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Taking Risks in Challenging Times

Endeavor pushes forward Corporate Innovation initiatives with the help of Swiss EP Expert Meaghan Kennedy and Diego Perez from Orange Sparkle Ball

Despite the challenges brought on by the global situation in 2020, Endeavor Peru continued its course of developing new services, understanding the importance of diversification for them and the entrepreneurs they serve.

In 2020 uncertainty became the new normal. People—and businesses—were forced to constantly think about how to tackle the barriers the pandemic created. For many entrepreneurs and support organizations, it felt like a marathon for survival.

Prior to the pandemic, Endeavor Peru had been working on polishing its corporate innovation activities. The outcomes were very promising: Endeavor’s role as a corporate innovation enabler was clearer as it took part in advanced conversations with startups and corporates. Then, the pandemic hit, disrupting the team’s plans.

It soon became clear that, for Endeavor, the marathon for survival would have to be run in two ways. First, in supporting their startups to reinvent their businesses. Second, to reinvent themselves. To the Endeavor team, there was only one choice: they would not just run the marathon, they would win it.

"Expanding our expertise in Peru to open innovation was always a natural extension of our work with startups and scaleups, but with the pandemic and subsequent economic crisis, it became even more important for our long-term sustainability to gain expert insight and guidance to refine this new service, not just to corporate partners, but to the very entrepreneurs we serve", commented Debbie Jaffe, Endeavor Peru’s Executive Director.

Swiss EP faced a similar challenge regarding its support to ecosystem organizations. Due to the new normal, its support had to become 100% remote. When Endeavor confirmed it was time to design the first workshops for a potential corporate client, the question of who would be best equipped to support Endeavor came up. Luckily, in pre-COVID times, Endeavor had had the opportunity to work and engage with Meaghan Kennedy and Diego Pérez from Orange Sparkle Ball (OSB) in person. OSB had experience in the Peruvian context as they had run a Corporate Innovation Workshop for Peru’s incubators and accelerators in a government-organized event.

“The team at Swiss EP has really supported the ecosystem in pushing into open innovation to create an exchange of value between startups and corporates. That value exchange strengthens the whole ecosystem,” says Meaghan Kennedy, Founder, Orange Sparkle Ball.

From an outside perspective, the workflow of their activities gave the impression that Endeavor and OSB were one. That partnership and Endeavor’s dynamic team led to them, presenting new ideas and, most importantly, fulfilling the milestones planned for the 1.5 months of remote support provided. OSB complemented these efforts with an outside perspective and experience working over the same challenges Endeavor was facing at this stage.

“Our partnership with Endeavor was a shared learning experience. We appreciated being able to bring our expertise, while also learning from the Endeavor team. It was such a great process that we have continued to look for ways to collaborate and have a webinar planned for March 2021.” says Diego Pérez, Designer, Strategist and Innovation Consultant, Orange Sparkle Ball.

Endeavor continued revising and polishing their workshop proposals related to Open Innovation, namely a proof-of-concept workshop that they were able to carry out with a corporate partner. Paloma Aramburu, Director of Selection, Services, and Partnerships at Endeavor shares this about the experience:

“It was extraordinary teamwork. Diego and Meaghan were very open to sharing their experiences and adapting them to our local context.”

The pandemic may have brought forth a new normal, but it has also incentivized many to tackle challenges with a firmer position. Short-term results of Endeavor’s decision to move forward with corporate innovation work have already materialized. Long-term results are sure to follow given the team’s unwavering commitment to the marathon of survival during challenging times.