Endeavor – Promoting Entrepreneurship in Middle-Income Nations

March 23, 2009

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A Non-Profit Profile By Humanity Campaign Writer Ebs Sutton–

Recently, a non-profit organization by the name of Endeavor was profiled in the July issue of The Economist, in an article which gave rave reviews of the group’s commitment to providing not just access to opportunity, but access to the mentoring and investment which turns opportunity into actuality.

When it comes to promoting entrepreneurialism in developing nations, Endeavor believes that a significant part of the problem is not just a lack of access to entrepreneurial possibilities, but a lack of access to the modeling and mentorship which are available in places like the United States. Endeavor seeks to address this need by using successful high-impact entrepreneurs in developing nations to select and mentor budding entrepreneurs in developing nations.

The Purpose of Endeavor

Endeavor is a non-profit organization whose vision is to change communities and countries by promoting entrepreneurship where it is needed most. Using their internal Search and Selection teams as well as panels of successful entrepreneurs from across the globe, candidates for the Endeavor program undergo a rigorous selection process which can take up to 18 months. Endeavor uses six main criteria to evaluate candidates:

  • Entrepreneurial Initiative
  • Business innovation
  • Value and Ethics
  • Role Model Potential
  • Development Impact
  • Fit with Endeavor

Additionally, through the course of this process, each entrepreneur is given valuable feedback and advice, whether or not they are selected. Once entrepreneurs are selected according to the criteria, they are set up with mentors and access to support and advice. Endeavor matches the entrepreneur with selected mentors who can help him or her with specific challenges faced. Some Endeavor Entrepreneurs can have over a dozen mentors.

Interview with Elmira Bayrasli

I had a chance to interview Elmira Bayrasli of Endeavor’s Outreach Team via email. She described the Endeavor process this way:

Generally Endeavor looks for high-impact entrepreneurs who are leading companies that are generating between 500K to 20 million in revenues; and entrepreneurs who have role model potential – who will give back to their emerging market communities and not only inspire, but lead, mentor and support aspiring entrepreneurs. Endeavor Entrepreneurs generally are those who have a business that has great high-impact potential to go to scale – to create jobs, generate revenues and investment opportunities.

The Process

Here is an image showing their selection process from their 2007 annual report:


Many selected entrepreneurs go on to become mentors themselves. Some serve as panelists or as members of local boards of directors.

Before this process even begins, Bayrasli says, Endeavor does its homework:

“Before Endeavor starts to identify and support high-impact entrepreneurs, we spend quite a bit of time building local operations. Endeavor will only launch its ‘mentor capitalist’ model for high-impact entrepreneurship in countries where there is actively backing and engagement from leading business talent and recognized leaders. These individuals form the basis for Endeavor’s local board of directors.”

Here is a graphic that shows the Endeavor “idea to impact” process:


Examples of Success

This year Wences Casares became the first Endeavor Entrepreneur to join Endeavor’s Global Board of Directors. An Argentinean entrepreneur, Casares founded Patagon, an Argentinean online brokerage; Wanako Games, a developer of video games fueled by Latin American creativity; and Lemon Bank, a Brazillian bank designed to help the poor.

Of the roughly ten Endeavor Entrepreneurs profiled on the Entrepreneur website, one in particular stood out to me. Natallie Killasy began a company called Stitch Wise which sews mine safety gear in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. After realizing how many miners were seriously and permanently injured in mining accidents, she customized sewing machines to provide work for disabled miners. The products started as protective rainwear and eventually moved into safety equipment to prevent underground collapses. According to the Endeavor website, “these products are now industry standard and are critical to the industry.”

Some Reader Criticisms

Five out of the eight responses to the article posted on The Economist expressed concern. One concern is that Endeavor is addressing the wrong issues when it comes to entrepreneurialism in developing nations. It is stated main challenges faced are not a lack of well thought out ideas or good business strategy but rather the bureaucracy, corruption, unreliable infrastructure and poor access to loans which plague most emerging economies. Another concern is the Endeavor selection process and its rigorous search for entrepreneurs already brimming with potential. The term “picking winners” appeared twice in reader feedback, seeming to imply that Endeavor has an ulterior selfish motive. If Endeavor strives to “picks winners”, one wonders, are they truly developing an entrepreneurial spirit or just helping an elite few gain their feet?

