Endeavor Launches in Nigeria, Continuing Expansion of High-Impact Entrepreneurship Movement in Sub-Saharan Africa

Endeavor launched a new office in Nigeria this January, aiming to usher in a new era of growth and economic development driven by high-impact entrepreneurship in the country. Launching with support from local business leaders and a partnership with Omidyar Network, Endeavor Nigeria will support  entrepreneurs and companies that have passed through the initial start-up phase and who demonstrate the potential for rapid expansion and scale.

Endeavor Nigeria will be led by a strong founding board, chaired by Atedo Peterside, founder of IBTC Bank (now StanbicIBTC Bank), and vice-chaired by Bolaji Balogun, CEO of Chapel Hill Denham and CIO of Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund. The founding board, which convened for the first time in January, will also include Suresh Chellaram, managing director of Chellarams PLC; Mitchell Elegbe, founder and CEO of Interswitch; Faysal El Khalil, chairman of Seven Up Bottling Company; Jaideep Gulab, CEO of Assan Oil Mills and Chairman of Rosemonde Limited; and Yemi Lalude, managing partner at TPG Growth.

Endeavor Nigeria Managing Director Eloho Omame (fifth from left) with the Endeavor Nigeria Founding Board at their inaugural meeting in January.

With a population of 20 million people, Africa’s largest city Lagos is one of the leading centers of high-growth entrepreneurship across the continent. The local entrepreneurship ecosystem, valued at $2 billion, is believed to be the most valuable in Africa, despite having many fewer companies than Cape Town, Africa’s largest ecosystem as measured by the number of companies.  In 2016, Nigeria attracted more investment than any other startup ecosystem in Africa, due in large part to the concentration of companies in rapidly growing sectors such as fintech. The size of the potential market in Nigeria is also notable for the success of companies in traditional sectors such as consumer, personal care, insurance and other financial services.

This pool of high-growth tech and non-tech companies in Lagos with potential to significantly scale internationally needs access to the sort of services Endeavor works to provide, promoting the right mix of talent, funding and networks to accelerate high-impact entrepreneurship that can transform the local economy and the wider region through large-scale job creation, investment, and innovation.

“We’re thrilled to launch Endeavor in Nigeria with strong support from Omidyar Network, continuing our expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Endeavor Co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg. “With the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Lagos growing rapidly, Endeavor Nigeria is well-positioned to make a big impact by providing vital support for the most promising entrepreneurs and emerging companies as they grow and look to scale.”

Endeavor Nigeria’s day to day operations will be led by Eloho Omame, a former investment banker and private equity investor. Before leaving to join Endeavor as pioneer Managing Director for Nigeria, she founded Amari, a proprietary firm focused on working with, and selectively investing in, early stage, innovation-driven companies in Nigeria. At Amari, she led consulting projects for public and private sector clients in the areas of corporate innovation, startup support and entrepreneurial ecosystem development, notably working with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to design, implement and launch a set of programs aimed at very early stage founders, branded ‘Lagos Innovates’.

Eloho has built a fifteen-year career so far, working with entrepreneurs, teams and companies across various sectors at different stages of development. She has worked for General Atlantic, a $20bn global growth private equity firm, where she led the firm’s efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa, First Bank of Nigeria, one of the largest commercial banks in Africa, where she led the Corporate Development team, and as a junior investment banker at Renaissance Capital, Lagos and Credit Suisse, London.

Eloho holds an MBA from London Business School and an undergraduate degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.

“Endeavor’s trademark support will be of tremendous help to Nigerian entrepreneurs at a crucial point in their journeys; when they are poised to scale their businesses,” said Omidyar Network Managing Partner Matt Bannick.  “We at Omidyar Network congratulate the Endeavor team on their continued expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa, and look forward to seeing Endeavor Nigeria’s contribution to a growing ecosystem of entrepreneurship.”

Endeavor is a 20 year-old nonprofit organization that is leading the global movement to facilitate long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, Endeavor has helped over 1,600 of these entrepreneurs build more than 1000 companies across 30 markets, which generated combined revenues of $10 billion in 2017. To date, companies led by Endeavor Entrepreneurs have created more than 700,000 jobs, and often go on to mentor and invest in the next generation of founders, or serve on the boards of Endeavor offices.

Endeavor Nigeria will focus on selecting and supporting high-impact entrepreneurs and businesses from multiple sectors that have the potential to scale significantly and reinvest back into the country by mentoring and providing financial support for successive generations of entrepreneurs.

For entrepreneurs interested in learning more about Endeavor in Nigeria, please contact Nigeria@Endeavor.org.