Endeavour South Africa - supporting crazy dreamers

Catherine Townshend, managing director of Endeavour South Africa

Catherine Townshend, managing director of Endeavour South Africa

It’s a familiar expression that entrepreneurs are a bit crazy. Many use the phrase affectionately, while implying that prototypical entrepreneurs give themselves permission to dream, and they are willing to work hard to make that dream happen. 

Endeavor entrepreneurs are innovative business leaders who have crazy dreams about disrupting the industries and markets they operate in, both locally and globally. They are selected into Endeavor because the organisation provides them access to a community of like-minded, high-growth founders and world-class services and programmes, including introductions to best in-class local and international mentors and volunteers who will assist them to move the needle. 

Endeavor is leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement around the world. By high-impact entrepreneurs, we mean individuals with the biggest dreams, the greatest potential to create innovative companies that matter and grow, and the highest likelihood to inspire others. We focus on the scale-up, not the start-up, because that is where we know the greatest job and wealth creation happens. 

Working with FNB to select the winner of the FNB Business Innovation Awards 2016 has provided Endeavor with the perfect opportunity to further identify and celebrate a new generation of inventive South African entrepreneurs. As the most innovative bank in the world, FNB is fostering the growth and development of this new generation of innovative entrepreneurs, and it is ensuring that they will continue to transform the economy and create high-value jobs. 

These are the entrepreneurs who will emulate the business founders who have already built extraordinarily creative, high-growth entities operating in the South African and global markets. 

Applications for this year’s awards were nearly double those of 2015, with the number of finalists also increasing. The impact of this year’s 11 finalists as a group on job creation is felt through their generation of 337 jobs. These finalists represent the technology, education, consumer goods, construction, food & beverage, marketing & advertising, and media & entertainment sectors. The collective revenue value of the finalists is a massive R300-million per annum. 

“Our motivator is to ensure that our entrepreneurs’ crazy dreams result in tremendous success, both for them and for their communities,” says Catherine Townshend, managing director of Endeavor South Africa. 

“We listen to their dreams and push them to think bigger, and we work with these founders to develop the roadmaps that will allow them to accelerate their success. We back this up by leveraging a global network of the best mentors; growth programmes by Harvard and Stanford; and private global networking events where they meet some of the most exciting entrepreneurs from around the world.” 

Endeavor South Africa’s 2015 impact can be seen at a glance: • More than 4 482 jobs were created by 24 companies run by Endeavor Entrepreneurs; • 56% of those jobs were employment equity jobs; • 69% of those jobs were for the youth (18-35 years); • R1.8-billion in revenue was generated by these companies; and • R1.49-million was delivered in enterprise development value.