From my perspective, Endeavor appears to be effectively carrying out its mission and creating lasting positive change in developing nations. Certainly the concerns Economist readers raise regarding the “real” challenges facing entrepreneurs in developing nations are undeniable. I spent 13 years in one of the poorest, most corrupt countries in the world and witnessed the bureaucracy, unreliable infrastructure, and corruption firsthand. However, it takes one look at the Endeavor site to see the statistics supporting their success in countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico. Endeavor currently works in 11 countries and hopes to expand its reach to include even more.

Picking Winners

Although it may seem that Endeavor only helps an elite few, “picking winners” could be a necessary part of smart strategy. With all the possible Endeavor Entrepreneurs and limited Endeavor resources, Endeavor has to pick entrepreneurs showing the most likelihood of success. It’s about investing precious time and resources wisely it seems.

At a relatively young 11 years old, Endeavor is a welcome addition to the scene of international sustainable development.This noted, it has so far focused its work in middle-income countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Turkey and not in the most impoverished “developing countries” where arguably they could create more social value. Though certainly not the only organization addressing entrepreneurial needs in developing countries (Technoserve, for example, has a very similar purpose) Endeavor is energetic and effective in fulfilling its purpose.

StartingBloc Presentation: A Vision for the World in 50 Years

March 23, 2009

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The last two Saturday mornings of my life have been spent on Powerpoint. But it was worth it.

So I’m standing in front of 150 social entrepreneurial peers at Yale on Saturday, attempting to set the scene for why I think we can actually end poverty, hunger, genocide, warfare, and preventable disease in our lifetimes.

First, I start with the challenges.

This is a continuation of the last post “The Great Challenge of our Generation.” The material comes from my StartingBloc presentation on Saturday, “The Immense Opportunity our Generation Has.”

First, let me take a step back and take a shot at some of the major the causes of this economic decline. Some of these causes may be controversial or debatable, but it’s a stab.

The Major Causes of the Economic Decline

  1. De-regulation of financial industry in 1999 (Glass-Steagall)
  2. Low interest rates to stem 2001-2002 recession
  3. Easy credit to unqualified home buyers from 2002-2007
  4. Lack of consumer savings in the U.S.
  5. Over-leveraging of trading accounts
  6. Over-derivitization of securities, de-linked from their underlying assets (CDOs, credit swaps, MBSs)
  7. The collapse of key counterparties to risk

And the resulting effects of the declines…

The Effects of the Economic Decline

Mar 2008 – Forced Sale of Bear Sterns to JP Morgan
Jul 2008 – IndyMac Bank collapses
Sep 2008 – Bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, Forced Sale of Merrill Lynch and Wachovia, Collapse of Lehman Brothers
Oct 2008 – $700 billion U.S. government TARP
Feb 2009 – Unemployment rises to 7.6%, over 3.6 million jobs lost, DJIA down 50% from Oct 2007 peak, $787 billion U.S. government stimulus package

Finally, I listed the key global challenges we currently have:

Key Global Challenges

  1. Extreme hunger and food distribution
  2. Water sanitation and distribution
  3. An $11 trillion U.S. government debt and unfunded liabilities in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
  4. Lack of access to childhood education
  5. Infant mortality, Malaria, measles, TB, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS
  6. Human rights violations and sex trafficking
  7. Climate change causing increasing temperatures
  8. Nuclear proliferation
  9. Major conflicts in Congo, Palestine, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq
  10. Lack of transparent leadership in Zimbabwe, N. Korea, Somalia

And finally listed all the great entrepreneurial opportunities there are in the world that entrepreneurs can work to solve–all of which could generate a billion dollar business…

