The Next Big Thing

someone who wants to pour knowledge in them.”

Small Business

Entrepreneur, your business is killer. Revenues are steady and your client base is loyal. Have you ever thought about expanding your enterprise to, say, Gambia? If not, Eric Sheppard says you might be missing out.
“The bad news is, there aren’t a lot of African American businesses that are successful [in Africa],” says Sheppard, president of Diversity Restoration Solutions Inc., an international trade development firm that specializes in bridging U.S. businesses and organizations with their African counterparts. “But the good news is we should be able to take advantage of that potential because it’s not saturated.”

Opportunities are bountiful around the world and if black entrepreneurs are smart, insiders say, they’ll look beyond their backyards to develop winning relationships, tap expertise, create jobs, and grow their businesses. The trend of doing business globally is growing as developing countries become more industrialized. According to a recent ChinaDaily.com report, in just the first six months of 2008, Chinese companies invested a whopping $305 million in Africa.

Going international is where the growth appears to be and you should always go toward the growth,” says Lorron James, marketing sales manager of James Group International (No. 78 on the be industrial/service 100 list with $54.5 million in sales), a Detroit-based provider of global supply chain management services with client relationships in 16 countries, including South Africa, China, and Venezuela. Entrepreneurs are finding opportunities in manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, technology, and infrastructure. The question to ask is what need does a country have that your business can fulfill? Do extensive research. Then, take a chance.

Investing

The way Wall Street has been performing lately you might be hesitant to even look at your investment portfolio let alone consider dipping more of your hard-earned dollars into the international market. But experts say global is the way to go.

“Healthcare companies often have strong cash flow and strong balance sheets, and healthcare tends to grow through thick and thin,” says F. Barry Nelson, senior vice president of New York-based Advent Capital Management L.L.C. (No. 5 on the be asset managers list in $4.3 billion assets under management), which opened a location in London two years ago and launched the Advent/Claymore Global Convertible Securities and Income Fund (AGC). “A big area is the growing use of generic drugs, which are manufactured around the world.” In particular, Nelson highlights Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA), the world’s largest generic drug company, based in Israel. “It’s essentially a global investment, of course. But it’s not like buying a restaurant chain in a foreign country. It’s big, its shares are liquid, and it’s traded actively on NASDAQ.”

Keep your eye on the following hotspots in 2009: Japan, Switzerland, Norway, China, and Brazil. Real estate may be a good investment in emerging markets. Look at serial entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson, chairman and CEO of RLJ Development L.L.C. (No. 5 on the be industrial/service 100 list with $704.3 million in sales), who’s building a four-star hotel resort in Liberia in 2009. Other industries to consider

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