A few months ago, we decided that the feature section of this issue would be devoted to just one topic: global entrepreneurship. Partly this came about because we kept running into entrepreneurs who are doing business abroad, like Howard Dahl, who's been selling farm equipment in Russia and Ukraine for the past 16 years (his story appears here), and partly because Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat continues to be on The New York Times bestseller list--week after week after week. Apparently, a lot of Americans would just as soon curl up with a book about globalism as they would with one about murder and mayhem.

What's true of reading Americans is probably doubly true for enterprising Americans like Inc. readers. At Inc.'s editorial offices we have an image of our readers as smart, adventurous, hard-working, clever, and fun--perfect candidates for venturing abroad, or at least thinking about it. After surveying some of our readers (members of our Inc. Inner Circle and past Inc. 500 honorees) we discovered that yes, indeed, American entrepreneurs are taking their businesses on the road--to Asia, Europe, even Antarctica. The reasons they cite for going global, such as the opportunities presented by growing foreign markets and the desire to get ahead of the competition, are as varied and interesting as the industries they're in.

To put together this special section we turned first to those who know the subject best: American entrepreneurs who've found success outside the borders of the U.S. Then we asked some experts, analysts, financial types, and reporters to weigh in. We hope you'll enjoy their stories and learn as much from them as we have.

Jane Berentson