But today the game has changed: the world’s impoverished economies have become the world’s emerging economies, with growth rates already outpacing the U.S.—and a slew of lingering socioeconomic problems.
This promise of growth and challenge has created alluring opportunities—not only for investors, but also for U.S. social entrepreneurs. Emerging economies like India, China and African nations still face pressing issues like water scarcity and lack of electricity and access to credit. But they also present entrepreneurial problem-solvers with a chance at creating a business and introducing a solution in an unknown market.
“The market for start-ups in many sectors—especially technology—is simply more attractive abroad,” says Steven Koltai of consulting firm Koltai and Company, which works to foster entrepreneurship abroad. “One example is Africa, which accounts for 70% of today’s mobile payments—with 40% of those happening in Kenya.”
Here, we bring you three real stories of social entrepreneurs who are reaping the rewards—tangible and intangible—of launching in lands far away.