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Supporting Entrepreneurs Through A Crisis

Leading a startup has always been challenging, even under the best conditions. With the current crisis and the sizable economic contractions in the first quarter of 2020, economic activity has temporarily reduced by 40–50%, producing damage on par with (if not slightly greater than) the Great Recession. Every day in a pandemic is unpredictable, and no leader can go through a crisis alone.

The pandemic was confirmed to have reached Malaysia in January 2020 and with just a blink of an eye, it is by far the most disruptive outbreak of diseases affecting the way we work and live. I remember the Malaysian government announcing a lockdown mid-March, leaving entrepreneurs with merely a day or two to navigate this period.

Just as anybody was worrying about their livelihood, entrepreneurs were worrying about the livelihood of their teams, and how everyone can weather this storm together. The same feeling resonated within the Endeavor team, with all us worrying about over 50 entrepreneurs simultaneously. The worry was justified, just as data pointed out how startups and scaleups are the engines of job creation behind each economy. Given Endeavor’s position in helping growth-stage organizations, internal research conducted by our global team has shown that while 20% are net beneficiaries of this crisis, 80% of our entrepreneurs expect to survive this crisis but with support, of which 25% of the 80% are now at risk.

Endeavor needed to step up, and as the Chinese phrase for ‘crisis’ is made up of the words ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’ — now was the time for Endeavor to step up, roll up its sleeves and help entrepreneurs when it mattered the most.

On Day 1 of Malaysia’s lockdown, we organized a Crisis Management & Business Continuity Planning webinar between a board member and over 80 entrepreneurs, helping entrepreneurs to set initial steps in navigating this crisis. Simultaneously, the Endeavor Selection & Growth team spoke to each entrepreneur individually to seek out key challenges, creating a ‘Crisis Management Plan’ for our entrepreneurs. What followed suit was a series of group mentoring sessions around strategy, cost and cash flow management, talent management and more, which were planned chronologically based on needs across the lockdown period.

In the spirit of sharing and making sure the challenges faced by our entrepreneurs are attended to immediately, we organized 11 group mentoring sessions. Some of the sessions include:

  • Business Continuity Planning

  • Crisis Management

  • Financial Management & Planning

  • Business Changes & Managing Financials

  • Fundraising & How To Negotiate With Investors

  • Managing Financials During A Crisis

  • B2B Sales Management

  • Retail Management

  • B2C Sales & Marketing

A big thank you to Endeavor network members Afzal Abdul Rahim (TIME dotCom), Mark Chang (JcbNext), Hann Liew (Jirnexu), Chari TVT (Duff & Phelps), Izkandar Bloy (General Atlantic), Mitul Lakhani (iMoney), Lim Chern Yuan (Yinson), Mac Chung Lynn (Nando’s Malaysia & Singapore), Prashant Kumar (Entropia), and Gaurav Bhasin ( for offering your time & help to entrepreneurs during this crisis.

The pandemic has shaken the world in the most unpredictable way and it is time for Endeavor as a community builder to support entrepreneurs during these tough times. With a few weeks of firefighting and remote work under our belts, we realized that there were more entrepreneurs who needed help. We didn’t want to stop exclusively at our network, and decided to open up our knowledge base, network, and resources to the wider ecosystem of entrepreneurs. We saw how entrepreneurs needed to maintain a stronger mental state, build an online presence, and to source for financing options. Among the few initiatives were:

  • Webinar 1: Crisis Management

  • Webinar 2: From Offline To Online Sales: How To Reprioritise Your Sales Strategy?

  • Webinar 3: Financing Options Available For SMEs

  • Sharing best practices form closed mentoring sessions into our blog, and a shared global resource here.

  • Extraordinary Endeavor- A weekly series of podcasts in collaboration with BFM Radio addressing pressing questions from entrepreneurs. Some topics include Talent, Strategy, Sales, Fundraising and Marketing.

With constant public engagement, we received over 380 live attendees and 7,800 video views. Without Endeavor’s value proposition — its network of people, we wouldn’t be here today without our board members, mentors, entrepreneurs, and partners. As ecosystem builders, we wanted to give back to the larger ecosystem so we launched ‘Ask E Anything!’, a weekly 20-minute session for entrepreneurs to seek advice from Endeavor mentors or entrepreneurs on their challenges. Launched on the 24th of April, we run 6–8 sessions every week as any entrepreneur can book their slots here.

The Endeavor Malaysia team, boards and mentors around the world have never been more energized by our #EntrepreneurFirst mission, and we are all committed to helping however we can. The spirit of our core values — #EntrepreneurFirst, #NetworkOfTrust, #GoingBig, #PayingItForward, #OneEndeavor — have never been more relevant. While these initiatives were organized by Endeavor Malaysia, our entrepreneurs have also benefited from speaking to mentors of other Endeavor offices including Nick Nash (Asia Partners), Mark Yu (Seaoil Philippines), Pak Sylvano Damanik (Korn Ferry), Teruhide Sato (BEENOS and BEENEXT) and more.

Brought together by a common mission, we would like to thank all Endeavor offices in contributing their efforts in supporting our network of entrepreneurs. Together we shall support entrepreneurs in paving the path for a better tomorrow! #OneEndeavor #EndeavorAsiaPacific!


Endeavor is a global entrepreneur support organisation that spans across 37 markets. We help entrepreneurs grow and scale by providing them access to mentorship, talent, capital & markets. To entrepreneurs, we have launched ‘Ask E Anything!’, a weekly 20-minute session for entrepreneurs to seek advice from Endeavor mentors or entrepreneurs on their challenges during this crisis. To sign up, click here.

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