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Endeavor Miami announces board, managing director

By Nancy Dahlberg, ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Endeavor Global, a nonprofit that supports high-impact entrepreneurship, announced on Wednesday the team that will lead Endeavor Miami, its first U.S. operation.

Founded in 1997, Endeavor is now in 16 countries around the world, from Brazil and Mexico to Greece and Saudi Arabia. Focused on economic development, Endeavor’s mission is to help selected entrepreneurs grow companies that create hundreds or thousands of jobs.

Endeavor’s Miami office is supported by a $2 million grant from the Miami-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Endeavor Miami’s founding advisory board will be co-chaired by Adriana Cisneros, vice chairman of the board and recently appointed CEO of the Cisneros Group of Companies, and Daniel Echavarria, director of Organizacion Corona. Also serving on the board is Peter Kellner, who co-founded Endeavor Global and is now managing partner at Richmond Global.

The six other board members are serial investor and entrepreneur Alberto Beeck; Alberto Chang Rajii, president of Grupo Arcano; Matt Haggman, Miami program director of the Knight Foundation; Manny Medina, managing partner of Medina Capital Partners; Andres Moreno, founder and CEO of Open English; and Sean Wolfington, co-founder of the Wolfington Companies.

MaydonThe new managing director will be Laura Maydón. Maydón has most recently spent a decade at Visa in Miami, holding both business development and product development management roles. Before that, she worked in investment banking and at a private equity firm evaluating investment opportunities in Latin America. She received her MBA from Harvard Business School.

“Endeavor has a very good story of success. … and I think this is perfect time for Endeavor to come to Miami,” Maydón said. While South Florida now has strong resources for start-ups, Endeavor focuses on the critical scale-up stage for entrepreneurs. “This is the most exciting job I can imagine — looking at different businesses and helping entrepreneurs grow.”

Maydón is now hiring her staff — the first two positions have been posted — and then her team will begin scoping Endeavor entrepreneur candidates who will be vetted by the local board and ultimately present at one of Endeavor’s upcoming International Selection Panels. Those chosen to be Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive access to local mentors and the board as well as international networks that include entrepreneurs like Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn; Diego Piacentini, who heads Amazon international; and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, co-founder of Gilt Group. There are also programs that provide interns from top business schools and professionals from Ernst & Young to work with Endeavor companies and an Endeavor Investor Network that includes top venture capital firms.

In the next few weeks, Endeavor Miami plans to announce how entrepreneurs can apply.

“We’re looking for all entrepreneurs, we’re not just technology focused. We want to create a fully diversified ecosystem of entrepreneurs,” Kellner said.

Endeavor Miami hopes to assemble a cohort of South Florida’s highest-quality entrepreneurs to present at the Endeavor selection panel in Dubai in December, Kellner said.

In the past 15 years, Endeavor has selected more than 800 high-impact entrepreneurs. In 2012, these entrepreneurs generated $6 billion in revenue and had created 225,000 jobs, according to Endeavor. 

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

Here's a video by the Knight Foundation on why Endeavor chose Miami.

Posted Sept. 4, 2013