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Felipe Vergara, 40

After earning his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1999, Felipe Vergara took the traditional path and joined consulting firm McKinsey in New York as an associate consultant, working on strategy projects in the U.S. and Paris. But before long the Colombia native wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. Struck by the number of bright kids in Colombia who couldn't afford to attend college, he decided to shift gears. In 2002 Vergara co-founded Lumni, a new investment system that uses private capital to fund higher education. Lumni creates funds by raising money from groups like the Inter-American Development Bank, foundations, universities, and wealthy donors to help students in Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and the U.S. pay for college. Lumni earns revenue from fees based on creating and managing those funds. After graduating, students pay a fixed percentage of their income (never more than 15%) back to the organization for a set period of time. To date, 75 students who received assistance from the program have graduated from college. This year Vergara, who was named as an Ashoka Global Fellow in 2006, expects Lumni's funds to reach $8 million, allowing it to finance 1,000 students.