The Journey to Endeavor Selection: Daystar Power

Endeavor is excited to introduce the most recent entrepreneurs to join our global entrepreneurship network, Christian Wessels and Jasper Graf von Hardenberg, who lead Daystar Power; a renewable energy company that is on a mission to close Africa’s power gap.

Daystar Power’s value proposition in Nigeria distinctly targets the challenge of inefficient power supply by providing commercial and industrial customers with cleaner, more reliable and more affordable electricity. With 28 million households and 11 million SMEs either in off-grid areas or receiving less than 4 hours of electricity per day, the emergence of scalable businesses that are solving this real problem is a welcome development in bridging the gap between Nigeria’s power grid and millions of citizens.

Joining the Endeavor network is a rigorous and gruelling process, but ultimately a valuable and impactful experience for entrepreneurs. From the initial point of contact with Endeavor, Daystar Power went through a series of interview-style assessments, which we call the ‘Endeavor selection process’. Most entrepreneurs have little time to spare, particularly when they are focused on creating impact within their ecosystems. At Endeavor, we see selection as a service; it’s an opportunity for us to learn about the business and for entrepreneurs to tell their story. Rather than making Christian and Jasper go through a series of one-sided interviews, at each phase of the selection process, we were having transformational conversations that pushed them to reflect on their business model, team strength, and future growth plans.

When entrepreneurs pass our selection process, we formally welcome them into the network as Endeavor Entrepreneurs. With the addition of Daystar Power, Endeavor in Nigeria now supports 13 Endeavor Entrepreneurs who are leading 8 high-impact companies, including Filmhouse, Cars 45, Health Plus, Paga, Carbon, AZA, and Flutterwave.

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Christian and Jasper’s journey to becoming Endeavor Entrepreneurs began with an assessment in August 2019. Over a 6-month period, they had several touchpoints with the local team in Lagos, 11 hours of interviews and 3 days of deliberations.

“We thoroughly enjoyed the Endeavor selection process. On the one hand, it is quite challenging, but also provides us [as entrepreneurs] with useful and insightful perspectives on our business”, said Jasper Graf von Hardenberg.

As co-founders of Daystar Power, both Christian and Jasper demonstrate the ability to successfully guide their business to a point where they are not only innovating within the ecosystem, but also inspiring a generation of forward-thinking leaders. Their commitment to Endeavor’s selection process is a testament to the value they see in becoming Endeavor Entrepreneurs.

“Being part of Endeavor is an incredible honour for us. We look forward to fully participating in the network and utilising the resources it provides to its entrepreneurs.”

The Selection Process in Four Steps

The first stage began with First Opinion Reviews (FOR) when the local team conducted interviews to assess the candidate’s viability. During this process, we learnt more about the entrepreneurs, their business model, and vital information about Daystar Power.

This was followed by Second Opinion Reviews (SOR). During this stage, Christian and Jasper received informal mentoring and were evaluated by Endeavor Mentors who probed their business strategy, growth potential, and their and leadership qualities.

Next, in October 2019, Christian and Jasper successfully passed the Local Selection Panel (LSP) in Lagos. The LSP is typically a half-day event where a panel of Endeavor Nigeria network members interview candidates and decide whether or not they will move on to the next stage. Over the course of the day, they met with 4 panellists who assessed their fit for Endeavor.

Having successfully passed through these screenings, Daystar Power had to go through the final stage, which was our International Selection Panel (ISP) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in February 2020. ISPs are held 8 times a year in different cities around the world and provide an opportunity for candidates to connect with Endeavor’s global network. International business leaders drawn from Endeavor’s extensive network serve as panellists to interview candidates, deliberate and select a new class of Endeavor Entrepreneurs by unanimous vote.

During the 3-day event, Christian and Jasper met with 6 panellists who evaluated them on their potential for high-impact growth and their eligibility to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. For Christian and Jasper, the ISP in Riyadh was a valuable experience, “It exceeded our highest expectations. It was perfectly organised, we met amazing people and were able to enjoy the Saudi hospitality.”

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At each stage of the selection process, the entrepreneurs receive honest feedback and conflict-free idea exchange from experienced and seasoned business leaders. The journey to becoming an Endeavor Entrepreneur is different for every candidate, but the four phases remain the same. For some entrepreneurs, it can take as little as 4 months, while it can take others over 12 months. We only ask that candidates keep an open mind throughout the process and see it as an opportunity to leverage the feedback they receive.

Christian Wessels and Jasper Graf von Hardenberg join 23 high-impact entrepreneurs leading 14 companies from 11 markets who were selected at Endeavor’s 93rd International Selection Panel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Endeavor now supports 2,039 entrepreneurs leading 1,272 companies in nearly 40 markets around the world. To learn more about the companies and entrepreneurs selected in Riyadh this month, read more.

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Endeavor is leading the global high-impact entrepreneurship movement. We are accelerating the growth of Nigeria’s high-impact, scaleup & growth-stage companies.

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