Think Bigger! The Entrepreneur Scaleup-support Movement Helping to Build Better Societies
“If the size and number of corporations that were started by entrepreneurs that have a pay-it-forward mentality increased, the world could be a better place.” Fostering companies that have a positive impact on society by supporting high-impact entrepreneurs, and building the ecosystem to do so, is the mission of the entrepreneur-support organization Endeavor.
Entrepreneurs do not necessarily have to be solving social issues directly to be eligible for Endeavor’s support. The focus is on entrepreneurs that want to “scale up” in a way that impacts society such as creating local employment because Endeavor believes that this has the potential to make society, and perhaps even the world as a whole, a better place.
In fact, in the 23 years since its founding in 1997, the organization has expanded its operations to 37 locations and 59 cities, created 1.4 million jobs by 2017, and in 2017 alone the companies it supports generated $15 billion in profits.
Scaling up: The First Step Towards a Better Society
Endeavor provides entrepreneurs with the three types of support they need to scale up: a network and mentors, talent, and access to smart capital. As entrepreneurs in different countries and different regions work in largely different environments and have different needs, it is important to tailor support accordingly. For example, while in developed countries the support is aimed at providing more options to entrepreneurs and creating more diverse and dynamic ecosystems, in emerging markets, the focus is on creating entrepreneur ecosystems where entrepreneurs can actually scale.
Argentinean start-up “Mercado Libre”, which operates online marketplaces dedicated to E-commerce and became an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 1999, is a representative case study of how an entrepreneur can achieve success through Endeavor’s support. In 2007, it became the first Latin American company to list on the NASDAQ at a time when investment in companies in the region was still rare. Their success led the way for a further 19 Argentinean companies to achieve a listing in the 10 years that followed. As a result, Latin American companies have seen an increase in investment from the developed world, which has expanded the network whereby entrepreneurs in the region can invest in and support each other. “Endeavor’s support creates ecosystems which consolidate entrepreneurial and management knowledge in the region.” The Mercado Libre case study is proof of that.
It is the Entrepreneurs that Excel in Times of Change
With the COVID-19 pandemic having a significant impact on entrepreneurial activities, Endeavor was quick to implement support measures to help entrepreneurs manage their business through the crisis.
The first step was to create the “Endeavor Entrepreneur Resource Center” website offering both Endeavor Entrepreneurs and general entrepreneurs’ fast access to the latest information about the pandemic. Successful Endeavor Entrepreneurs and board members generously shared information covering a wide range of overlapping issues that entrepreneurs needed to address immediately, such as finance and human resources management. Endeavor also hosted several webinars and consultations, such as the one on April 17 featuring Endeavor Global board member and founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. The session was viewed live by over 650 entrepreneurs from more than 30 countries.
Endeavor’s support during the pandemic has not only helped entrepreneurs with the actual management of their business but also the psychological aspect. By connecting entrepreneurs with other entrepreneurs and mentors with a wealth of experience, they provide pillars of emotional support for entrepreneurs fighting a daily lone battle in unprecedented times. Endeavor entrepreneur Nadhir Ashafiq, co-founder of Malaysian start-up The Lorry is thankful for the advice and information Endeavor provided him. “It helped us in the decision-making process as well as emotionally in running a business because it involves people and livelihood,” he explains.
Many entrepreneurs are already feeling the effects of Endeavor’s fast support. One entrepreneur, whom the pandemic had left with just three months of funding, was able to leverage advice they received through the private webinars and consultations with mentors to safely secure further investment. Another entrepreneur who had planned to get listed by the end of 2020 turned to Endeavor after being advised to postpone and, through consultation with mentors, was able to solve postponement-related issues such as a shortage of cash-flow by finding alternative methods of fundraising.
The pandemic presents a massive challenge but also a massive opportunity for entrepreneurs to make all the business they have developed bloom. Nearpod, a US-based company providing education services online, which has been providing its services at a lower price or free during the pandemic, is leveraging support from Endeavor’s offices around the world to tap into the growing global demand for online education and accelerate the rollout of their services on a global scale.
Support from ANA BLUE WING
ANA might be considered a large corporation today, but it too started as a venture company with just two helicopters. That is why ANA supports Endeavor in their mission to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive while building better societies, helping them to extend their reach to entrepreneurs who will make the world a better place. The BLUE WING Program created by ANA supports changemakers like Endeavor Japan by subsidizing their airfares. By helping to foster entrepreneurs with a desire to make society better and helping them scale up we can surely make our world a better place.