Q & A

What's the power of social capital?

A nonprofit finds its niche in supporting the development of entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Linda Rottenberg, the founder of Endeavor, discusses how the organization has been able to help develop companies responsible for 90,000 jobs in 11 countries.


The nonprofit organization Endeavor seeks to transform emerging-market economies by identifying and supporting high impact entrepreneurs. With an aim of working in 25 markets around the world, Endeavor does the due-diligence to find and foster undiscovered entrepreneurs caught in a funding gap between microfinance and private equity. But as a “venture catalyst,” rather than funding the entrepreneurs, the organization plugs them into a social network that provides guidance, expertise, and recognition which all allow these entrepreneurs to tap into existing sources of capital and grow their business ideas into engines for the local economies. 

In recognizing founder Linda Rottenberg as one of America’s best leaders in 2008, U.S. News wrote, “Since it began in 1997, Endeavor has screened nearly 18,000 companies in 11 countries, including Brazil, South Africa, and Jordan. More than 330 entrepreneurs have been selected for assistance, creating nearly 90,000 jobs that generally pay at least 10 times the minimum wage. Endeavor entrepreneurs generated $2.5 billion in revenue in 2007.”

Rottenberg discussed the possibilities of social networking, Endeavor’s place in the nonprofit ecosystem, and the power of connecting emerging market to emerging market with Qn. Listen to the interview.

Interview conducted and edited by Ted O'Callahan.

Cofounder and CEO, Endeavor; Graduate, Yale Law School