Endeavor, a global network of entrepreneur communities and resources, just announced a plan to open its first U.S. foray in Miami this year, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The initial purpose of Endeavor’s communities was to bring and American-style entrepreneurial mentor program and opportunities to entrepreneurs in emerging markets, such as Latin America. But over time, the company says it began to see that certain American communities could also benefit from Endeavor’s entrepreneurial mentor program.
Said David Wachtel, SVP of Marketing, Communications and Partnerships:
“Our co-founder and CEO, Linda Rottenberg, found that although Endeavor was set up to bring US networking and mentorship to other countries, people in the past few years began asking her repeatedly when we would open in the States. She was initially quite surprised but came to realize that many of the great things that are happening regularly in Silicon Valley or NY’s Flatiron district have not been shared equally in other parts of the U.S.”
Miami was chosen as the company’s first foray into the U.S. market. What this means is that entrepreneurs in southern Florida will soon have the opportunity to apply for the entrepreneurial program. That program gives them access to local mentors, international networks of business professionals, interns from top business schools, invitations to educational programs including a specialized course at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, a volunteer advisory board of local business leaders, and more.
Wachtel noted that South Florida came up regularly on lists of places with strong potential for entrepreneurship. But, he says, entrepreneurial ventures did not seem to be scaling there. But key stakeholders in the local business and civic community in Florida including the Knight Foundation, were very interested.
While there’s no set launch date for the Miami program just yet, Wachtel said the company hopes to have a board recruited and a managing director hired by the end of 2013, at which point they can start recruiting entrepreneurial candidates.
In all of its communities, Endeavor focuses specifically on “high-impact” entrepreneurs, which it defines as those who could help bring the most growth to the local economy and business community. Says Wachtel:
“While a typical entrepreneurial venture may employ 2 people, a high impact entrepreneur is one who is capable of turning their initial start-up into a seriously sized business both in terms of revenue and job creation. Once selected to Endeavor we focus on supporting entrepreneurs in ways that will help make their ventures scale.”
The selection process for Endeavor entrepreneurs can take between 12-18 months. It includes meetings with staff and Endeavor mentors who help the entrepreneurs focus their business goals and plans. Wachtel said that even the entrepreneurs who aren’t selected to join Endeavor have said that the experience can be very helpful as it forces them to ask tough questions about their business plans.
Endeavor is headquartered in New York City and operates in 16 countries throughout Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Southeast Asia. The company first launched in 1997. So far it has screened more than 30,000 entrepreneurs through its programs and selected 766 individuals who lead 476 companies.
Endeavor plans to launch in two to three additional countries in 2013, and looks to have a presence in 25 countries by 2020.