By Laura I. Maydón
September has always been a special month for me. I have many reasons to celebrate: my two brothers’ birthdays, Mexico’s national festivities and my own birthday. This year, September becomes even more relevant to me as I reflect and commemorate Endeavor Miami’s first birthday.
Endeavor Miami’s mission to select, mentor and accelerate high-impact entrepreneurs represents such an essential component to our city. Leading Endeavor Miami gives me a strong sense of purpose. Endeavor’s track record around the world is a testament to the fact that high-impact entrepreneurs create a multiplier effect by inspiring, mentoring and investing in other entrepreneurs. And this is how cities develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Collectively, Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world generated approximately $6.5 billion in revenue and 400,000 jobs in 2013.
How did Endeavor make it to Miami? The idea was spearheaded by Endeavor co-founder Peter Kellner and Matt Haggman, Knight’s Miami program director. In September 2013, Endeavor Miami debuted thanks to the support of Knight Foundation and the leadership of our board of directors, an amazing group of business leaders co-chaired by Adriana Cisneros and Danny Echavarria. Each of of them is committed to improving the economic sustainability of our city, by helping entrepreneurs scale. I could not be more grateful for their support.
We search and select high-impact entrepreneurs because they are an essential path to economic development and job creation. (If you’re curious to learn how these entrepreneurs are transforming the world, read “The Bold Ones: High-impact Entrepreneurs Who Transform,”,published by the World Economic Forum). At Endeavor we help entrepreneurs think bigger, make better decisions and multiply their influence.
It’s amazing to sit and think how a year ago, this big wind of change positively affected my life. I showed up at the Open English headquarters—Andres Moreno kindly let me borrow a space—and I started to learn and absorb as much as I could of Endeavor best practices from now 20 countries around the world. Fortunately, I had an amazing team from Endeavor Global supporting my efforts all the way. At the same time, I was looking to build a pipeline and to fast-track our first entrepreneurs, plus setting up the operation. I had my own startup in many ways; I had to hire a team, look for an office and set the strategic direction for this impact organization.
A year after the launch, I can happily report that we have seven high-impact entrepreneurs and four very diverse companies: My Ceviche, Kidozen, Leapfactor and LearnerNation. And we are supporting them with our great network of mentors and other services, such as access to capital, access to markets and talent. Our target is to prepare at least four more companies in the next few months for selection by year’s end. A big shout-out to my wonderful team, which is taking the ride with me and helps make all of this happen.
A lot of hard work and collaboration remains to be done. We need to continue building brand awareness. The search, selection and servicing of high-impact entrepreneurs are ongoing – which means that I need to continue engaging a committed network of world-class mentors who support this ecosystem. It’s no secret that there’s still a lot of development to do to attract smart capital so that entrepreneurs can grow.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in this journey. I’ve lived in Miami for 12 years and I’ve never felt so much energy and the willingness of so many brilliant and hardworking people who are all collaborating to increase the impact of entrepreneurship in Miami and to grow this ecosystem.
Happy birthday, Endeavor Miami … to many more Septembers ahead.
Entrepreneurs may apply to become an Endeavor Miami Entrepreneur at endeavormiami.org.
Laura I. Maydón is managing director of Endeavor Miami, the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor, a global nonprofit that promotes high-impact entrepreneurship. Knight Foundation invested $2 million to launch Endeavor Miami.