“Ultimately, we are like a virus to create opportunities”, answered Guibert Englebienne in his conversation over a fake whisky, reflecting about high impact entrepreneurship. It was the first talk of the afternoon session in the Experiencia Endeavor 2015, which was held last June 2nd in the Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires, and the question “What makes an entrepreneur?” was again answered (or, at least, asked) by some of the speakers.
Endeavor Argentina, the organization that since 1997 seeks to support high impact entrepreneurs to develop their projects, had its day in Buenos Aires with the assistance of 2000 people between entrepreneurs, investors and other people interested in entrepreneurship. The objective? To gather the community to reflect, network and take the most out of the keynotes of the renowned entrepreneurs who came to the Usina to share the paths they had to walk to accomplish the success they have today (which, as they insisted, never is permanent).
The Entrepreneur’s Word
Marcio Kumraian, the Brazilian who created Netshoes from a garage in 2000, opened the Endeavor Talks in the morning with a review of the company growth throughout the years and telling the challenges faced to expand to Latin America. Everything without putting aside the objective of *tailoring the user experience *on their online purchase in a platform that today has 30,000 daily orders and is the main retailer from sport items. Today, Netshoes not only sales sneakers from the most well-known brands, but it also has its own line of products and is diversifying even more its marked – and everything started in a garage.
Similar was David Ruda’s story, who is one of the creators of Tarjeta Naranja, which has its origin in the sport clothes store he opened with a partner in the 70s. Its growth, he explained, is achieved by not forgetting that the “the client must always be in the center” of the company’s decisions, with a strong leadership focused on this premise.
On the other hand, it was common to hear the call to leave the comfort zone and dare to execute ideas, taking into account different key factors such as the team and the motivation. Alinged with this, both Alain Coumont, founder of Le Pain Quotidien and Sally Buberman, of Wormhole explained with their own stories the need to bet on personal projects with a supportive.
There was time for young entrepreneurs, which had in Tomás Bermúdez, creator of Cookapp, their paradigmatic example. With a talk focused on group experiences and the relevance of the contact (including a dynamic), Tomás left the audience happy while the Cookapp stands (served by chefs which are part of the network) fed the participants with more than a novel proposal. But there were also other examples, as Rusell Hall, founder of Hailo, who was a taxi driver for many years, decided along with some colleagues to attend a specific need, despite ignoring the technology. Today, Hailo is the most used app to order taxis in London and in many other cities in the world.
The Institutional Context
There was also time for debates around the obstacles entrepreneurs face, as the public policies whose design could encourage entrepreneurship. With the USA example provided by the Ambassador Noah Mamet, the Buenos Aires City example provided by Mariano Mayer and the IADB analysis of the Latin American context from Gabriel Casaburi, the panel was devoted to analyze the factors which impact the entrepreneur ecosystem of a country, and what is the role of government and other institutions to catalyze the innovation with social objectives.
In summary, they highlighted the State can innovate (and has been historically responsible for many of the most revolutionary creations, such as Internet or the GPS) and it has the key role of being able to take the risks private actor can’t even consider. On the other hand, it is necessary for public policies to favor and encourage behaviours related to change and social innovation, establishing a positive framework for the entrepreneur activity.
Currently, Endeavor is accompanying the development and growth of over 100 entrepreneurs in different consolidation stages, of very diverse businesses as Satellogic (the nanosatellite entrepreneurship of Emiliano Kargieman) and giants that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange as Globant, entrepreneurs that need to grow regionally or other aspects which are advanced for the ‘start-up stage’. They are part of the Endeavor entrepreneurs (the debate around this denomination was a great part of the afternoon) as Andy Freire, Guibert Englebienne and other high-impact initiatives.