Thirty ideas from people under 30: The Entrepreneurs

The Monitor interviewed young artisans, politicians, educators, entrepreneurs and faith leaders. And they have trenchant suggestions on how to improve the world. We'll serve this smorgasbord in bite-size servings of 3 to 7 profiles per day. Today's lineup of entrepreneurs includes a Mexican rain man, an Indian bike rental exec, and a Japanese web business recruiter.

Ankur Jain: Solution broker

Courtesy of INC. Magazine
Ankur Jain, founder of Kairos Society, which funds undergraduate entrepreneurs from around the world to address global issues.

Forget traditional diplomacy and geo-political gamesmanship. What the world needs more of is business-to-business links across borders and cultures. This will help societies solve problems – from poverty to pollution.

So says Ankur Jain, the 21-year-old founder of the Kairos Society, an organization of young entrepreneurs who work to create solutions to global challenges. Every year Kairos organizes a global summit that brings top, young innovators around the world together with government and public-sector decisionmakers. The summit is a way to provide guidance, access, and insight to help turn "crazy ideas" into global solutions.

Mr. Jain believes the innovative thinking that entrepreneurship brings to the business world can be harnessed to shape a new generation of diplomacy. "Young entrepreneurs in [my] generation are more globally interconnected than any other [generation]," he says. "We can harness these relations across borders to create the most powerful bond, which is an economic bond."

He thinks many people in government harbor preconceived notions about the motivations of other countries, citing the idea that there can only be one superpower and it has to be the US. But Jain says his generation believes more in solutions than strategic rivalries. He recently started a new venture, Panjia, which works to implement this idea of "privatized diplomacy" by helping small, proven companies from overseas launch in the US.

"If we can change the mentality that it's the US versus China or Brazil," says Jain, "then we will have collaborative economic growth, which is powerful."

– Whitney Eulich

Next: Raj Janagam: Green pedal-pusher

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