Key Global Entrepreneurial Opportunities

  1. Agricultural production yields
  2. Food distribution and logistics
  3. Water collection, sanitation and distribution
  4. Wireless electricity distribution
  5. Wireless mesh broadband networks
  6. Ending conflict through trust and communication
  7. Leadership transparency consulting
  8. Improved education and reform
  9. Improved preventative health care and reform
  10. Clean tech/alternative fuel (the coming Green Revolution)

A Vision for the World

So, with these great challenges and opportunities in mind, I’d like to work with each and every one of you over the next fifty years to shape a world that addresses the great inequities of opportunity in the world all based on the principle that all human lives have equal value. A world in which…

  1. There is no killing of humans on a mass scale (genocide or warfare)
  2. All humans have access to the basic human needs of clean water, nutritious food, shelter, and primary education
  3. We end preventable diseases like malaria, TB, and measles
  4. We are environmentally sustainable

Is this possible?

Some may laugh.

But there’s no legitimate reason why humans have to kill thousands, tens of thousands of humans on a mass scale. Especially not in an age of increased communication and hopefully increased trust. Is there?

There’s no legitimate reason why if we have the logistical ability to get a package to Shanghai by the morning that we can’t create a system that enables basic, inexpensive food to be produced and distributed to starving children in the developing world, especially not in an age of increased grain yields. Is there?

There is no legitimate reason why preventable diseases can’t be prevented in the next 50 years. By definition. Is there?

And there is no legitimate reason why we cannot find alternative energies to fossil fuels that don’t destroy the world. Is there? We already have them. They’re just a bit more expensive per KWh than fossil fuels. This price doesn’t include the true cost of the externalities caused by the fossil fuels currently being paid by society. As Tom Friedman talks about in Hot, Flat, and Crowded, once we scale the usage of alternative energies, their price per KWh will quickly come down to be sustainable from an economic and environmental standpoint.

We’ve had bigger challenges before. In 1962 in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis. In 1943 in the midst of World War II. In 1930 in the middle of the Great Depression when unemployment was at 25%. These are challenges our generation can overcome if we make the right sacrifices and investments in education, infrastructure, leadership, and sustainability.

People laughed at Edison when he said he had a device that recorded sound.

People laughed at Marconi when he claimed had a device that wirelessly transmitted sound.

People laughed at Yunus when he said he could lend to poor women with no assets.

Your thoughts? Is this world possible?

The Great Challenge of Our Generation

February 1, 2009

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I write as my roommates watch the sci-fi movie Anti-Body through the amazing new Xbox/Netflix partnership in a cold and icy Chapel Hill…

This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at StartingBloc’s Greater New York Institute for Social Innovation at Yale University in New Haven. I had the chance to speak after Tom Szaky, the 27 year old CEO of TerraCycle, who is good work on upcycling waste into usable products.

In attendance were 150 of the smartest, most ambitious, and most caring individuals I’ve met, all from age 19 to 30. 25% were undergrads, 25% were grad students, and 50% were young professionals from firms like Goldman, JP Morgan, Acumen, Ashoka, McKinsey. They were all social entrepreneurs or future social entrepreneurs. If you’re under 30 and interested in social responsibility you should apply for their future Institutes in New York, Boston, or London.

StartingBloc has now reached 1000 fellows who have gone through their program. I first met their founder, the 27 year-old ebullient Kenyan Jo Opot last May in New York. She and their Director of Programs Taryn Miller-Stevens are examples of committed, driven, caring world changers.

I challenged the group to over the next 50 years, work together to create a world in which…

  1. There is no killing of humans on a mass scale (genocide or warfare);
  2. All humans have access to the basic human needs of clean water, nutritious food, shelter, and primary education;
  3. We end preventable diseases like malaria, TB, and measles; and
  4. We are environmentally sustainable

This challenge was based on the key simple principle from the Gates Foundation that all lives have equal value. I first shared the great challenges we face in the world including the most difficult economic news we’ve seen in our lifetimes, then the great opportunities (subsequent post on these coming soon) to frame the debate.

So, can we actually end genocide, warfare, starvation, and preventable disease in our lifetimes?

