Quit your job to start up a business in a faraway land - it’s a reality for some and a pipe dream for others. And still others have found that traveling and innovating go hand-in-hand. Learn more about the young entrepreneurs doing business outside of their home country.
While it’s not a proven fact, many of today’s successful business leaders believe travelling plays an important developmental role in becoming a better entrepreneur. From learning how to communicate in different ways to experiencing new cultures, the entire process of travelling is believed to have profound affects on more than just your personal life.
While no two travel experiences are the same, the common principles surrounding them likely are. It’s less about the actual places you go and more about how you integrate the experiences you’ve had back into your everyday life. Those who can learn from the situations they’ve been in are more likely to grow as professionals and entrepreneurs in the future.
Check out the stories of entrepreneurs in the Ye! community who have established social enterprises outside their home country following their travels:
Robin F. Baker | 29
Robin is a first-generation Liberian-American. Her parents came to America in the late 80s. She was born in Providence, but raised primarily in North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2011. In 2013 she had an “aha moment” whilst at her clinical rotation in Costa Rica during the final year of her occupational therapy program at Howard University. In Costa Rica, she realized that people throughout the world are plagued with similar medical conditions, however, access to essential medical services, such as rehabilitation, is minimal or non-existent.
After seeing this firsthand, Robin founded GoTHERAPY in Ghana. Through collaboration and community outreach, GoTHERAPY's mission is to improve access to and quality of occupational, physical and speech therapy services for persons living with disabilities and chronic health conditions in West Africa. Read more about Robin’s story here!
Seul Ku | 27
While teaching in Uganda in 2010, American college student Seul Ku noticed that both she and her host family were getting sick a lot from drinking the water. She kept thinking about the problem even after she was back at Harvard University. It was there that she designed a ceramic water filter and with her fellow students.
During her junior year, Seul took a year off to pursue the idea in earnest. Seul’s plan was innovative in that she planned to fabricate the water filters in Uganda, sourcing the needed clay and sawdust locally. Now, five years after that exploratory visit, Ku and co-founder John Kye have a full-fledged water filter factory near Kampala. Their organization, SPOUTS of Water, has grown to more than 40 staffers and has distributed about 14,000 ceramic filters, which remove 99.9 percent of bacteria. Check out Seul’s profile here!
Judith Joan Walker | 29
Judith is a Dutch social entrepreneur and no stranger to travel. She lived in a number of major cities before she started ACE with her family in 2014. Judith is now the Director of Operations for African Clean Energy (ACE), a company that manufactures clean energy products including the ACE 1 Solar Biomass Cookstove.
At ACE, she is focused on new techniques and ensuring best practices for distributing technologies that put the focus on excellent customer service and accurate data collection to create replicable methods of distribution to underserved populations. Have a look at Judith’s profile, here!
Molly Burke | 30
Molly has an entrepreneurial spirit, building social enterprises since her University days. She based her business in Gulu, Uganda, after a long journey around Africa with a Ugandan classmate. Their organization BAP- Bicycles Against Poverty uses a microfinance model to distribute bikes in rural Uganda, turning what would be a three-hour walk into a swift spin to health clinics, markets, and schools.
In 2013 Molly was recognized as NatGeo Traveller of the Year. Discover more about Molly here!
Photo credit: Romaeasy