We’ve all read the statistics: less than 2% of women-founded businesses get institutional funding. Only 1.2% of all venture capital invested in 2021 went to Black-led startups. And nearly 13% of Latino-owned firms close in their first year, compared to 10% for white-owned firms.

Some may argue that this data does not show the full picture: what percentage of businesses are actually founded by only women? Not all businesses are venture-backable. What percentage of those is even led by Black founders? 13% and 10% regarding Latino-owned vs white-owner business closures is barely a significant difference. Indeed, these numbers only show part of reality, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge problem here.

The proper question is not what or how many – rather, why. Why are there fewer businesses led by only women compared to businesses led by only men? Why are so few venture-backable companies led by Black founders? Why is there a difference in the failure rate of Latinx-led firms vs White-led firms?

This is where Endeavor comes in. We believe that underrepresented founders have the power to transform economies. By overcoming the odds, founders inspire,  invest, and mentor the next generation of founders more than most other demographics. But, also more than most others, underrepresented founders face insurmountable barriers to scaling their companies. The playing field is not level; at Endeavor, we try to give founders that leg up to make it so.

We aim to bridge that gap and solve the problem at its core. EndeavorLAB is a two-month initiative designed for underrepresented founders leading businesses that have just started generating revenue to build a robust foundation for scale. We run three cohorts a year – one for Black founders, one for women founders, and one for Latinx founders and provide founders with the network, community, and knowledge they need to go further than they would alone.

The two main pillars of EndeavorLAB are community and mentorship: we hand-pick our founders, diligently designing the make-up of the cohort to create the right synergy between the founders, companies, and industries. We might have a premium Haitian condiment brand and a compliance solution for banks in the same cohort, and founders still come out of EndeavorLAB saying the most valuable and unexpected part of the experience was the learnings they gained from one another.

Additionally, through EndeavorLAB we connect founders with mentors who have been there, done that, and who can provide our founders with first-hand experience of what they should and shouldn’t do at this stage of their business. In early 2023, a founder of a solution for e-commerce brands worked with a mentor who had founded and scaled a data analytics company. As a result of their three sessions together, our founder slightly pivoted his business and as a result of the pivot, generated more revenue in the month following EndeavorLAB than in the six months prior.

I myself have been at the intersection of identities that are underrepresented at different stages of my life. I grew up Jewish and a woman in Brazil, a country that is over 80% catholic and with deeply patriarchal values. Then, when I was 18, I moved to the United States for university, becoming surrounded by those whose first language was English and who grew up in the culture and context I had just stepped into. Because of these varied experiences, I understand first-hand how important it is to surround ourselves both with those that are like us and those who are unlike us.

That is the biggest strength of EndeavorLAB: we bring together founders who have one demographic aspect in common, but other than that, who have varied work and personal experiences, stories and challenges. EndeavorLAB connects founders with others who understand them because they are like them and who understand them because they are unlike them in other ways.

I have had the absolute honor of leading EndeavorLAB since joining Endeavor Miami. My greatest pleasure is seeing the long-lasting relationships founders create with one another in the short period of time we have together. At the cohort retreat, I observe as founders break down their barriers when listening to one of our mentors on the importance of vulnerability and going through some deep icebreaker exercises. Every week through our whiteboard exercises, I watch as founders, who may have just started their own business, share their thoughts and suggestions with other founders in the cohort.  During these activities, founders form a foundation for bonds that will last long after they have successfully IPO’d, sold, or become a unicorn company.

As Endeavor, we might not be able to provide founders with institutional capital or prevent their business from closing, but through EndeavorLAB, founders understand that they are not alone – that the venture they are pursuing is worth persevering on. In that way, we hope to set the foundation for businesses that defy the statistics and one day reverse the narrative completely.

We are always looking for the next generation of founders to support with our resources and network. We hope we can support you as you build towards the next stage in your growth journey. Learn more and apply to participate in the next cohort of EndeavorLAB here.

¹ https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/the-vc-female-founders-dashboard#:~:text=Venture%20capital%20funding%20overall%20has,backed%20startups%20in%20the%20US.

² https://news.crunchbase.com/venture/something-ventured-funding-to-black-startup-founders-quadrupled-in-past-year-but-remains-elusive/

³ https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/sustainable-inclusive-growth/the-economic-state-of-latinos-in-america-the-american-dream-deferred