Atsumasa Tochisako, 55
Atsumasa Tochisako saw the poverty in Latin America firsthand when he was stationed there for the Bank of Tokyo from 1979 to 1989 in a variety of positions. So in 2003 he decided to attack poverty with the tools he knew well: banking. Tochisako started Microfinance International as a way to pull poor Latin American immigrants, who send some $69 billion back to their native homes annually, into the world's financial system. MFI markets its remittance services, check cashing, microloans, and other services to people in the U.S., helping them build financial knowledge and a credit history. Right now MFI operates 10 microfinance service centers in the mid-Atlantic region with plans to expand into California and Texas. And Tochsako, who was named an Ashoka Global Fellow in 2007, is also pushing to serve immigrants from many regions in the world, including Africa. So far the 80-employee operation has served about 70,000 immigrants living in the U.S. Last year, the firm generated $9.7 million in sales from a variety of revenue streams, including licensing and processing fees charged to institutions that use the company's remittance system.