By Nancy Dahlberg
“This has been a challenging year for many entrepreneurs, yet it is crucial to support them and ensure their growth, as they are a key component of economic development in our city,” says Claudia Duran, managing director at Endeavor Miami. This is why the work Endeavor does is critical at this moment.”
Endeavor Miami, in partnership with Facebook, is launching a free virtual Growth Bootcamp, partnering with Facebook. The bootcamp’s objective is to support underrepresented and undercapitalized entrepreneurs in setting up, operating and growing their businesses. The program will take place from Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, and will be led by Endeavor Mentors.
The Growth Bootcamp is open to immigrant and/or BIPOC founders based in Miami whose ventures are pre-revenue or under $100K annual revenues. Visit this website for more information and to apply.
Endeavor and Facebook are also hosting a free Boost with Facebook virtual training open to all at 10 am Nov. 12. It will be streamed on Endeavor Miami’s Facebook page.
This new bootcamp is one of several new initiatives for Endeavor Miami this year, in addition to its primary work supporting selected high-impact Endeavor Entrepreneurs from more than 20 companies in South Florida. This summer, Endeavor also launched EndeavorLAB, a two-month accelerated growth program to support local early-stage women-led startups. It launched its second cohort of its ScaleUp Progam this summers as well.
I caught up with Claudia Duran recently to find out more about how this crazy year has been going for the Endeavor Miami and the companies it supports.
How has the coronavirus impacted Endeavor Miami's companies in general?
Fortunately, our portfolio is in good standing overall regarding cash flow. The first couple of months were a bit tougher with such uncertainty in the markets. However, as time passed and people started getting more clarity on the situation, the performance of our portfolio companies started to improve.
Since we are industry agnostic, we have companies in different spaces. As you may suspect, some of them were hit harder than others. And some in particular triggered significant growth during the pandemic.
What was the biggest challenge during the pandemic for the founders you work with?
Many companies faced the challenge of not having enough cash flow in order to sustain their operations and payroll. They immediately had to understand how to apply to the PPP SBA Loan in order to qualify for the funding. Another challenge was pivoting the way of doing business online, not only by offering their products through e-commerce platforms but connecting with clients and business partners in a virtual setting like Zoom.
For the Endeavor Miami companies that are venture-funded, are they trying to raise this year or waiting it out?
Most companies that were thinking about fundraising have held back during the last couple of months because, given the uncertainty, many company valuations have been affected. None of our entrepreneurs were in such a desperate need for cash to give in to a lower valuation than they thought they should have. Having a clearer picture now of how things will unfold over the next months or year, some of our portfolio companies are now starting to evaluate raising a new round of funding.
In your view what has the pandemic crisis taught us as a community?
Working together as a community has been very important in navigating this crisis, making peer-to-peer connections for deeper conversations was our focus, in order to help entrepreneurs support each other. Also, our mentor network was key in helping entrepreneurs face their challenges and find possible solutions, our work was to make sure we connected them to the right mentors at the right time.
What are the top issues that the South Florida entrepreneurial community should be tackling?
We think there are two main issues affecting entrepreneurs in our ecosystem -- access to talent and access to capital. At Endeavor, we’re trying to alleviate these pain points by partnering with different educational institutions to create a talent pipeline for our entrepreneurs as well as ensure that top talent stays in the South Florida region. Regarding access to capital, we’ve formed the Endeavor Miami Investor Network to facilitate access to capital for entrepreneurs in Florida. The Investor Network bridges the financing gap in the market by connecting entrepreneurs to financing alternatives that best meet their needs. We have partnered with 60+ investors across the US who are looking to deploy capital within the Florida ecosystem, and we facilitate introductions to companies that meet their investment theses.
What is your goal for Endeavor Miami over the next year or two?
Our priority is to continue connecting entrepreneurs to the right mentors, investors, and other entrepreneurs who can help them take their companies to the next level. Also, we want to see even more entrepreneurs be part of our network by participating in our non-dilutive acceleration programs and ideally start scaling them to the point where they could become Endeavor Entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs will also become part of our local entrepreneurial community, and contribute to making South Florida an attractive place for other entrepreneurs to choose as their home.
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