And can we actually provide accessible clean water, food, shelter, and primary education to every human in our lifetimes?

Your thoughts?

LocalTechWire Article on Nourish International Wine Tasting

January 23, 2009

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WRAL’s LocalTechWire ran a nice article today promoting the Nourish International “World Wines & Global Poverty” fundraiser. The Nourish International Event is Friday night (tonight) at 8pm with speaker Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational.

If you’re in the Triangle, you should come!

Here’s an excerpt from the LTW article

Nourishing Socially Responsible Entrepreneurship is Appetizing Goal for iContact CEOby Rick Smith

Nourish International, a growing network of college students and entrepreneurs devoted to what they call “sustainable development,” has become a passion for Ryan Allis, chief executive officer of fast-growing e-mail marketing firm iContact.

Allis is one of many young tech executives who have embraced the concept of ‘giving back” to the world in which they live rather than take for personal gain. And Friday night at UNC-Chapel Hill, Allis will be among the hosts for a “World Wines and Global Poverty” fund-raiser.

To give back has been a calling for Allis, co-founder of Durham-based iContact, since his days as a youth. He and Aaron Houghton, iContact’s co-founder and chairman, launched the company as friends and students at UNC-CH. They recently were honored as entrepreneurs of the year by Ernst & Young, and their firm has won numerous awards while establishing an international customer base.

Allis and Houghton share a commitment to philanthropic efforts as well. And Allis told Local Tech Wire in an interview that Nourish strikes him as an especially appealing cause.

“Nourish International teaches entrepreneurship to college students who raise money through ventures to contribute and then visit social entrepreneurial projects that work to reduce hunger and poverty in the developing world,” he said “It’s a unique and effective model that Nourish is perfecting and then scaling to have a global impact. They need a bit of initial support in order to ’start-up’ so many chapters at once until the point where the chapters are profitable. They have chapters at 23 college campuses now–and it all started right here in Chapel Hill!”

Duke professor Dan Ariely, who wrote the New York Times best-seller “Predictably Irrational,” is the guest speaker at Friday’s event, which starts at 8 p.m. in the FedEx Global Center.

LTW asked Allis why he chose to be socially active as an entrepreneur.

“I grew up the son of two social entrepreneurs–an Episcopalian priest and a social worker,” he explained. “I was taught from a young age to care about helping others.

“When I was 17, I took a high school economics class from a teacher by the name of Robert Fletcher. Mr. Fletcher taught from a human and sociological perspective. Instead of focusing on teaching curves and math he often taught economics using stories. I learned from him that year that there were 2.7 billion human beings living on under $2 per day and that 49,000 people died needlessly each and every day from preventable diseases and starvation. Learning these facts got me on the path toward wanting to focus my life on addressing these issues.

“Over the past six years reading books like “The End of Poverty,” “The White Man’s Burden,” “Commonwealth,” “Confessions of An Economic Hitman,” “The Bottom Billion,” “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” and “Banker to The Poor” helped me learn more.

“The passing of Eve Carson in March, who was Co-Chair of Nourish International and such an amazing social entrepreneur to-be, caused me to further examine what I wanted to accomplish during my time here.

“Traveling to Uganda and Ethiopia in July cemented this lifelong focus on social entrepreneurship and making a positive impact in the area of education, healthcare, nutrition, clean water, human rights, and the environment. I am a firm believer that all companies must be socially responsible if we are going to create a sustainable world in which we can all prosper.

“With 3,000 children dying each day from a disease as preventable as malaria it’s hard not to wake up and realize we must work together as one. There is plenty of food in the world to feed everyone, yet more than 800 million people are chronically hungry due to lack of availability of food with adequate nutritious content. It just doesn’t make sense for such a problem (entrepreneurs see problems as opportunities) to exist in world of extravagance, waste, and overconsumption we live in.”

