In February, Endeavor launched in Nigeria, and I joined as Managing Director. Our goal is to select, support and mentor the best high-impact entrepreneurs, building scale-up companies with strong regional or international potential. Historically (20 years and counting), about 2% of entrepreneurs we screen have succesfully been selected to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Currently, there are over 1,600 entrepreneurs in our global network, joined by 4,000 leading investors, businesspeople and mentors. The strength of the Endeavor Network is at the core of what we call ‘The Magic of Endeavor’.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs are internationally recognised as among the best in their fields. Our entrepreneurs span the globe. From Johannesburg to Nairobi, Jakarta to Buenos Aires, Milan to Istanbul, they are building great businesses, growing revenues, creating jobs, raising capital and directly impacting and influencing their local ecosystems. Since 1997, Endeavour companies have created 700,000 jobs, and in 2016, had combined revenues of $10 billion.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs on average grow their companies and create jobs 2.4X and 5.4X faster than comps, are 4X more likely to inspire, 4X more likely to invest and 8X more likely to mentor the next generation.
At Endeavor, we select the entrepreneur – that means our Endeavor Entrepreneurs have a lifelong relationship with the Network, and have access to our services, platforms and mentors wherever they go, and for every company they start.
We are not an incubator or an accelerator. We offer Endeavor Entrepreneurs a network of talented individuals and organisations aligned with our mission of scaling high-impact entrepreneurship, in order to help them (1) think bigger (10x revenues!), (2) make better business decisions (by accessing talent, capital, mentors and markets), and (3) multiply their influence by becoming role models, mentors and investors themselves in their local ecosystems.
Who is an Endeavor Entrepreneur?
At Endeavor we focus on high-impact entrepreneurs. While of course also important in an economy, we are not focused on very early startups, small businesses or social impact ventures (although social impact is typically a significant fallout of our entrepreneurs’ success).
For us, three things define high impact entrepreneurship, and we look for each of these from our Endeavor Entrepreneurs:
- She possesses the biggest, most innovative ideas and the capacity to realise them.
- He scales his business, creating significantly more wealth and high-quality jobs.
- She/he reinvests their knowledge, credibility and financial gains in the next generation of entrepreneurs, thus multiplying their influence.
Endeavor Entrepreneurs include Mona Ataya, Founder of Mumzworld, the leading e-commerce retailer of mother, baby and child products in the Middle East and North Africa (Endeavor UAE); Idriss Al Rifai, Co-Founder of Fetchr, an on-demand mobile-first delivery and logistics company in the Middle East (Endeavor UAE); Ken Njoroge and Bolaji Akinboro, Co-Founders of Cellulant, a mobile-first fintech company driving financial inclusion in Kenya and Nigeria (Endeavor Kenya); and Thomas Pays, Mitchan Adams and Lyle Eckstein, Co-Founders of iPay, a bank to bank online payment gateway in South Africa (Endeavor South Africa).
Thomas, Mitch and Lyle joined the Network after successfully passing at our 77th ISP in Dubai last week. And with Endeavor’s help, Ken and Bolaji recently closed an important financing round for their company.
In Dubai, we also welcomed Abdulla Elyas, Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, Co-Founders of Careem (the Middle East’s dominant ride hailing service, valued at over $1bn) among the newest cohort of Endeavor Entrepreneurs. Endeavor’s influence, network and access is unrivalled, and cuts across experience, geographies, industries and functional expertise.
We look for entrepreneurs that are likely to become the next “big bubbles” in their local ecosystems. The goal is to catalyse a multiplier effect, as Endeavor Entrepreneurs turbo-charge their companies’ growth, and over time, mentor, invest and inspire others to also become the next “big bubbles”.
Why Do We Do This?
We are not-for-profit; Endeavor’s goal is to drive economic development through high-impact entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a powerful economic tool and we believe that high-impact entrepreneurs can literally change the world. At the core of our mind-set is the conviction that while talent may be evenly distributed, opportunity is not.
Endeavor has developed a very successful model that aims to eliminate barriers to critical capital, mentorship and markets, for the very best entrepreneurs in the world.
Why Nigeria, Why now?
Nigeria has the potential to be one of Endeavor’s most interesting markets for a number of reasons, not least the active tech and non-tech ecosystems concentrated in Lagos and the potential TAM given our population and various deficits. There are a number of exciting entrepreneurs and companies that we believe offer a strong potential pipeline for Endeavor Nigeria, and that we believe can achieve regional dominance with the right mentorship and access.
I’m proud to have joined Endeavor to lead the Nigeria office at a time when the ecosystem is visibly maturing and entrepreneurial opportunities are increasingly vast. The team and I look forward to working with Nigeria’s Endeavor Entrepreneurs to drive value from the Endeavor Network and, critically, to give back to the ecosystem.
More personally, I’m keen to actively help create more scale success stories and to help more founders and investors achieve more exits. The team and I are partners to any entrepreneurs and investors focused on building great companies in Nigeria. With Endeavor, my day job has literally become figuring out how to work with the top 2% of founders to achieve break-out success in Nigeria and beyond.
We are backed by the Omidyar Network and have a phenomenal board of directors; accomplished business people who are supporting our efforts with their philanthropy. Their talent, expertise and networks cut across most major sectors in Nigeria and they are Endeavor Nigeria’s biggest champions. Like me, they believe that a focus on high-impact entrepreneurship will probably change the landscape of our country in under a generation.
We are also building out an incredible Endeavor Nigeria Mentor Network, bringing together business leaders with talent, experience, expertise, deep bench-strength and a similar passion to our own for the benefit of our companies. Endeavor’s success in each of our 32 countries is driven by the quality of the local mentors each team recruits, which include some of the most impressive professionals in the world. Learn about our Network here.
I’m excited that Endeavor Nigeria has launched and we look forward to working with you!
This is the first in a short series of articles I’ll be doing about Endeavor Nigeria and how we hope to work with Endeavor Entrepreneurs in Nigeria. I look forward to updating you on our progress.
Till then, find us on Twitter at @EndeavorNigeria.