Exceptional, January - June 2015
Welcome to the online version of our award winning Exceptional magazine.
The entrepreneurs we interview for Exceptional tend to fall into two categories.
First, there are those, usually in their twenties or thirties, who are running a company they founded themselves, having spotted a gap in the market for an innovative product or service.
The second group, who tend to be older and more experienced, are managing established companies and using their expertise to respond to the ever-changing business environment.
But at whatever stage of their journey, these entrepreneurs all face the same challenge: how to stimulate growth. In this issue, we hear from entrepreneurs from both categories.
Will Dean founded Tough Mudder just five years ago, yet more than 1.5 million people have already completed its extreme obstacle races. Dean comments: “As you get larger, people tend to get more conservative. Encouraging people to push boundaries can get harder, and you have to set the right tone from the top.”
Alexander Galitsky spent a decade as an entrepreneur, founding and selling five successful companies. Now, as founder of Almaz Capital, he has made the transition from investee to investor, providing capital to new high-tech companies from Russia and Eastern Europe to help them make the leap into the global marketplace.
Muhammad Yunus, the subject of our cover profile, also provides finance to fledgling businesses, but his focus is on those at the bottom of the economic ladder. Four decades ago, he started a modest money-lending program in Bangladesh, in the process inventing the concept of microfinance that has become a global force for good.
Successful entrepreneurs effect change by stimulating growth.
Moving on to one of the world’s most iconic brands, we also hear from Chip Bergh, CEO and President of Levi Strauss & Co. The company was founded in 1853, but the need for growth is still strong. In the 1990s, sales started to slump, falling victim, in part, to the rise of premium denim brands. Bergh, who was brought on board in 2011, says: “The opportunity to turn the company around and make it great again was just too good to pass up.”
The success of these and other entrepreneurs featured in this issue has enabled them to effect change by stimulating growth. In times of continued economic uncertainty, it is these entrepreneurs and the generations riding in behind them that hold the key to solving hard-hitting global problems such as youth unemployment. To that end, we look at the impact young entrepreneurs can have on the economy.