Romanians in Endeavor: Beatrice Cord on Rethinking Regional Potential, Building Tribes of Passionate Entrepreneurs, and Advancing the Multiplier Effect

Romanians in Endeavor: Beatrice Cord on Rethinking Regional Potential, Building Tribes of Passionate Entrepreneurs, and Advancing the Multiplier Effect

In our first episode of Romanians in Endeavor series, we talk with Beatrice Cord, Head of Global Partnerships and Business Development for Endeavor Global.

As a multidisciplinary strategist, circular entrepreneur and trained diplomat based in New York but with strong Romanian roots, Beatrice shares the importance of youth empowerment, regenerative ecosystems, and the Romanian DNA in Endeavor with us.

Beatrice, you have an extensive entrepreneurial background, so what made you decide to give back instead of keep succeeding on your own?

That’s a very interesting question because before joining Endeavor I was sure I would never work for anyone else again. However, given the impact opportunities and entrepreneurial nature that Endeavor offers, I realized that it was the only organization that makes sense for an entrepreneur to join. Endeavor has a unique model: it is an organization by, of, and for high impact entrepreneurs – fueled with entrepreneurial passion and passionate people with diverse backgrounds and various personal and professional endeavors. In fact, even launching and managing an Endeavor local office is a lot like starting your own business: you have to overcome obstacles, especially in parts of the world that have up and coming entrepreneurial ecosystems, attract funding, find the best people, and inspire others to support and join in the vision.

After having worked with the United Nations I find a lot of similarities with Endeavor from the governing model perspective – each local office is self-governed yet we are all united by our shared values to dream big, scale fast and pay it forward and our shared belief that high-impact entrepreneurs can really transform economies.

And then there is the rules-based, co-investment fund Endeavor Catalyst, set up to invest exclusively in Endeavor Entrepreneur-led companies and to sustain Endeavor’s long-term operations in a mission-aligned way. The long term dream is for Endeavor to become the first self funded NGO in the near future.

In fact, is individual success possible without community support?

It is possible; many famous or infamous entrepreneurs prove that. But it’s much harder and it can get extremely lonely. When I started my entrepreneurial journey in Romania towards building a regenerative hemp ecosystem I felt on my own how hard it can be to stay at your desk sometimes in your home or in a coffee shop building something on your own.

When you find your tribe and have access to a like minded community everything changes. Joining Endeavor means joining an unrivaled global network of mentors, board members, ambassadors, partners and high impact entrepreneurs who inspire us and each other to overcome growth roadblocks and think bigger, but more importantly allow you to scale faster.

One of the key differences between other entrepreneurial networks that I truly love about Endeavor is the focus on The Multiplier Effect. This refers to the compound, exponential impact a founder has on the entire entrepreneurial economy of a country or region when they mentor, invest in, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. It’s their bubble of influence. So it’s not just about you becoming a successful entrepreneur and having a great venture that opens jobs and changes, let’s say, 10% of the ecosystem. But it’s also about all the other people you can inspire and the impact you can make when you all join forces, which can reach 60%-100%. In fact, this was Linda and Peters’s vision when they started Endeavor: that entrepreneurs are not just in Silicon Valley but everywhere and have the power to change communities and economies.

Tell us more about your Endeavor journey and what it means to you to be a part of its network of innovative minds and bold ventures.

Everyone who joins Endeavor seems to have their own journey with Endeavor. My Endeavor journey started a few years ago while I was working in different emerging markets on global platforms and development conferences. I got to meet Endeavor on the ground and work with local offices across Africa and the Middle East and I was quickly endeavor-ized. I saw first hand Endeavor’s impact on the ground and the network’s capacity to support and enable the very best entrepreneurs to create impact through their multiplier effect. Being part of Endeavor Global is an enormous opportunity to contribute across all the different local offices while learning from each of them. It allows me to gain such a global perspective of the different challenges for each entrepreneur and also each of the markets we currently operate in while also being able to contribute and design ways in which we can better support our network from partners to entrepreneurs.

You are also an Aspen Young Leaders Fellow. Why do you think we have to empower the youth, in particular?

Simply put, youth is our only chance for a better future.

Being the youngest person in the room was a disadvantage for me in the past. However, times are evolving, and now the value of youth is being more and more recognized. The younger generation holds immense importance and power as they are not only the future but also the active participants in shaping the present. They ought to take ownership of decisions and determine how they want to live and build their and our future.

Through Aspen, Forbes 30 Under 30, and other similar platforms and programs I am proud to be part of, I feel I contribute to building networks and ecosystems of empowering and inspiring more young people to elevate their voices.

