Gauteng Business News

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Business: High-impact SA entrepreneurs face final selection panel


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After a rigorous nomination and selection process, eight of South Africa’s top high-impact entrepreneurs will be screened by an International Selection Panel in a final review process taking place September 9th – 11th. If chosen, the entrepreneurs will become part of a select network of Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Endeavor is a non-profit organisation that identifies and supports innovative, high-growth entrepreneurs in emerging markets around the world. It assists entrepreneurs with big ideas, who are transforming their communities, their industries, and their countries.

"Endeavor's entrepreneurs are “high-impact” because they are innovative, create jobs and a long term, sustainable middle class that directly affect a country’s GDP," said Greg Durst, Managing Director of Endeavor South Africa.

Endeavor’s aim is to help create jobs, propel economies, and cultivate rising leaders and role models. As of January 2007, Endeavor Entrepreneurs throughout Latin America, South Africa, Turkey and Egypt created over 90,000 new jobs and generated over $2.47 billion in revenues. 

Endeavor’s success is due, in part, to its rigorous selection process. So far over 18,000 entrepreneurs have been screened internationally, but fewer than 400 have been chosen.

Locally, Endeavor South Africa has screened more than 600 entrepreneurs, selected 32 Endeavor Entrepreneurs in 25 companies who have created 10,900 jobs. This is especially significant in South Africa where unemployment is consistently above 30% of the economically active population.

“After being selected, Endeavor Entrepreneurs are immediately connected to peer entrepreneurs and a global network of business leaders who act as mentors and advisers,” said Durst. “In addition, they receive a world-wide seal of approval for investors.”

The international selection panel for 2008 includes leading and influential businessmen from Chile, the USA and South Africa. These panellists deliberate collectively and then vote to select those candidates who they feel meet Endeavor’s challenging criteria. Only those entrepreneurs who gain a unanimous vote from the panellists become Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery and Chairman of Endeavor said: “Getting past the panellists is quite gruelling for the entrepreneurs. Our standards are high and their business models need to be robust as we’re committed to maintaining Endeavor as the gold standard for high-impact entrepreneurship.”

While most entrepreneur candidates lead companies with at least R3 million in revenues (or capital raised), Endeavor seeks entrepreneurs at varying stages so long as they are at a “tipping point” at which Endeavor can help the entrepreneur reach new levels. Other selection criteria include entrepreneurial initiative; role model potential; development impact; business innovation; ethical fibre; and fit with Endeavor.

The last criterion dictates that candidates must be willing to listen, learn and accept support from Endeavor. They must also demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the sustainability of the local Endeavor entity through personal donations of time and, eventually, financial resources.

“We offer our Entrepreneurs access to a network of the best business minds in the world,” said Durst. “With Endeavor’s support, they are able to surpass the obstacles facing most emerging-market entrepreneurs and realise their full potential. The aim is for these entrepreneurs to eventually give back to their communities through donations of time, money and knowledge.”


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