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Global Trade

Get the skinny on how you can start an international business in college.

This story appears in the February 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You're aching to start a business in college-and you're already thinking global. If you want a company with an international presence, listen to the experts: It's going to take serious research and planning. "No two nations or international market opportunities are the same," says Sherry Hoskinson, associate director of the Karl Eller Center/ McGuire Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She notes that students starting international businesses face the typical startup challenges as well as issues concerning taxes, trade law, currency conversion, language translation and cultural understanding (just to name a few).

Lin Miao and Blake Liguori are familiar with those challenges. Miao and Liguori, both 19-year-old sophomores at Babson College in Babson Park, Massachusetts, decided to go global when they officially launched, an online emporium of posters that sell for about $7, in July 2005. They then opened an eBay Store for added exposure. While marketing the low-cost décor to their fellow U.S. dormitory dwellers, they wanted to sell to young people in the United Kingdom as well. "[We thought], If this works so well in the U.S., why can't we do this internationally?" says Miao. In fact, eBay users often asked the pair if they would ship internationally to places like Canada, the UK and other European countries.

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