I particularly appreciate when programs such as the Young Leaders Program of Aspen Institute bring together young people from diverse backgrounds from civil society to business, finance and entrepreneurship as they become an integral part of a future network of leaders of tomorrow that can work together to create real solutions across politics – civil society and business.

Talking about that, how can we bridge the notorious generational gap and stop blaming each other?

Communication is probably one of the easiest, yet hardest things we can and should do. And of course, the ability to recognize and respect each other’s values. Because there are no right or wrong values. We all have different backgrounds and histories, so we should be able to listen, understand, and respect without judgment.

That’s why I love the concept of value-based leadership: to respect different values and build upon them so that we can build collaborative bridges between our generations.

One of your many socially-oriented passions is supporting the development of products for regenerative ecosystems. Is sustainability a modern whim as some claim, or a priority for all of us?

Sustainability has indeed become a buzzword and like any buzzword, it tends to be seen as a whim. But sustainability in its purest form and especially creating regenerative systems and mindsets, in my opinion, are essential and the only way to look at the future. There is no planet B, so we just cannot be focused to design and build solely with humans at the center. We have to transition towards a full life-centered approach from which we all win – humans, ecosystems and the Planet.

In fact, the concept of regenerative ecosystems is essential for businesses. We know that our resources are not endless, so by focusing on regeneration, we as a society are enabling regenerative ways to create profit in perpetuity.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of greenwashing, but everyone should understand that there can and should be a win-win-win situation for creating new opportunities beyond our personal bubbles, and including the planet as a whole.

And while you are concerned about global problems, you are still connected to one specific part of the world: Romania. Are you positive about Romania’s current situation and how do you envision the future of its startup ecosystem?

I moved to New York in my early 20s to pursue one of my first professional dreams of becoming a diplomat and working for the United Nations. New York quickly became my home and adopted me but since I grew up in Romania and that is where my family and majority of friends still are there will always be a strong connection.

Before the pandemic I returned to Romania to pursue another dream of building my own company. I quickly realized that there are several differences between the mindset and opportunities New York offers and the challenges of a more up and coming market like Romania especially when it comes to access to capital or market preparedness for new products and services.

That is why I think it was incredibly important and momentous for Endeavor Romania to open as it is a network and a community that is bringing not just know-how and access to a wider network but also inspiration and insights to the local entrepreneurs.

Is there something special in the Romanian DNA that makes people with Romanian roots valuable members of Endeavor Global?

Romanians are resilient, creative, and extremely adaptive, which are some of the most essential qualities for an entrepreneur, so I believe that is what they bring to the table in any circumstance and particularly in Endeavor. .

We are able to deliver some of the most awarded creative campaigns although the budgets are always limited and similarly we have some incredible students winning math, informatics and robotics Olympiads even if the system doesn’t offer clear mentorship opportunities or career paths.

All these qualities have always made Romanians entrepreneurial in a way without being clearly defined as such. We’ve always been able to find a way.

Are there any particular challenges Romanians face and have to overcome?

There are several global and regional challenges that are obvious and impact everyone at the moment from the war in Ukraine to inflation and also political instability and social unrest across the entire region. But I am not the one to comment on these. Some challenges I personally think we need to overcome are related to education, mindset and the way we position ourselves as a nation. When it comes to education It is alarming that we are seeing a decrease in the quality of public education, as well as the lack of professional and entrepreneurial education in schools. We see how that impacts every different layer of society especially when it comes to innovation and growth. Then there is the mindset we have and the way we position ourselves as a country not just in the region but globally. I believe Romania has massive untapped potential and there are still so many opportunities for growth and development not just around tech but also in agriculture, textiles and natural resources.

What about Romania’s neighbors? Can we learn from each other to overcome such challenges and help the region thrive on a global scale?

In 2022 our region entered a whole new era when the war in Ukraine started. After more than one year Ukraine showed the world how resilience, humanity and courage look in our region. Through the quick reactions of each bordering country, incredible collaboration and civil society implication I believe we all realized that we can indeed come together, support and elevate each other in times of crisis. It would be incredible to be able to do the same even without a crisis and build cultural, political, social and entrepreneurial bridges that can empower us as a region at the intersection of East and West that has so much common history and values. Even if in the past we learned how to compete more than collaborate we could now take the renewed opportunities and create a stronger union to build and learn together.

In the end, I believe that we can learn from the past and rewrite our own stories, so staying connected is the best way to go.

To wrap up, any advice to the Romanian diaspora across the globe?

To come together and embrace the multiplier effect they can have for Romania and the region!

We should see ourselves as part of one united ecosystem where we can create access to capital, access to new opportunities, and meaningful social and economic impact; a powerful ecosystem in which entrepreneurs, investors, and customers all win together with the communities around.