From Canada to
New Zealand, Inc. 500 companies are setting up shop. The percentages on this map show the extent to which Inc. 500 companies are active in specific regions. Note that nearly three-quarters of Inc. 500 companies sell products or services in Europe. That's more than even in Canada, traditionally the U.S.'s strongest trading partner. One surprise hot spot: Africa, where 24 percent of companies say they are active. Here's a sampling of what Inc. 500 companies are up to in every corner of the globe.
TEEING OFF IN ICELAND
There are only 17 18-hole golf courses for Iceland's 35,000 golfers. Combine that scarcity with Iceland's cold winter, and you have good news for Dancin' Dogg Golf (No. 358), which makes the OptiShot indoor golf simulator. Last winter, Dancin' Dogg's Icelandic distributor sold $60,000 worth of OptiShot products. South Korea, where Dancin' Dogg plans to sell next, may yield even better sales. South Korea has just 400 courses for its seven million golfers.
TAKING FLIGHT IN BRAZIL
Spectrum Aeromed (No. 433), which makes gear for helicopter and airplane ambulances, does about 80 percent of its business overseas. Spectrum sells on every continent, with some of its fastest growth in South America, where oil exploration has picked up in Brazil and elsewhere. The more drilling, the greater the need for air ambulances to transport injured workers from oil rigs to hospitals.
CALLING SOUTH AFRICA
Keeping retail costs in line can be a problem in countries like South Africa, where import duties run as high as 30 percent. To maintain competitive prices, the Rochester, New York–based LuxMobile Group (No. 234), which makes branded cell-phone covers, turns to less-costly materials and packaging. Three years after entering South Africa, LuxMobile sells the covers, which feature brands such as Ed Hardy and Baby Phat, in 350 stores throughout the country.
HIGH TECH IN OLD WORLD GERMANY
The European office of 3ality Digital (No. 378) is located in a renovated
18th-century Jesuit monastery, which 3ality lucked into when it acquired a German company in 2006. The building, the adjoining farm, and hundreds of acres of Black Forest were a draw, but 3ality founder Steve Schklair
says the staff of six programmers sold him on the deal. 3ality, which does 3-D imaging for film, worked on several upcoming movies, including The Amazing Spider-Man and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
AFGHANISTAN: OPERATION COBRA
Many employees at the environmental services company Polu Kai Services (No. 156) are veterans, including founder Sean P. Jensen. So when Polu Kai won a contract to survey a potential consulate building in Afghanistan last year, Jensen was ready. What he wasn't prepared for was the den of cobras his team found in the building during its two-month inspection.
CHINA, HERE WE COME
The Natural Baby Company (No. 457), maker of eco-friendly baby supplies, hopes to expand its Asian sales network with the addition of distributors in India and China. For now, a single Malaysian distributor handles all sales in Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
GEARING UP DOWN UNDER
Given that so much of Australia's landmass consists of the outback, it's little wonder that the off-road aluminum campers made by Livin' Lite Recreational Vehicles (No. 278) have found a market Down Under. In the past four years, the Wakarusa, Indiana–based company has shipped about 100 campers to its Sydney-based distributor. Transporting the campers to the other side of the world is no easy feat: A 40-foot shipping container can carry just two of them. On top of the high shipping costs, Livin' Lite charges a $1,500-per-camper premium to reconfigure its products for left-side driving.