneurs fail fast and move forward by changing strategy. In short, great entrepreneurs “don’t quit, they pivot.”

Saad Khan is a Partner at CMEA Capital. He’s a seed and early stage investor (in Blekko, Pixazza, Jobvite, Lending Club), passionate about the future of the Internet, a film fanatic (co-founder of the Film Angels), and an advocate for social entrepreneurship.


Omar Aysha is a former video-game developer, turned IT entrepreneur and tech writer, who is weeks away from launching an Egyptian entrepreneurship magazine.

Silicon Valley recognizes global startup ecosystem

Reprinted from GrowVC. See the original post here

By Markus Lampinen.

There is no denying that the mecca for startups, venture capital and angel investing, has long been Silicon Valley. The whole startup world knows this. But the smartest people in the Valley already know that a lot is happening outside the Valley and outside the US for that matter.

People like [Endeavor Global Network Member] Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups that organizes “Geeks On A Plane“, tour different parts of the global startup ecosystem and have made it a habit to make sure there is a group of SV people traveling different parts of the world to learn how the startup ecosystems are developing. [Click here to learn about Endeavor’s recent involvement with “Geeks on a Plane.”] All the while networking with like-minded entrepreneurial people in a travel setting, outside the usual day to day. Being taken out of ones comfort zone might even create longer lasting relationships than usual.

Also SV being the Mecca that it is, makes SV people warmly welcome around the globe, to share their views and latest startup Valley tricks. Those living and working on their startups outside the valley, this is just a temporary motivational and knowledge boost they get. For traveling geeks, after the travel there is a stretched out inbox waiting to explode and a lot of stuff to do, so pretty fast, those experiences and people met on travels will start to go unnoticed by the pure amount of own local work that needs to be taken care of.

The most common solution for developing the relationship beyond this encounter is the “go to Silicon Valley” approach. While that can work for some, it does not work for everyone and most definitely does not work for those trying to build and develop their own local ecosystems.

Many cities in the US outside Silicon Valley have the same exact issue as global cities. Smart people like Paige Craig, angel investor from Sacramento evaluated his options and made a decision to not go to Silicon Valley to build his Angel investor profile, but instead decided to stay in Southern California and make that “his territory” to work on. As active as the SV community is, there is also a lot of noise, extreme competition for resources of all kinds and many people in the ecosystem that are looking to take advantage of those coming from outside the Valley. The shining beacon of success can lure one and another to the Valley ecosystem.

Getting back to the topic, there is no one solution that works for building a startup or to become a successful investor that gets access to good deals. There is just hard work and smart choices to be made depending on what is the best approach in each situation. The smartest people from the Valley know this very well and beyond just visiting other places they are actively engaging, building their networks and doing actual investments in companies beyond their own neighborhoods, regardless of what that neighborhood is, Silicon Valley or some other place.

The only simple fact that remains is that the real money, that originates from customers exists outside of any single city and that’s where the focus of the business needs to be. And for everyone on the globe the distance to the global market is the same, about two feet from their nose to the closest screen with access to the Internet. That is what ”global” is. It’s not what was described as “export” business in the old world or “going international”. It’s none of those things. It’s the Internet and it’s global by nature.

Three quick entrepreneurial sales lessons

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

By Daniel Tenner

Daniel is the founder of several companies including GrantTree. He blogs about startups and founders at Swombat.com. You can also find him on Twitter.

1. “Every no gets you closer to a yes.”

Permeating the human science (or art) of sales is this fundamental idea: sales fail all the time.

One of the hardest things for me to get used to, as a geek/artist/writer in business, is the constant disappointment of sales. The harsh reality, however, is that many leads will not turn into clients, no matter how exciting they might seem at first. And yet each lead must be given attention, enthusiasm, dedication, and so on, if it is to have any chance at all of turning into a sale.

Some people are very good at working on 50 new deals a week knowing that 45 will fall through. They deeply, personally understand that every no gets you closer to a yes, and yet don’t let it distract them from pursuing every answer with tenacity, ferocity even. We call them salespeople, and many people look down on them, but those people often make the difference between a business and yet another failed startup.

Competent salespeople, particularly those with an entrepreneurial attitude and the ability to work things out as they go along, are rare and precious. Treasure them.

2. “It’s not over until the fat lady sings.”

