By Nancy Dahlberg
Flawless execution helped propel Argentine Marcos Galperin’s e-auction site, Mercado Libre, above the competition to become a $3.8 billion company. Some 50,000 small businesses now use it to market their wares.
Leila Velez and Heloísa Helena Assis, cousins who grew up in the slums of Rio, started with one product and one salon. Today their company, Beleza Natural, operates 24 salons that bring in $75 million in revenues, employs 1,500 people and has an eye on U.S expansion.
Both were powered, in part, by Endeavor, a global nonprofit that selects, mentors, supports and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs in metropolitan areas of 16 countries — and, soon, in Miami.
Endeavor and its local supporter, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced Tuesday that Knight is providing Endeavor with $2 million in grant funding over five years for Endeavor’s first U.S. expansion. Endeavor’s Miami office could ultimately service dozens of local entrepreneurs, but first a local board needs to be assembled, a managing director hired and offices set up.
Beginning late this year, South Florida’s innovators will be able to apply to become Endeavor Entrepreneurs, connecting them to a global network of mentors and advisors who can help grow their ventures. “We think this is a cornerstone of making Miami more of a place where ideas are built,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation, which has made entrepreneurship a key focus of its Miami program.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.