Allis’ service to Nourish International includes acting as its board chairman. He also sits on the board of Leadership Triangle, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

Read the full article and Q&A at Local Tech Wire

View the Nourish Documentary Video

Project Polaroid: Giving A Child Their First Picture | Dare Mighty Things

May 23, 2008

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How do you get the attention of a large global company (Polaroid) and convince them to reverse a key strategic decision? Hopefully, like this…

The Birth of Project Polaroid

Nine months ago, in early January, I was hanging out in Charlotte with a friend of mine named Carly. Carly is just 20 and a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur who runs a photography business, Carly Brantmeyer Photography. We were brainstorming. She wanted to do more than be a student and photographer. She wanted to use her talents and abilities to give back.

Carly had just returned from a Christmas family trip to Costa Rica. There, she took lots of beautiful digital photos. The children were eager to see the picture she just took of them on the back LCD display. She wanted to be able to give the children a copy of their photo, but couldn’t. There was no easy way.

She thought, “If I had a Polaroid camera with me I could give them a copy of the picture right now.”

She returned and while brainstorming at her house in January she came up with Project Polaroid. She would bring hundreds of Polaroid instant film with her to developing countries and give children a picture of themselves–something most of them would never seen before, yet alone owned.

Project Polaroid in Colombia

Carly had the opportunity to visit Colombia over the summer to try out Project Polaroid for the first time. She borrowed my Polaroid camera that was given to me as a gift in 2007 and bought some film. Here are some of the inspiring pictures she took. Take a look especially of the one of the mother, holding a picture of her beautiful young daughter for likely the first time:







Project Polaroid in Uganda

In July, I went to Uganda for a week. Carly had returned from Colombia so I got my camera back the night before. Here are some of the pictures I took.





I was able to take about 60 pictures there while in Uganda while in 4 different locations. Each time I noticed an interesting phenomenon. In one of the locations, I found myself in a small village near the Mirembe Kawomera Peace Coffee Cooperative. This place was about 30 minutes down a dirt road from Mbale, Uganda. I took my first photo of a child and gave it to her. She was very confused as to what it was. I told her to shake the picture. She then ran away, nervous it seemed.

Exactly, on the dot, 3 minutes later, a group of at least eight kids came running around the corner jumping up and down with excitement. The picture had developed! Each time I began taking photos with just one or two children. They would go away, wondering what I had gave them (most Ugandan children in villages speak little English), then come back with their whole crew just 2-3 minutes later when they realized what had been given to them. This run away, see the photo develop, and bring back more children would happen every time. Sometimes, as Carly has experienced, you get surrounded by as many as 40 or 50 children within minutes.

In the village outside of Mbale I also gave away some of the soccer jerseys and shorts that had been donated by Sports Endeavors of Hillsborough, NC, the owners of Soccer.com and Eurosport, through the U.S. Soccer Foundation Passback Program. The children created such a commotion that the villages lone police office came over hurriedly, thinking the children were stealing from the van.

Project Polaroid in Ghana

This fall semester, Carly is living and studying in Legon, Ghana at the University of Ghana, with a study abroad program from UNC. She has received a number of donations to help expand the program and has brought dozens of packs of film. Here are some of the photos she’s taken so far in Ghana:




Polaroid Will Stop Selling Polaroids in Early 2009

For background information, back in 2001, Polaroid Corporation, the makers of the famous Polaroid Cameras and instant film filed for bankruptcy. It’s assets ended up being purchased by a private investment firm, Petters Group Worldwide, in 2005.

Very unfortunately for Project Polaroid, Polaroid announced back on February 8 that it will be phasing out production of its instant film and that it will be completely off the shelves by early 2009. We were of course a bit saddened by this announcement. Polaroid will no longer sell Polaroids. It’s a travesty of sorts and will certainly make the project difficult to scale. Polaroid has said that it will be willing to license its instant film technology to another firm should another firm be interested. Here’s hoping Polaroid somehow comes across this story and they realize the immense value that Polaroid film has to their brand.

Carly writes on her detailed travel blog.

“The idea is simple. $1=1 Polaroid photo, for 1 kid, that will last a lifetime. So many children around the world have never even owned a single photo of themselves. What could be more precious of a memory than a photo of you/your family?”

How You Can Help

When she left, Carly raised money from her family and community. She was able to take a few dozen packs of film with her. A month into the trip, Carly is now running out of film. If you would like to contribute, the best way would be to mail her a pack of two of Polaroid 600 film. She would very much appreciate any help. She will be at the following address until December:

Carly Brantmeyer
University of Ghana
c/o International Programs Office
International Student Housing II
Room #127
Legon, Accra, Ghana

Update: If you’d prefer you can send them to Charlotte where Carly’s mom Lisa has offered to collect them and mail them in one package to Ghana. The address is: 14803 Davis Trace Drive, Charlotte, NC, 28227.

Overall, I am excited to see Project Polaroid in Ghana and look forward to her getting back in January and brainstorming how to scale the project to many more developing countries. Being in Uganda myself in July and seeing the impact owning a simple picture can have in the life of a child and the parents of that child has made a lasting impact on me. One of the children was 3 and didn’t have pants–just a long shirt. He lived in a thatch hut near a school Roey and I were speaking at with his brother, sister, and mother. He didn’t have pants but he was overjoyed with happiness to have the picture. Hopefully we can convince Polaroid to sponsor the project in the future and keep producing instant film.

$1M Prize for Best Developing Country Technology Innovation

March 23, 2008

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width=125Legatum Group, founded by Chris Chandler and based in Dubai, has announced today at Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Half Moon Bay, California a $1 million prize for the best technology innovation from a for-profit company in the developing world. I will update this blog when they post details on how to enter.

I wanted to write this post as from all appearances, Legatum seems to be making a concerted effort to invest in long-term sustainable development in developing countries and putting their money where their mouth is. They are a sponsor to the Fortune conference here, and are mostly unheard of. Even their original company Sovereign Global, is nearly unheard of. Yet they manage over $4B in capital invested in India alone.

Legatum is the donor to the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT. They invested $50M in the Center to obtain naming rights. Here is a short video I took this afternoon of Iqbal Quadir who is the founder and Director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT.

Although Dubai-based, the group is made up strictly of Westerners, mainy of whom previously worked at Chris Chandler’s Sovereign Global. They claim a 40% CAGR over the lifetime of thier original fund started in 1986. The President of Legatum, Mark Stoleson, attended Occidental College and Duke. The other chief team members attended Wharton, London Business School, Babdon, Oxford, and University of Brisbane and has worked at law firms, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and PWC.

I do wonder if most of these individuals are based at the head office in Dubai, which is slowly on its way toward challenging London and New York for the global capital headquarters. If you can find any statistics on capital under management for equity investment firms based in New York, London, Hong Kong, and Dubai please let me know.

Legatum Group is also the creators of the Africa Prize, which gave away $450,000 in 2007 to the most innovative businesses in Africa. Their philosophy is simply that for-profit businesses are more efficient at creating positive social improvement than bi-lateral foreign aid which in their Easterlyan-like view too often has created dependency.

Giving Back As an Enlightened Entrepreneur

February 23, 2008

Giving Back As an Enlightened Entrepreneur – Book Excerpt

October 14, 2007 · Print This Article

Below is an excerpt on Giving Back from the updated version of Zero to One Million, coming out in February through McGraw Hill…

Giving Back

I did an exercise when I was 20 years old that changed my life forever. I wrote down how I wanted to use my life to make a difference in the world—to help build stronger communities and societies here at home, and also work to end poverty and hunger globally. When I learned from reading an annual world health report from the World Health Organization that over 18,000,000 people die every year (49,365 per day) from preventable diseases and starvation the gravity of some of the most important issues of our day hit me.

When I learned from a World Bank report that as of 2001, 2.7 billion people lived on under $2 per day (42% of the humans in the world), the realization made me want to spend my life working entrepreneurially to address these issues. When I read The End of Poverty, by Columbia Economist Jeffrey Sachs in 2006, I further committed to being a leader of my generation to address the problems and ensuring that by the end of my life at least 95% of the wealth I create goes back to creating societies with greater access to opportunity and sustainably assisting people who have not had the opportunity I have been so fortunate to have.

