Endeavor at The Social Enterprise Conference 2009- Harvard Business School


Each year Harvard Business School in cooperation with the Kennedy School of Government hosts an annual Social Enterprise Conference. While we did not have a first row seat at the conference this year, we have heard it was once again an awesome event. I’d like to take a moment to share the story of one of this year’s keynote speakers: Linda Rottenberg, a truly inspirational woman.


Linda is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of a non-profit organization called Endeavor. Her organization identifies and supports high impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Utilizing the Endeavor Methodology, Linda and her team diligently  seek bright, ambitious, entrepreneurs around the globe who have a vision to make a genuine different within their countries. Endeavor then provides unparalleled strategic advice and necessary working capital to aid them in successful execution of their ideas; creating thousands of jobs and oodles of inspiration for young minds within that country and around the world.

Linda was recently named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by U.S. News & World Report (2008.) And it doesn’t stop there. She has received numerous other awards for her work, notably: Fast Company’s 2008 Social Capitalist Award & Time Magazine’s Innovator of the 21st Century Award. Prior to co-founding Endeavor, Linda was the director of the Southern Cone Expansion of Ashoka, where her work directly propelled Venture Philanthropy and helped finance over 30 social entrepreneurs in developing countries. Through Endeavor, Linda has directly and positively impacted the lives of hundreds of entrepreneurs. Here’s a brief snapshot of Endeavor’s impact:

Over 18,000 emerging market entrepreneurs screened: 400 selected

Over 90,000 jobs created

Over $2.5 billion in revenues generated

So you’re probably asking: Is Endeavor a social business? Well if you’ve read our Social Business Test, then the answer is not exactly. While Endeavor may support entrepreneurs who are launching businesses which create jobs and empower communities, these entrepreneurs are not necessarily engaged in businesses with a mission to solve a ‘social ill.’ For example, a featured Endeavor Entrepreneur, Andres Freire created a Company in Argentina called OfficeNet. While this company has created jobs for hundred of individuals and revenues in excess of $57 Million USD, OfficeNet is still a profit maximizing business, meaning at its core, profitability is king.

However, we would like to emphasize that the reason we featured Endeavor is because at the end of the day, Linda and her team are doing good. They are empowering entrepreneurs and many of them are in developing countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay & India.  These high impact entrepreneurs are creating companies, creating jobs and directly boosting their nation’s economies.



  • Endeavor identifies and and supports high impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
  • Organization Type: Non-Profit
  • Website: www.endeavor.org
  • Founder(s):Linda Rottenberg
  • Founded: 1997
  • Location:New York, New York, United States of America
  • Article(s): See complete company list here


Naiomi is passionate about business for good and social entrepreneurship. As co-founder of SocialEarth, she hopes to help create an information platform enabling those doing good to share their stories with those those seeking to help and are interested in moving our world forward.

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