Photo | Steven Zwerink

The crisis and the difficulties of finding work, or seeing a business idea succeed in their home country, has led many entrepreneurs to try their luck far from home. We are talking about all of the young people that want to create their future in a new place — and while most choose to go to places like Berlin, Paris, Silicon Valley or Barcelona, some prefer to try more exotic locations.

They are called, among other things, expat entrepreneurs — although many of them have been travelling all their lives. These people all have something in common: they are looking for new and different experiences outside of their home countries, or are accompanying their relatives or spouses living abroad. These are people who know that if the place where you are born has not given you a chance, then you will have to look elsewhere.

Asia is one of the primary destinations for expat entrepreneurs, but South America and North Africa have also become popular. These are places that, though they may be less technologically developed, have a touch of distinction, and the digital sector is less crowded. Some are developing countries, so the costs for starting a business are lower, as are rent and food costs. Despite this, the Internet connection is good (an essential feature, because most of these expat startups are web-based or mobile).

These places also offer the new entrepreneur the opportunity to get in touch with a lost paradise, where they can relax and come into contact with new ideas — knowing that their idea, too, can be successful. But it’s much more than just a trip. In fact, in most of these cases, its a constant change that transports them from one place to another world with their business in their backpack.


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This is, for example, what happened in the case of the “Startup Diaries”. It’s author, a German named Fabián Dittrich, has lived in Mali, Jamaica, Turkey, and Thailand (among other places). He has traversed Africa in a Mercedes, and he now is crossing Latin America in search of a better future for himself and his current project. Adrianna Tan is another example. She is an entrepreneur working out of Singapore, where she has been promoting two projects: the Gyanada Foundation, which helps girls in Singapore and India to attend private schools, and Culture Kitchen, which unites lovers of cooking from around the world.

Even though it might seem strange, the way of life for these entrepreneurs ends up being cheaper than staying in their home countries and waiting for a stroke of luck. Dittrich has started to earn an average of 1,700 euros per month. And at the end of the day, companies are looking for new and different ideas — which can be much more fun to find in Singapore than in Silicon Valley.

Would you dare to venture to a new, unknown place to start a business? Don’t worry, there are those who have done it before you and can help you adjust to the experience. For example, there’s Aline Mayard, a French entrepreneur who founded The Blue House in the middle of the Moroccan desert (in Taghazout). It is a project that provides lodging, food and experiences to those that have decided to try their luck in an Arabic country. There, in a small village with views of the sea, far from the hustle and bustle of the big city, entrepreneurs share experiences, business, and create startups while enjoying a healthy lifestyle.

Ready to launch your startup far from home?