Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Endeavor announces board and managing director for Miami

Sept. 4, 2013, 9:30 a.m., Posted by Matt Haggman

Endeavor from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

When Knight Foundation announced a $2 million investment to bring Endeavor to Miami, there remained important hurdles to overcome before the global entrepreneurship nonprofit opened its first U.S. affiliate.

Endeavor had to assemble a board of directors who would make a hefty investment to help launch the Miami operation. And it had to pick a managing director to lead the effort.

Today, Endeavor is announcing that a nine-person board and a managing director are in place. And the office of Endeavor Miami is set to open in two weeks and begin identifying and accelerating high-impact entrepreneurs across South Florida.   

Adriana Cisneros, CEO of Cisneros Group, one of the largest privately held media companies in the world, will chair the Endeavor Miami board. Daniel Echavarria, director of Organizacion Corona and CEO of El Paso Advisors, will serve as vice chair.

Laura Maydon, a Harvard Business School graduate, will serve as Endeavor Miami’s managing director. Maydon previously was an executive with Visa in Miami.

For Knight Foundation, the formal launch of Endeavor Miami represents an important step in our new effort—launched last year—to boost Miami’s emerging community of entrepreneurs, innovators and doers of all kinds.

We aim to widen our lens on Miami’s creative community by not only focusing on artists but also on entrepreneurs. The goal is to make Miami more of a place where ideas are built. If this is done well, we believe it will ultimately lead to greater talent retention, increased opportunities for residents to act and engage, and a stronger sense of place and possibility in Miami.

As part of that effort, Knight’s other investments include funding the launch of The Lab Miami, a Wynwood co-working space; helping scale Refresh Miami, the largest tech meetup group in South Florida; and supporting dozens of events like Startup City: Miami, NewME Popup Accelerator and the upcoming Miami Mini Maker Faire.

In some 16 countries around the world, Endeavor has launched affiliates that built vibrant, innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems. But Miami will be its first U.S. city.

Under Endeavor’s model, it establishes a local board of directors to oversee each affiliate and provide financial support. Endeavor’s belief is that there must be significant local buy-in to be successful.

The other board members of Endeavor Miami include: Alberto Beeck, director, Virgin Hotels; Alberto Chang Rajii, president, Grupo Arcano; Peter Kellner, founder and managing partner, Richmond Global and co-founder of Endeavor Global; Manny Medina, managing partner, Medina Capital Partners; Andres Moreno, founder and CEO, Open English; Sean Wolfington, founder of the Wolfington Companies; and, on behalf of Knight Foundation, me.

For Miami, the board has pledged $3 million over five years, on top of the $2 million in funding already committed by Knight Foundation. Because of the size of the investment required from board members, it often takes a year for Endeavor to set up a local board. But, demonstrating the momentum in South Florida, it took about three months in Miami.

The Endeavor Miami board met for the first time in June and Maydon was selected that same month.

Many of the board members are already active in helping connect and support Miami’s emerging entrepreneurial and startup community. Beeck, for instance, has mentored social entrepreneurs through Ashoka, a social impact organization that Knight Foundation supports; Medina is in the middle of planning a tech conference, which Knight Foundation is funding, called eMerge Americas; and Echavarria is a co-investor with Knight Foundation in The Lab Miami co-working space.    

Meanwhile, even as each board member is based in Miami, the new board illustrates the rich diversity of South Florida. The native countries represented on the Endeavor Miami board and in the managing director post include: Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico—along with the U.S. cities of New York City, Philadelphia and Boston.

Forming the local board and hiring a managing director are important milestones, but the most important work starts now—especially selecting, supporting and trumpeting the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Miami.

To do it, the nonprofit must now identify and carefully vet Miami’s best high-impact entrepreneurs; connect them with proven local business leaders as mentors; and integrate them within its broader global network of support. Then Endeavor Miami has to tell the stories of the most successful entrepreneurs in a bid to create role models who serve as catalysts across South Florida.

It’s a model that’s proven successful. Entrepreneurs have seen significant job and revenue growth with Endeavor’s support. Endeavor Entrepreneurs, for instance, grew jobs at five times the rate of comparable ventures, according to one study.

But perhaps more important: Endeavor has a proven ability to build supportive, vibrant entrepreneurial communities. For example, an Endeavor study found that more than 65 percent of Endeavor’s entrepreneurs become advisers and donors to other entrepreneurs.  

Currently, there are more than 800 Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world. The next step: announcing the first Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Miami.

Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation