Nearshore Americas

Latin America Shows Well in Endeavor Entrepreneur Award Nominees


Congratulations to the nine entrepreneurs nominated for our Endeavor Entrepreneur of 2011 Award, to be revealed at our Endeavor Entrepreneur Summit later this month! These nominations recognize some of the Endeavor Entrepreneurs who have most embodied the spirit of Endeavor and had the highest impact over the past 12 months through a combination of growing his/her company, participating in the network, and giving back to Endeavor.

Rodolfo Montes de Oca and Patricio Miranda
Zott Producciones (Argentina)

The brainchild of childhood friends Rodolfo and Patricio, Zott Producciones exports innovative high-quality corporate promotional products to more than 40 countries. Zott has produced over 100 million products while building a reputation for efficiency, quality, and social responsibility. Zott generates $25 million in revenues and has more than 120 employees. Patricio and Rodolfo have given back to Endeavor in time and in-kind, speaking at conferences, participating in the selection process, and printing Endeavor Argentina’s annual Impact Reports free of charge.

Leila Velez
Beleza Natural (Brazil)

Leila and her co-founder opened the first Beleza Natural salon in 1993, aiming to give underserved women an affordable way to feel “naturally beautiful.” The franchise currently includes 26 salons in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Beleza Natural has also developed a line of hair care products, operates a cosmetic research lab and maintains partnerships with several universities. Since selection by Endeavor, Beleza Natural has increased employment by 214%. The company is in the top 5 Endeavor Brazil companies in terms of revenue and has excellent market foresight, targeting the fastest growing segment of the population in Brazil. Leila has helped Endeavor Brazil at several events, including the Endeavor Entrepreneur Annual Retreat, Gala Dinner, CEO Summit (which she attended as a speaker), and the Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness in Latin America program. She is also a columnist for Endeavor Brazil’s website and was one of the first entrepreneurs to teach in their education program.

Juan Carlos de la Llera
SIRVE (Chile)

SIRVE designs, produces and implements devices that protect structures from damage caused by earthquakes. When SIRVE-equipped buildings withstood the fifth-strongest earthquake ever recorded, SIRVE’s projects tripled. Today, the company is ready to capitalize on the estimated US$300 million seismic protection devices and services market. SIRVE’s significant investment in R&D and its ability to both develop and implement superior technology at a lower cost separates it from its competition. Juan Carlos has been a role model to an entire generation of engineers and entrepreneurs, showing how excellence in creating a better and safer environment is rewarded in the business world.

Kenneth Mendiwelson
Refinancia (Colombia)

Kenneth has developed an innovative approach to Colombia’s Non-Performing Loan (NPL) market, buying NPLs from banks and implementing a unique program for loan collection to treat debtors as respected clients instead of “defaulted loans.” Kenneth has already built a client base of more than 250,000 individuals. The company continues to make a significant social impact in Colombia, a country with almost no history of debt markets and very limited individual access to credit. Kenneth has not only focused on his company’s growth, but also on being an Ambassador for Endeavor Colombia, participating in several events, donating time to the Search and Selection process, and contributing to the World Economic Forum Report “Global Entrepreneurship and Successful Growth Strategies of Early-Stage Companies.”

Amr Shady
T.A. Telecom (Egypt)

T.A. Telecom is positioned to become Middle East North Africa (MENA) region’s premier mobile platform for time- and location-specific content. It recently experienced tremendous growth thanks to an increase in the population’s interest to consume more information. Despite being only recently selected at the Mexico ISP, Amr Shady is very actively involved in Endeavor. He has attended multiple local and international events and is making good use of connections, services and mentorship. He is the first entrepreneur in Egypt to commit to the give-back program.

Mauricio Pariente and Alejandro Chaljub
Procesa Chiapas (Mexico)

Mauricio and Alejandro’s vision was to positively impact employment and wealth in Chiapas, one of the poorest regions in Mexico. In only three years, their company, which commercializes frozen foods and tuna in pouch packets, grew from 100 to 300 employees and more than doubled annual sales from US$7.3 million to US$15.6 million. Mauricio and Alejandro serve on the advisory boards of several other Endeavor Entrepreneurs’ companies and have helped Endeavor set up an office in Chiapas.

Natalie Killassy
Stitch Wise (South Africa)

Since 1997, Stitch Wise has been producing leading-edge safety equipment and protective clothing for mining and other hazardous industries, protecting mining workers from the accidents that crippled its employees in the past. With over half the workforce made up of paraplegic former miners, Natalie’s socially conscious business restores dignity to those whose lives have been forever changed by on-the-job accidents. Natalie was a 2009 Veuve Clicquot “Business Woman of the Year” and was honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” at Endeavor’s annual Gala in New York City in 2009. She championed the idea of Entrepreneur “Give Back” before a formalized program was in place. She frequently donates her time and resources to the organization and serves on local selection panels.

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Bülent Celebi
AirTies (Turkey)

Bülent founded AirTies in 2004 to develop, produce and market network and wireless modems and accessories for the residential and small business market in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Since being selected by Endeavor, company revenues have grown by 466%. AirTies continues to create R&D jobs in Turkey and set new standards for management practices and customer support services. An active network member, Bülent serves on the board of another Endeavor company and has participated as a speaker, panelist, search and selection interviewer and ambassador for Endeavor. He is a major supporter of the “Give Back” program and is always ready to share constructive feedback on how Endeavor Turkey can improve their service.

Gabriel Colla
Infocorp (Uruguay)

Gabriel Colla founded Infocorp at age 22 in 1994 and successfully grew his company at an average of 35% per year for the past seven years. Its products are present in more than 18 countries, and the company has offices in Puerto Rico, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay. In 2009 Gabriel hired a CEO for Infocorp, and transitioned from the role of CEO to that of President, focusing on strategic issues. Gabriel launched a second company, Lynkos, in 2010 together with Federico Cella, another Endeavor Entrepreneur. He donated more than 20 hours as mentor in 2010 and is a member of Endeavor Uruguay’s Board of Directors.

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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