At Endeavor, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs with the biggest ideas and the greatest potential to achieve meaningful scale. We operate with the fundamental belief that high-impact entrepreneurship has the potential to create millions of jobs, be a catalyst for economic growth, and a funnel for ushering new entrepreneurs into the ecosystem.
Since Endeavor began operations in Nigeria in 2018, we have grown our portfolio to include 14 entrepreneurs who have founded 9 high-growth companies operating in Nigeria. Our portfolio includes HealthPlus, Paga, Flutterwave, Carbon, Cars45, FilmHouse, AZA, Daystar Power, and as of last week, Migo. Ekechi Nwokah (Founder & CEO of Migo) was selected at Endeavor’s first-ever virtual International Selection Panel after undergoing our rigorous four-step selection process, which sees about 5% of candidates scale through to the final step.
Endeavor is often mistaken for an accelerator or incubator, but we are a mission-driven entrepreneur support organisation with a goal to facilitate access for high-impact entrepreneurs in underserved markets. We envision a world where innovative businesses have the potential to drive change, develop economies, create jobs and transform lives, especially in emerging markets such as Nigeria.
For instance, Ekechi Nwokah’s mission with Migo (formerly known as Mines) is ambitious and focused. Traditional banking systems are not built to serve last-mile retail transactions in emerging markets due to high infrastructure costs — such as adequate bank branches, plastic cards, point-of-sale hardware, etc — and centralization of data, leaving a $1.8T funding gap and millions of consumers and small business around the world without access to credit. Migo’s innovative business model is seizing the opportunity to close this gap and their mission to bring retail credit to under-served small businesses and consumers is already improving financial access for millions of Nigerians.
Endeavor provides support to companies like Migo in a myriad of ways.
Firstly, by going through our selection process, Entrepreneurs receive honest, vital and critical feedback from an array of trusted business leaders, seasoned investors and entrepreneurs, both locally and globally. All decisions are made unanimously, meaning that by the time you pass the International Selection Panel to become an Endeavor Entrepreneur, you have received a seal of approval from global industry leaders.
Many entrepreneurs in underserved markets face challenges when it comes to fundraising. Being an Endeavor Entrepreneur also grants frictionless access to capital through our investor network, which consists of over 400 members. Not only do we help our Entrepreneurs prepare for investor meetings and roadshows, we facilitate 1-on-1 sessions and strategic introductions.
Our market access opens doors to new commercial opportunities and global expansion through our network connections, deep-dive country visits, and specialized industry tours. In 2019, Paga Co-founder and Endeavor Entrepreneur, Jay Alabraba, joined other global fintech entrepreneurs on a tour of China, to connect with top players in the ecosystem. With plans of expanding to Brazil, which happens to be one of Endeavor’s largest markets, Migo is well-positioned to leverage the support of Endeavor’s extensive global network in order to significantly reduce any challenges or pitfalls.
One of our major priorities is setting up advisory boards, a carefully curated group of business leaders and experts, who provide expert mentorship to founders on strategy and execution. These sessions are extremely valuable to Endeavor Entrepreneurs who can rely on a group with experience and expertise in their markets or in their sector to provide expert guidance. Unlike an official Board of Directors, they are not a corporate governance mechanism. The goal of an Advisory Board is to provide entrepreneurs with access to impartial, experienced mentors and help them make better decisions and identify or address blind spots.
We also provide programming and executive education which focus on leadership, innovation and techniques for scaling companies at top business schools, including Harvard, Stanford and INSEAD. We design specific programs in order to allow Endeavor Entrepreneurs hone in on their unique challenges of running and scaling these high-impact companies in a developing market.
At Endeavor, we continue to look for Endeavor Entrepreneurs just like Ekechi, and the 13 other entrepreneurs in our portfolio; bold, audacious and inspiring founders, who are not only looking to build companies that will outlast them but who also mirror the values that we pride ourselves in, such as paying-it-forward and re-investing in the next generation. We deliberately seek out entrepreneurs who can drive innovation and productivity, and influence not only their immediate communities but also the overall ecosystem.