Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Lessons from AQ’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs

Reading Time: < 1 minuteOur AQ Top 5 traveled different routes to success, but they do share some experiences in common. Here are just a few of the things we learned.
Reading Time: < 1 minute

This article is adapted from our AQ Top 5 feature on young Latin American entrepreneurs. To see the full list, click here.

Tough countries are great teachers.
Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba aren’t easy business environments — but they teach entrepreneurs how to adapt quickly to obstacles. The problem is that some startups then have to leave in order to truly thrive.

Foreign travel inspires.
Venturing abroad can be a source of new ideas — especially in a region where domestic markets are rarely big enough to provide scale.

Embrace the underserved.
Entrepreneurs who make people’s lives better are getting the attention they deserve, especially as the region’s middle classes continue to grow. Given a choice, consumers will often opt to support an idea with a social return.

Nobody does it alone.
Who you know matters when doing business anywhere, but for Latin American entrepreneurs, personal networks are essential. Launching a new idea is grueling, but relying on the talent and expertise of friends and colleagues can lighten the load.

There is such a thing as home-field advantage.
You can’t fully understand what clients in Mexico City or Bogotá want just by reading a book or staying the weekend. Local knowledge — the kind that comes from a lifetime of experience — provides a built-in head start; but convincing foreign investors of its value can be a challenge.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
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