Monday, December 19, 2011


Inspiration has been known to show up in some of the most unexpected places and often, when least expected. This has certainly been the case with Linda Rottenberg and the creation of Endeavor.

Linda Rottenberg: For Entrepreneurs, "Crazy" Is A Compliment

After graduating from Yale, dejected and convinced of her inadequacy in the field of law, Linda Rottenberg traveled to Buenos Aires, without a plan. A few short conversations with some taxi drivers later, Rottenberg stumbled upon the first notions of an idea that would turn into one of the largest source of high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

When Linda learned that many of the taxicab drivers in Buenos Aires possessed engineering degrees, she started to pick their brains as to why they don’t set out on their own companies—use their hard earned degrees—and become entrepreneurs. The fact is that there simply was not a word for entrepreneur in Spanish (or Portuguese); the men and women of these countries have no outlet for their skills unless they wanted to work for the government. Hence, Rottenberg sought to change this.

Returning to the States, Rottenberg started putting the gears in motion towards how she could spread the concept of entrepreneurship in less developed countries.  
She prepared relevant materials to give lectures, returned to Latin America and started giving talks to students in various universities about the entrepreneurship. Until one day, a student confronted her—unsure of how Rotterberg's advice could be applicable to his life and surroundings. This brought Rottenberg back to the drawing table, where she then realized that her organization needed to created to help these incredibly talented individuals get their own start-ups going.

It was the start of the creation of Endeavor, back in 2007.  Almost 4 years later, Endeavor now operates in 12 countries, represents 580 high impact entrepreneurs in over 370 countries—having an overall revenue of about 4.5 billion dollars generated by Endeavor entrepreneurs in 2010, according to the mentorship company.  

Have a watch at her talk via 99% (featured above) about her journey to building her own company by helping others grow their own, in which Rottenberg highlights two key points for aspiring entrepreneurs: The first is, “Are you crazy?” and the second is, “Think big!”.  To learn more about Endeavor, visit

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