However, even if you’re not a salesperson, you will have to pursue and close deals. Deals, like sales, fail all the time. Never ever make critical decisions that depend on a deal happening (be it a grant application, an investment, a merger, or even just a new customer), until the money is in the bank. Even happily signed contracts are no guarantee that the money will actually change hands some day. The only thing you know for sure when you hold a signed contract in your hands is that the other person knows how to use a pen.

As an extreme example, one potential GrantTree customer we were talking to, at one point, asked us, “so, if you’re going to write this application for us, can I take on some loans right now on the basis of this grant?” That is almost exactly the wrong attitude when dealing with any kind of deal that’s not certain, and as we’ve already established, no deal is ever certain until the money is in your bank account.

Never base future expenses or commitments on money that’s not in the bank yet, even if it’s owed to you, even if you have an apparently ironclad contract. Any number of things can happen between now and then that can change that certitude into a painful (hopefully not fatal) disappointment.

3. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

Another truism of sales, which emerges from the high failure rate of any deliberate sales endeavour, is that customers that you already have on your books are worth much more than potential leads.

This is actually something many (though not all) salespeople fail at, because of the natural focus of sales around getting more leads and converting them. However, as a business owner, you can’t afford to make that mistake. It’s very tempting, when chasing a $100k deal, to look down on the 4 or 5 $10k deals you already have as a comparative waste of your time. And maybe, when you regularly close $100k+ deals, you should start turning away customers that are just too small for you. But until then, treat every customer as well as if there were no more leads coming for the next year.

If you treat customers well and they like you and are happy with your services and products, they will provide the best kind of leads: “hot”, word-of-mouth leads. They will also provide you with testimonials, client success stories, and other sales materials that you can use to get more leads and more sales. Your customers can be your best salespeople, but only if you treat them right.

Conversely, if you treat your customers badly, word will spread about that too, and leads will mysteriously become ever harder to close. So, treat them well.

Seth Godin on talent and vendors

Reposted with permission from Sethgodin.typead.com. See the original post here.

By Seth Godin

You may be purchasing services from people with magical talents (artists) and it’s a mistake to confuse them with vendors.

As we get more and more service oriented, it’s an easy mistake to make. You’re busy buying cleaning services or consulting or design, and sometimes the person you’re working with is a vendor, and sometimes they’re not–they’re an artist, “the talent.”

A vendor is someone who exists to sell you something. It doesn’t always matter to the vendor what’s being sold, as long as it’s being sold and paid for.

The quality of what’s being delivered is rarely impacted by the method of transaction. The turnips will still show up, the house will still get painted. You can send an RFP to a vendor, bid it out, get the lowest price, sign the contract and if you write the contract properly, will get what you ordered.

The quality of the work you get from the talent changes based on how you work with her.

That’s the key economic argument for the distinction: if you treat an artist like a vendor, you’ll often get mediocre results in return. On the other hand, if you treat a vendor like an artist, you’ll waste time and money.

Vendors happily sit in the anonymous cubes at Walmart’s headquarters, waiting for the buyer to show up and dicker with them. They willingly fill out the paperwork and spend hours discussing terms and conditions. The vendor is agnostic about what’s being sold, and is focused on volume, or at least consistency.

While the talent is also getting paid (to be in your movie, to do consulting, to coach you), she is not a vendor. She’s not playing by the same rules and is not motivated in the same way.

A key element of the distinction is that in addition to the varying output potential, vendors are easier to replace than talent is.

Target understood this when they reached out to Michael Graves to design a line of goods that sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of items. When I interviewed Michael a few years ago, he had nothing but great things to say about the way Target invited him in and gave him the ability to do his work. Threadless embraces this when they treat the designers of their t-shirts in a non-corporate way. Etsy is built on this single truth.

Most industry is built on vendor relationships, and vendors expect (and sometimes value) the impersonal nature of their relationships. This scales… until you lump in the talent.

Should you treat vendors with respect? No doubt about it. Human beings do their best work when they’re treated fairly and with enthusiasm. But when the provider is also digging deep to put something on the table that you can’t possibly write a spec for, you’re going to have to respond in kind.

Khaled Ismail, first Endeavor Entrepreneur in Middle East, appointed Endeavor Egypt Board Chairman

Endeavor Egypt announced that Khaled Ismail has been elected as the organization’s Board Chairman.

