Eriko Yamaguchi

Eriko Yamaguchi

Japan
Age: 28
Company: Motherhouse Co.

While studying at graduate school in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Yamaguchi realized that even small children were forced to work for a pittance. Eventually she returned home with 160 jute bags made by local people from her own design. These bags, around $80 each, quickly sold out, and Yamaguchi decided to launch Motherhouse. Nowadays she has six directly managed stores in Tokyo Osaka and Fukuoka and also sells at some major department stores. Sales have gone up to more than $1.5 million from $30,000 a year ago. Yet Yamaguchi doesn't plan to settle down; she is now in Nepal to start a new business.