Sometimes, as we work diligently with our heads down, it’s easy to forget that the entrepreneurial sphere extends beyond American waters. But startups are not only growing abroad, they’re thriving.
That’s why we asked a panel of 14 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) where they see great opportunities beyond the U.S.
Q. What is one country (besides the U.S.) where you see great opportunity for startups to succeed and why?
Their best answers are below:
Israel is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity. There is a lot of technology and business talent in the country, and despite the small market, Israel’s proximity to Europe, Asia, and Africa as well as the high proficiency of English speaking in the country, makes it easy for startups to scale and succeed. Healthy capital markets and strong M&A activity in Israel help, too.
– Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
Hardware startups might look to China to get things off the ground. In Shenzhen, there is a hardware accelerator called HAXLR8R that helps startups with mentorship and funding. Manufacturing a physical product can be really risky. With so much of the world’s manufacturing being sent to China anyway, it would be ideal to start a business in close proximity to where its products will be built.
– Ronnie Castro, Porch
3. St. Lucia
Entrepreneurs should look for locations that have an eager, educated, and able workforce. One example is St. Lucia. Due to high unemployment, it’s a good place to hire people that speak English. St. Lucia is also small enough that a business can establish contacts with local government and receive support. Another benefit is the cost of living is relatively low.
– Ben Rubenstein, Yodle
4. New Zealand
You can start a business in just one day in New Zealand because there are few restrictions. There’s also easy access to credit to fund your business, and its business environment is very user-friendly. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
During the past few years, U.S. companies have begun building up operations in Serbia. The country is rapidly becoming a European center for application development, IT outsourcing, and programming. There are many reasons for this, including Serbia’s well-educated and multilingual workforce, competitive wage structure, and attractive incentives for foreign IT investment.
– Michael Costigan, Youth Leadership Specialist
If you’re all about online business and employee happiness, Barcelona is a great bet because it’s sunny and beautiful, cosmopolitan, has a large English-speaking community, offers up to three-times lower in development salaries than major U.S. cities, and has a growing startups ecosystem.
– Pablo Villalba, 8fit
Australia is a great market for startups to succeed. The country not only has a young and educated workforce but also attracts highly qualified immigrants. It is very close to Asian markets, which tend to prefer successful brands from Australia. – Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
Taiwan is a westernized, democratic, stable, Chinese-speaking country that is friendly to business. Laws are enforced, which is always a risk to foreign businesses in China. The population also provides a hiring pool of smart, educated, creative, and hardworking people. It is a great jumping-off point for expansion on the Chinese mainland. The quality of life is also excellent. – Mitch Gordon, Go Overseas
10. South Africa
South Africa continues to be a launching point for all of Africa. There are tremendous opportunities in Africa. Growth in this continent remains some of the highest in the world, and technology is opening up doors that opportunity previously had not.
– Andrew Howlett, Rain
American tech startups often fail to tailor their solutions to a Canadian audience. Entrepreneurs who take existing technology and slightly alter it to make it relevant to the Canadian market can quickly take market share by borrowing a proven business model from companies entirely focused on the U.S. market.
– Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors
Africa is now one of the world’s fastest growing regions. Specifically Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest growing economies with an annual average GDP growth rate of 8.1 percent, is logging impressive economic performance. A growing number of technology hubs, accelerators, and co-working spaces are springing up to connect bloggers, developers, and the tech community together. – Andrew Fayad, eLearning Mind
With its massive population, growing middle class, and passionate entrepreneurs, Indonesia presents an excellent opportunity for technology startups. Indonesians are one of the largest adopters of new social media technology. They are applying and adapting tech solutions for their rising middle class, and they are quickly innovating new ideas for development in their country.
– Ty Morse, Songwhale
What’s interesting about India is that unlike the U.S. market, its infrastructure is still being built out. With that, great potential opportunities arise for entrepreneurs and multinationals alike. – Rameet Chawla, Fueled