After being selected as Endeavor’s first high-impact entrepreneur in the Middle East in 2007, Khaled Ismail built the company he founded, SySDSoft, which became one of the leading companies in designing wireless communications systems. SySDSoft sold most of its IP and assets to Intel in March 2011. Ismail now serves as the Managing Director of Intel Mobile Communications.

“I’m much honored to be chairing the Endeavor Egypt Board. I am passionate about Endeavor, and I have a dream to see Endeavor playing a significant role in driving entrepreneurship in Egypt. Being selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur was truly a turning point,” says Ismail.

Khaled Ismail is a former Cairo University Professor with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (nano -electronics) from MIT (1989). He worked at IBM’s Watson Research Center in the design of novel devices and materials for the semi-conductor industry. He has published over 160 papers and issued 22 US patents, and received various honorary awards. Between 2005 and 2007, Ismail was the senior adviser of the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, overseeing the technology development sector.
Endeavor Egypt’s Board of Trustees includes some of the leading business figures in Egypt, such as: Khaled Bichara (Executive Chairman, Orascom Telecom), Hassan Abdallah (Vice Chairman/Managing Director, AAIB), Tarek Mansour (Country Senior Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers) and Tarek Tawfik (Managing Director, Cairo Poultry Group). Naguib Sawiris, former Board Chairman, will continue to support Endeavor Egypt as Board Chairman Emeritus.

For more information, please visit Endeavor Egypt’s website.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Lilian Simbaqueba recognized on Forbes.com

In the Forbes.com article “Predicting the Path Out of Poverty: Microfinance & Credit Risk Analysis,” Endeavor Entrepreneur Lilian Simbaqueba is recognized for the success of her risk analysis company, LiSim.

First starting out in 1996 in Bogotá, Colombia, Lilian found her niche in the field of microfinance and developed one of the world’s first scoring systems that determines which individuals would most benefit from uncollateralized loans.

Author Elmira Bayrasli describes how through Accion International Lilian was able “to expand LiSim to 26 countries worldwide, including neighboring Peru and Bolivia as well as India, Bangladesh and several in Eastern Europe. By 2007 she had 50 percent of the market share in Colombia and Latin America.”

However Lilian was not satisfied.

“There were two problems with this,” Lilian says. Though she had managed to salvage her business by taking on microfinance lenders, she was not bringing in the revenue needed to scale LiSim up. “Accion wanted to work on one project a year. That was not enough,” she says.

It is Lilian’s adaptability and “thinking big” that has enabled her to continue to serve the poor while transforming her client base.

Today, 40 percent of LiSim’s clients are telecom and utility companies (Telefonica is her largest client), cable television providers and other for-profit enterprises such as Colombia’s largest fitness chain, BodyTech. Microfinance comprises 10 percent of LiSim’s business. “I’m still serving the poor,” Lilian says.

She serves them through the telecom and utility companies that use credit scoring for lower income clients. This has enabled several thousands to gain access to phone lines, mobile and landline, electricity, gas and water. “These are things that the poor need,” Lilian says, “wherever they are. That’s something that microfinance misses.”

Read the article in full here.

Remembering entrepreneur Felipe Cubillos

Update: to learn more about Felipe and his incredible accomplishments, check out this new article in the New York Times, “On a Mission to Help Chile Until the Very End.”

The Endeavor community deeply regrets the passing of entrepreneur Felipe Cubillos, whose life was cut short in a tragic plane crash near the Juan Fernández Islands earlier this month. Felipe was traveling to a ceremony celebrating reconstruction efforts in response to the February 2010 earthquake off the coast of Chile when his plane went down with 21 passengers on board. Felipe was an accomplished sailor, author, entrepreneur, and tireless promoter of his organization Desafio Levantemos Chile (Lift Up/Rise Up Chile Challenge). Endeavor selected Felipe in March 2002 for his company Senegocia. The 48-year-old father of four will certainly be missed, and Endeavor sends warm thoughts to his family and friends in this difficult time.


You never should give up. You shouldn’t believe that things aren’t going to happen only because they get very difficult. You have to keep moving forward. You shouldn’t be afraid to lose everything, because if you have earned everything in a good way, for sure you will recover it, multiplied.
– Felipe Cubillos

Contact us

Press center

Community

Newsletter Sign Up