The bold ones - high-impact entrepreneurs

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‘When economies turn down, entrepreneurs turn up,’ said Linda Rottenberg, CEO of the global entrepreneurship support network Endeavor. In Oxford’s Saïd’s Leadership in Extraordinary Times broadcast of 18 February 2021 she spoke to Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, about the role of high-impact entrepreneurs in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and in ‘building forward’ for the future.

While larger, less agile companies struggled to adapt, the widespread lockdowns imposed in order to contain the spread of the virus turned out to be a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship—especially for tech-enabled solutions. ‘Just everyone was finding solutions!’ said Rottenberg. ‘We had coffee shops opening in Indonesia with tech-enabled solutions; we had, in every country, people finding fintech options to create opportunities for lots of mom-and-pop shops to build digital storefronts, and now – guess what – those digital storefronts are thriving.’

In fact, according to Rottenberg, ‘it’s always a good time to be an entrepreneur,’ and there will continue to be opportunities for innovation and growth. Three key pieces of advice for entrepreneurs emerged from the broadcast:

Focus on the pain point that you are addressing It is what will keep you going through the hard times, and it is something that Endeavor looks for when considering which entrepreneurs to support.

Don’t worry about the entrenched leaders Even today’s ‘big five’ platform companies can be disrupted, as IBM and other behemoths were before them.

Be open and empathetic The age of command-and-control leadership has passed: people want to see the human side of their leaders. And to attract the best talent from anywhere in the world you need to be sensitive to different cultures and open to dialogue and discussion.

Linda Rottenberg, Co-founder & CEO, Endeavor Global:  As co-founder and CEO of Endeavor Global, Inc. Linda has led the global entrepreneurship movement for two decades.

Pinar Ozcan is Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Saïd Business School. She also serves as the Director of the Oxford Future of Finance and Technology (Fintech) Initiative.