As I added to my knowledge through travel, reading, and speaking with people who live in developing nations, I updated my mission statement and began to write what I call a Purpose Statement. Along the way, the added depth of purpose has given what I strive to do every day deep personal meaning. For me, entrepreneurship is not about making lots of money and living an extravagant life, it’s about being able to make a positive impact in the lives of thousands, and hopefully someday, billions. If you can find how starting and building a successful business can help you have a larger meaning in your life and allow you to give back to your community, you will be able to more easily find your core motivation and align what you do, with what you love.

Finding a deeper meaning and core motivation for doing what you do is a critically important part of getting through the difficult times along the way to becoming a successful businessperson. I have found this meaning for myself. As I wrote in the introduction to this book my Purpose Statement is:

I wish to spend my life working through entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, investing, philanthropy, public policy, and politics to end poverty in developing nations and at home, ensure environmental sustainability, help people understand that we are one humanity and that our commonalities are much greater than our differences, and help expand access to opportunity, healthcare, and education across the world for every human of every nation.

Right now, please take a moment to write down how you hope to use your talents, resources, and time on this planet to make a positive difference in the world. This can be a powerful exercise, so please take a couple minutes to complete it.

Action Item 11 – Finding Deeper Purpose in Your Life

Take a moment and write how you hope to use your business, time, energy, and resources to make a positive difference in the world.

I wish to spend my life…












Many extremely successful industrialists and entrepreneurs over the past 150 years have chosen to give back. Andrew Carnegie funded libraries all over the United States and created his foundation to ‘promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.’ Rockefeller created the Rockefeller foundation to ‘promote the well-being of mankind throughout the world.’ Ford created the Ford Foundation to ‘promote democracy, reduce poverty, promote international understanding, and advance human achievement.’ Bill Gates has created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ‘enhance global healthcare and reduce global poverty and expand access to educational opportunity and technology.’ Gates has said many times that he will give 95% of his wealth back to society before he dies. He considers himself a steward of wealth, as should any successful entrepreneur.

As an entrepreneur, score is kept by who can create the most value. Money comes to you directly in proportion to how much value you create by rearranging the resources of land, labor, capital, and entrepreneurial ability into the outputs that society desires. If we are successful, we can create millions, perhaps billions of dollars of value to society and in turn become wealth through stock appreciation, going public, or selling the company.

I hope you will give back as well what you can, along the way as you build your company—and especially after you have become wealthy. It is our job as enlightened entrepreneurs to give back to the society and world that has enabled us to succeed, to work to create fuller access to opportunity. Giving back can make our lives full of meaning and purpose, and make us more driven entrepreneurs at the same time.

I know if you set your mind to it you will become an extremely wealthy individual and make millions of dollars in your life. You may not see the way now, but if you commit to the goal and believe it, you will achieve it in time. It may take ten or twenty years, but if you choose to be, you will become a multi-millionaire. Knowing that you will become a multi-millionaire someday if you make the choice to be, I ask right now that you commit to contributing at least 90% of any wealth you make by the end of your life into a foundation or endowment of a charitable organization that can work to make our world a better place.

Action Item 12 – The Enlightened Entrepreneur’s Commitment

I, _______________ _________________ commit to contributing at least ninety percent of any wealth I earn during my lifetime into a personal foundation or endowments of charitable organizations that will work to address the major issues of our world such as poverty, hunger, education, healthcare, environmental sustainability and any other area that I believe will make the world, my nation, my state, and my community a better place.

X __________________________________ Date: ____________

Gates vs. Easterly on Aid

October 23, 2007

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Jeff Jarvis’ BuzzMachine provides a good insight into and video live from Davos.

The video with Arianna Huffington on new media and old media and politics is especially interesting.

And this post describing an exchange between Bill Gates and William Easterly on aid is brilliant.

“Easterly says that when VC companies screw up, they die. Aid agencies don

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