Small Business

Endeavor CEO: Start-Ups Can Help Greece

Robert Melstein, Development Producer
Image Source | Getty Images

As Greece works to restore its economy, business heavyweights including Reid Hoffman are making big bets on the struggling nation.

"I got a call from Greece, Greek business leaders," said Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs in emerging markets. The Greek leaders wanted to bring Endeavor's entrepreneurial model to their country.

"This is the perfect time. When economies turn down, entrepreneurs look up," says Rottenberg, who made the comments earlier Friday on CNBC's "Squawk Box." (Read more: Entrepreneurs Finding Silver Linings in Greece)

Endeavor's board includes LinkedIn Chairman Hoffman, First Solar CEO Michael Ahearn and former Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman, Jr.

Endeavor operates in 16 markets, and their entrepreneurs last year generated $5 billion in revenues and 200,000 jobs.

Entrepreneurship in Greece, Really?

"You've got to go where the problem is," Rottenberg says. "It's the best time for entrepreneurs in Greece," she said on "Squawk Box." "Chaos is your friend."

In fact, U.S. corporate history shows entrepreneurs emerge amid weak economies. More than half of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were founded in downturns, Rottenberg says. Notable examples include General Electric , Procter & Gamble and Microsoft .

(Read more: Why Fewer Americans Are Starting New Businesses)

Endeavor's funding includes backing from Bain & Company, Citigroup , Dell and Ernst & Young.

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