Wilkes welcomes Rottenberg as part of Kirby Lecture Series

Phat Nguyen, News Editor

Fifteen years ago, the editor of the Portuguese Brazilian dictionary called Linda Rottenberg because there was no word for entrepreneur.

“They had just entered emprendedor and emprenderismo into the lexicon,” Rottenberg said. “I get in trouble for saying this but it’s true. There was no word for entrepreneur, and entrepreneurship was not used. Now emprendedor and emprenderismo are very commonplace.”

Rottenberg saw a similar pattern in problem in the Arabic and Turkish languages. This was never a problem for Americans, however. As CEO and co-founder of Endeavor, Rottenberg works with entrepreneurs around the world to help them start and grow their own businesses. She believes entrepreneurship is within Americans.

“It’s in our DNA. The American Dream is essentially about entrepreneurship,” Rottenberg said. “It’s about shaking things up. It’s the idea that you can be better than your parents were. It doesn’t matter where you grow up. If you have a good idea you could make it happen.”
Rottenberg is set to speak about “Reclaiming the American dream: getting back our entrepreneurial spirit” as part of the Allen P. Kirby Lecture series Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rite Aide Auditorium in the Stark Learning Center at Wilkes University.

Endeavor now has offices in 15 countries with 250 employees. Its entrepreneurs have created more than 150,000 jobs that annually generate nearly $5 billion. Sharing stories and examples of successful businesses and networking helps bring the entrepreneurial spirit to action, Rottenberg said.

As a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Rottenberg was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report and one of 100 Innovators for the 21st Century by Time Magazine.

Having assembled an unparalleled network of the world’s foremost business leaders and investors, Rottenberg is often sought out for her ability to understand new trends in global business.

“It used to be when we see companies in South Africa, in Turkey, in Mexico, in Brazil in Egypt, in Indonesia, they would be looking locally or then they would look to their neighboring country, but then if they really wanted to be big, they would have to get to the U.S. market. That has changed,” Rottenberg said.

She said Endeavor is seeing a lot of countries look to emerging countries with similar economy.

“We’re seeing Indian companies replicate in Africa. We’re seeing Brazilian companies replicate in the Middle East. That to me is a phenomenon that is happening.”

“If American companies want to remain competitive, they really have to start looking at the global market from day one.”

In her speech, she looks to highlight several examples of outstanding entrepreneurial leadership such as Facebook, but we should look to other examples as well.

“I’m all for that and social networking, but those can’t be the only we have associated with entrepreneurship,” Rottenberg said. “Look at Wal-Mart, Pixar, or other high growth companies in more traditional industries. We have it in us, we just have to adjust our economy for the globalizing economy to see more of the entrepreneurial spirit in action.”

Rottenberg is also calling for more female entrepreneurial leadership. Endeavor has seen an increase from 8 percent female-led companies a decade ago, to now 18 percent, she said.

The Allan P. Kirby Center Lecture Series hosts two forums annually, which provide students and the community insight into the creative process and drive of the entrepreneur. For information, call 570-408-4330.