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People told us we were crazy. We took it as a compliment.
In 1997, Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner sat down and, like many entrepreneurs before and after, sketched their vision on the back of a napkin. Peter had just returned from a Harvard Business School trip to China, where he had witnessed first-hand the boom in entrepreneurship that would transform that country.
For Linda, the light bulb moment for Endeavor came in the back of a taxi cab in Buenos Aires. She struck up a conversation with the driver and was shocked to learn he had a PhD in Engineering. She asked if he hadn’t considered becoming an entrepreneur instead of driving a taxi. “An empresario?” he said dismissively, using the Spanish word for a big businessman. It suddenly occurred to her that there was no Spanish word for “entrepreneur.”
The “business plan” that began on the back of a napkin has become a shared vision, cultivated and expanded by board members, staff and entrepreneurs around the globe. Their passion and commitment have created a movement and transformed Endeavor into something far bigger than the founders could have imagined.
in the midst of an emerging market currency crisis brought on by the collapse of the Thai bhat.
as a “Top 100 Innovator for the 21st Century.”
despite the Latin American currency crisis.
marking the first office in the African region.
to support Endeavor’s sustainability goals.
becoming the first Endeavor Entrepreneur to do so.
becoming the first Endeavor Entrepreneur to serve as a country board chairman.
to study entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world.
among the uprisings and economic changes of the “Arab Spring”.
to connect entrepreneurs with international venture capital and investment firms.
with the latter two marking the first entries into Europe and Asia.
taking the organization’s focus beyond emerging markets.
marking Endeavor Catalyst’s first investment to go public.
an honor akin to a Nobel Prize for the nonprofit sector.
marking Endeavor Catalyst’s second investment to have an exit.
demonstrating the potential for entrepreneurs to become influencers.
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