The following expat entrepreneurs have shared their success stories in our book, Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs. There stories are listed, in brief, below. To read their success stories in full, please CLICK HERE.
Laura Baker, Ashley and Jason Bartner, Sarah Blais, Susanne Blomberg, Mary Kate Brown, Jill DiGiovanni, Mi Elfverson, Florian Eysler & Hans Au, Amanda Fisher, Val Gayes, Arianna Helm, Noriko Jazayeri, Vivienne McAlister-Geertz, Emmy McCarthy, Rob Meyer, Jeff Morrow, Helen Raggett, Scott Rifenbark, Mary Jane Roy, Sarah and Johnny Robinson, Elitsa Seymour, Seena Shanker, Sharon Tainsh & Marjolijn Hendriksen, Mark Thirwall, Stacey Shine & Morgan O’Hara, Lars Ulrik Thom and Simon Gjeroe, Jennifer Trew-Neal, Caterina Tzoridou, Stephanie Ward, Baoguang Zhai
Epicurspicy produces an all natural, powdered mix for frozen cocktails. While the concept is not new, Laura and her partners developed unique recipes and the packaging/design over a two year time period. The goal was to produce a high quality, authentic tasting frozen cocktail using natural ingredients that could be easily stored and prepared. They currently have six delicious flavors in the Epicurspicy cocktail collection: Margarita, Strawberry Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri, Mojito, Caipirinha and Caipiroska.
“I arrived in 2008 just as the world was beginning to enter the economic crisis. At that time, in Portugal there was a sense of reserved optimism and the sense that life was pretty good. About 3-4 years ago, the crisis hit the country hard and there is a noticeable difference in people’s behaviors and spending patterns. There is a lot less optimism and people are really struggling personally and professionally. I think the country now is both more and less conducive to being a small business owner. More conducive because so many people have been let go from their old employment and have the ability to invest through governmental programs in small businesses and the time to do it. Also, it is more conducive in the sense that there seems to be an increased sense of creativity and openness in Portugal. This creativity, to me, appears to be born out of necessity to survive the crisis. It reminds me of land after a terrible fire. After a short while, you start to see little green buds of plants that indicate regrowth/rebirth after the land has been scorched. I see so many small business that have closed in the past 3 years but I also see some incredibly creative new small business that are popping up each month.”
Ashley and Jason spent their honeymoon in Italy and fell in love (with Italy!). After returning to the States, they spent the next year and half planning how to return not as tourists but as business owners. In 2007, they opened La Tavola Marche, a 300 year-old farmhouse in the heart of Tuscany offering cooking classes, cultural activities and holiday accommodation. They combine searching for the best seasonal local ingredients, hands-on cooking classes, and the conviviality of the table to help you connect with the Italian people through their food and culture.
“We feel very proud to be continuing these traditional and regional Italian recipes. The younger generations of Italy are not as interested in the traditional foods so we’re really proud to carry on these traditions and make things in the old style. It goes onto that deeper level – we love sharing it with our guests, but we – as foreigners love being able to share the recipes with the people of the country we fell in love with.”
Sarah originally set up Positive Families in the UK in 2002 and she successfully relocated her business to the US in 2012 after she and her American husband relocated to Denver, Colorado. Positive Families offers workshops and coaching that supports Parents’ happiness and Family wellbeing. Interestingly, Sarah has found that “word of mouth” referrals are more forthcoming in the US and that there is more of an emphasis placed on higher level education and professional qualifications – something that she had prepared for before her relocation.
“When getting started in a new country do whatever it takes to connect with your passion even if it means volunteering or offering your services for free. Reconnecting with why you do what you do will help you to overcome any fear you may be experiencing.”
Susanne moved to the UK when her husband was offered a job and, while she was living in England, she embarked on a coaching training course. She found that bringing her own culture into her profession was attractive to the UK market. She previously ran an Import business in Canada importing childrens’ wear and also had a consulting business in Sweden which was started by Susanne’s husband. She took over the business when they relocated to the UK. Susanne repatriated in 2012 and continues to run her business in her home country.
“See what your own country can offer in support when setting up a business abroad. I joined the Swedish Chamber Of Commerce in London. They offered advice and a brilliant network – but also arranged seminars, networking events, lunches and more – where you could meet people from a higher level in the corporate world than I otherwise would do.”
Entrepreneurship just seems to be in Mary Kate’s blood, even while at Exeter University where she studied Arabic & Islamic studies she had a market stall selling fabrics and books that she had brought back from her travels. Mary Kate loves to buy and sell and her eye for finding the unique products that will eventually become best sellers is what has made Tai Tai a success in Beijing.
“When I returned to Beijing I found that the expat market had changed quite a lot in the seven years that I’d been gone. More expat women were working than had been before for example. But one thing remained the same and that was a desire for products that reflect traditional craftsmanship and skill sets which are still visible in countries across Asia but which are sometimes harder to find now that global chains abound and mass marketing of products risks taking the heart and soul away from some of these countries. The novelty value, the history, and the connection to the countries that these products originate from is what draws customers to Tai Tai and keeps them coming back.”