Linda Rottenberg, 35
Helps entrepreneurs in emerging nations turn innovations into business
Lindo Rottenberg believe that startups are the best way to create jobs and stimulate growth in economically struggling nations. To prove that contention, she cofounded Endeavor, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs in emerging countries access networks, training, and everything else they need to convert innovative ideas into companies. Endeavor invests no money itself. Instead, CEO Rottenberg and five other New York-based staffers coordinate 24 employees in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uraguay, and Mexico- and soon in South Africa. Those employees encourage prominent local businesspeople to find funding, give advice, and otherwise open doors for entrepreneurs. In the past year Rottenberg’s group has developed Web chat rooms where executives and entrepreneurs can compare notes. Endeavor claims that since 1997 is has supported 121 companies, which have generated more than 9,000 jobs and $363 million in revenue. Startups that are profitable within a few years often reward Endeavor with a small percentage of revenues or equity. Endeavor’s notable technology startups include Patagon.com, an Argentine online finance pioneer that was sold for $700 million, and Taho, a Brazilian wireless-communications company. “People worldwide with good ideas are calling us every day,” Rottenberg says.