Reid Hoffman Awards The First South African Technology Entrepreneur Prestigious Global Accolade

Over the weekend, 32-year-old Melvyn Lubega, an Endeavor Entrepreneur who co-founded technology unicorn Go1, made history by becoming the first African to be awarded Endeavor’s most prestigious accolade, The Lindas. Melvyn is also one of just three Entrepreneurs to be awarded this coveted title in 2021 and is in excellent company, with other awardees  Sergio Furo (Creditas), founder of the largest fintech in Brazil; and Achmad Zaky (Bukalapak), who has transformed the e-commerce market in Indonesia. The award is decided by a world-class Selection Panel including none other than Endeavor’s Global Board Member, Reid Hoffman (co-founder & chair of LinkedIn, ex Paypal mafia) as well as leading global Tech Entrepreneurs and Venture Capital minds alike, namely Edgar Bronfman, Jr. Accretive LLC General Partner; Jason Green Emergence Capital Partners Founder & General Partner; William E. Ford, General Atlantic CEO; Javier Olivan, Facebook VP and Linda Rottenberg, co-founder & CEO of Endeavor amongst others – this is a big deal!

The Endeavor Annual award recognizes and celebrates entrepreneurs in Endeavor’s network who most embody the Endeavor spirit of dreaming big, scaling up, and paying it forward. They are leaders who personify a “Going Big” ethos through job and wealth creation for their economies; bring life to Endeavor’s “Of, By and For Entrepreneurs” philosophy by re-investing in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; and foster a global entrepreneurial community based on mutual trust and respect.

Each year, hundreds of nominations are received around the globe, from the 2300 high-growth Endeavor Entrepreneurs, who themselves have already been selected (in a two-stage selection program that can take anywhere up to two years) out of thousands of high growth entrepreneurs around the world, who apply to join Endeavor Selection program and of whom only 30-50 are added to the network each year. To then be selected out of this already funneled and exceptionally high performing cohort of entrepreneurs, and win, again, is a big deal!

When Melvyn and his co-founders created Go1 in college, he knew they were onto something, but he had no idea the scale of the impact he would have on the world. And that in 2021, six years after launch, they would have built the world’s largest curated e-learning library serving over 4 million people a year across 30 markets and 1000’s of organizations – to a point now where someone somewhere in the world is completing a course on Go1 every 1.3 seconds!

And it is easy to see why Melvyn won – he truly ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to embodying what it means to be an Endeavor Entrepreneur: dreaming big, scaling up and paying it forward. Earlier this year, just 6 years after launching the company, Go1 became a unicorn, raising $200m in a deal lead by Softbank. At the same time of scaling up, Melvyn paid his success forward by joining the Endeavor SA board, not only donating his money, but his time, insights, and voice, to an organisation hell-bent on improving economic prosperity and employment, a matter close to his heart and especially in South Africa where youth unemployment at 40% to 50%. And not only is he actively helping at the coal face of entrepreneurship, but is also engaged with policymakers at the top end, most recently being appointed by the Minister as an advisor to SA’s National Department of Science and Innovation focused on bolstering the High-Impact Innovation & Entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Well done Melvyn and thank you for your immense contribution to building the ecosystem in South Africa and beyond! Your energy is boundless, and you are a true inspiration, paving the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs to follow.

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