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Interviewing Endeavor: 96% Success, 90,000 Jobs, and $3 Billion in Revenue

Daniel Epstein January 7, 2010

They’ve weeded through over 20,000 entrepreneurial candidates in 11 countries. They’ve got a 96% success rate with the 489 entrepreneurs they’ve selected for support. Their entrepreneurs have generated over $3 billion in revenue and have created more than 90,000 jobs in emerging markets, all paying, on average, ten times the minimum wage. And they did it all in 12 years.
Not too shabby, Endeavor.
If you are as blown away as I am, then you’ll understand why I bombarded Elmira Bayrasli, Endeavor’s head of Policy and Outreach and now my new best friend, with requests to connect. After coincidentally bumping into one another at The Feast in New York, we followed up over Skype so I could unearth how Endeavor has made it all happen. Check out our conversation below!

Video Interview Table of Contents:

  1. What does Endeavor do? (0:01-0:32)
  2. How does Endeavor identify entrepreneurial talent? (0:33-2:58)
  3. Can you tell us the story of an Endeavor entrepreneur? (2:59-5:41)?
  4. How does Endeavor measure its impact? (5:42-6:53)
  5. What challenges does Endeavor face? (6:54-8:50)
  6. What advice do you have for aspiring social entrepreneurs? (8:51-10:22)

The Quick Dirt on Endeavor. Endeavor supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets who create jobs & bring in revenue for local economies and who can serve as role-models for other aspiring entrepreneurs in their communities. These high-impact entrepreneurs undergo a 12-18 month vetting process, involving grueling panel interviews from world-renowned business leaders who evaluate their business plans and their role-model potential. Endeavor then supports selected entrepreneurs with intensive mentorship, funding and connections to outside investment, management workshops and strategy consulting, media exposure, and access to a carefully-vetted global network of peers, mentors, and investors.

A little bit about Elmira Bayrasli. Raised by Turkish immigrants, Elmira has always had a passion for other cultures. She began her career working for the U.S. Department of State, which eventually situated her in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2002. While promoting human rights and assisting in the rebuilding of the post-conflict Sarajevo, she learned from locals that the most important thing the international community could help them with was the creation of jobs. After four years in Sarajevo, she quit her job with the State Department and went to New York without much of a plan. Having been an avid reader all her life, she signed up for a literature class. One day, the class got into a discussion about global development and Elmira raised some of the points she’d learned in Bosnia, criticizing traditional approaches to development. One of the women in the class worked at Endeavor and told Elmira she should really consider working there as well. The rest, as they say, is history.

We are so grateful to Elmira Bayrasli for taking the time to share the inspirational work that Endeavor is doing with us! To learn more about the organization, check out their website at www.endeavor.org.

written by: Teju Ravilochan (Unreasonable Institute)

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