Endeavor’s Saudi Arabian chapter based in Riyadh is bringing the values of Endeavor in KSA.
Can you tell us about the story of Endeavor?
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. Kellner 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 Rottenberg, 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.
Endeavor supports high-impact entrepreneurs so that they can build thriving companies that employ thousands of people, generate billions in wages, and inspire countless others as role models. Together, these entrepreneurs hold the key to sustained economic growth in every part of the world.
What’s the rationale behind bringing Endeavor to Saudi Arabia?
Endeavor’s Model can help solving the main obstacles many entrepreneurs face throughout their journey of establishing new businesses. We aim to scale-up their business and provide them with services to help them make better decisions. Our main goal at Endeavor Saudi Arabia is to create more jobs and inspire a future of high-impact entrepreneurs.
How does Endeavor view the entrepreneurial climate in the Kingdom? And what can your team do to make a difference?
Entrepreneurship and innovation are becoming the new main economic growth engine as the Kingdom is moving from its oil-based economy into a knowledge-based economy. We believe that:
- High-impact entrepreneurs grow fast and big; and once successful become investors in other ventures.
- Public policy can’t just buy more of these entrepreneurs, but it can create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship.
- Best policy is to support high-impact entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses- and that’s where Endeavor comes!
How do you select candidates for the Endeavor Entrepreneur program?
“That underlying entrepreneurial dynamics which was manifested through all Endeavor activities is all about leading by example. Among the network, many entrepreneurs who has been excelling in turning their small companies to enterprises have and will influence others to do the same, and this is what we have observed through the multiplier effect. Endeavor Saudi Arabia will help facilitating the selection and growth of these companies through catering the right service at the right time. We are aiming here to create the proper community that will unveil many with high potential capabilities and give them the chance to be part of the economic and social development through diversification and job creation, respectively.” – Alzahrani
Endeavor screens thousands of entrepreneurs each year and selects those with exceptional, high-impact potential. Through a rigorous, multi-step selection process, candidates pass a series of local and regional interviews before presenting to panelists from our global business network at the International Selection Panels held six times each year.
We select individuals of all ages, ethnicities and educational backgrounds, delivering a meritocratic message to the world: through hard work, creativity and values-driven leadership, individuals living anywhere, from any background, can turn an entrepreneurial idea into a world-class venture.
Why should entrepreneurs seek to be part of Endeavor?
“Millennial entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s leaders and they are empowered to shape the future. We in Endeavor believe in their impact if equipped with the right resources. Our job is to create a network able to serve our future leaders.” – AlAjmi
Endeavor mainly helps entrepreneurs unleash their potential by connecting them to the best business leaders locally, regionally and globally to help them make better decisions to accelerate their businesses. Endeavor entrepreneurs are also engaged in many events and meetings, which have been designed exclusively for our network from leading universities and service providers worldwide.
Can you name some of the entrepreneurs that Endeavor has taken under its wing?
Our local office in Saudi Arabia has selected 12 high impact entrepreneurs leading nine companies since 2012.
Loai Naseem (Lomar)
Naif Alqahtani (Logistics Solutions Services)
Abdulmohsin Alrabiah (Shawarmer)
Amr Almadani and Saeed Saeed (National TalentS Co.)
Ahmed and Hassan Hamdan (Unifonic)
Ebrahim Aljassim (HungerStation)
Lateefa Alwalaan (Yatooq)
Kaswara and Soraqa Alkhatib (UTURN)
Khalid Alkhudair (Glowork)
At the core of Endeavor’s model is the understanding that scale-ups, not start-ups, hold the key to sustained job growth and economic progress. Over the past two decades, Endeavor has shown that companies with significant revenue streams and proven business models are the ones with the most potential to transform entire ecosystems. In turn, these entrepreneurs become role models for new generations of founders, creating a “multiplier effect” of inspiration, mentorship and investment.
The ultimate goal for Endeavor Saudi Arabia is to prosper the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support high-impact entrepreneurs so that they can build successful companies that create thousands of jobs, generate billions, and inspire numerous others to become role models.