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Wednesday, 04 October 2017 11:59

Rasha Manna: Former Endeavor Jordan MD and current Endeavor Excelerator Consultant

I am Jordanian, born and brought up in Kuwait, and moved to Jordan at the time of the first Gulf War. I did my undergrad degree in London at the London School of Economics, and an Executive MBA at the American University of Beirut.

About Rasha |

1. Could you give us some personal background?

I am Jordanian, born and brought up in Kuwait, and moved to Jordan at the time of the first Gulf War. I did my undergrad degree in London at the London School of Economics, and an Executive MBA at the American University of Beirut. I am also a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor as well having done various leadership programmes at Stanford and Amsterdam-based THNK School of Creative Leadership.

I love travelling, obsessed with art, and sceptical of people who don’t love animals.

2. What motivates you/ what is your personal philosophy?

New experiences and new learnings. I crave new challenges and get invigorated by what I find I am capable of doing whenever I push myself outside of my comfort zone. My approach to my career has always been to put 200% effort in everything I do, give it my all, maximise my learnings and add as much value as I can, and once I have done that, I change career paths. On average I change jobs every 4 years and then do the same thing all over again. I am a self-proclaimed Intrapreneur and approach every job I have taken on with that mind-set. I also always take a few months off in between which I use to do something for my community. I have spent such time with the Red Cross during the 2003 war on Iraq, volunteering with a special needs centre and advising a refugee support organisation. Continuous personal development is core to who I am and every few years I have put myself back in study mode.

Career |

3. Please share some background on your career leading up to Endeavor.

I started my career at EY, where I spent 5 years in audit. That was an amazing foundation and I find I continue to use much of my learnings from that period throughout my 20 year career. I then joined a Jordanian Pharma company, Hikma Pharma, as part of the IPO team as we prepared for the London Stock Exchange listing. I spent much of my time there doing M&A work and led the transition phase of a company we acquired in Italy. From there I moved into investment banking, setting up and heading the Equity Research division before moving into Corporate Finance. Following that stint, I took time off to do my EMBA, and started freelance consulting for start-ups at that time. This is what triggered my interest in the entrepreneurship space, and I came across Endeavor, which was the perfect fit for me, given as I saw it as a Venture Capital firm, but without the capital. I had the privilege of leading Endeavor Jordan for five years in the capacity of Managing Director

Endeavor Experience |

4. Why did you choose to work with Endeavor on their Excelerator Programme?

I had just left Endeavor Jordan, when I was approached by Catherine regarding Excelerator. I was asked to come and review the programme and recommend a more optimal structure to increase the impact of the programme in terms of empowering Black-owned businesses. It seemed like a great way to transition out of Endeavor, while allowing me to get to know another country that I have always been fascinated by. It hasn’t disappointed at all, and I feel I am in the place where I am meant to be at this time in my life.

5. What are your main focuses?

What we are looking to do is to ensure Endeavor plays a key role in the economic transformation of South Africa. Endeavor has started in this space way before most of the other players that have set up with the objective of adhering to the BEE laws. Our approach is to look beyond the letter of the law, and ensure we are adding value and impacting positive change. We would like to see, via our programme, more black-founded businesses scale up and reach a point where they are able to join the Endeavor Global network. While I am here, I am also looking to immerse myself in the South African culture, see as much of what I can of this magical country and really make the most of this opportunity.

6. What have you learnt about Endeavor and the team since you have started?

Endeavor South Africa has a special team. It is a very hard working team and they are all focused on maximising value to all Endeavor stakeholders, especially the entrepreneurs. I have been impressed by the dedication and the heart everyone puts into their role at Endeavor. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone.

7. Would you recommend a career at Endeavor and why?

Definitely! Where else would someone learn as much as one does at Endeavor, or meet as many amazing people. The Endeavor team is exposed to all industries and all stages of companies, learning about how businesses function and how they scale. We get to be inspired by the grit and determination of our entrepreneurs on a daily basis. We learn what it means to give-back to society from our amazing group of mentors and board members who donate their time to support our entrepreneurs, (and money in the case of our board). We work with an amazing group of peers both at the local office level and the global level, where the team gets to learn and share best practices and meet with their peers across the 28 countries that Endeavor operates in.

Future |

8. What is next?

For now, I am making the most of being in South Africa and look to add as much value to the team while I am here. After that, I don’t know, and don’t feel the need to know at this time….exploring the unknown is a great way to grow!