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  • Positive Influence of Foreign-born Entrepreneurs

    November 20th, 2006 No comments

    A recent study reveals that many Immigrant entrepreneurs have had a deep impact on company establishment, improvement and increasing the market value of companies in the United States.

    The study found that since 1990, immigrants have started 1 in 4 (25 percent) U.S. public companies that were venture-backed, representing a market capitalization of more than $500 Billion. Moreover, a survey of today’s private, venture-backed start-up companies in the U.S. estimated that 47 percent have immigrant founders. However, the study also found that two-thirds of the immigrant founders surveyed believe that current U.S. immigration policy holds back the ability of future foreign-born entrepreneurs to start American companies because of harsh US immigration laws.

    The study is: “American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness.” The study was authored by Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy and Michaela Platzer of Content First, LLC and commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) as part of its MAGNET USA initiative (Maximizing America’s Growth for the Nation’s Entrepreneurs and Technologists).

    “A key lesson of the study is the importance of maintaining a more open, legal immigration system,” said Stuart Anderson, co-author of the report. “Few of these impressive immigrant entrepreneurs could have started a company immediately upon arriving in the U.S. – many were just children, international students or H-1B professionals – but it’s clear that America helped shape them into entrepreneurs as much as they have helped shape America.”

    Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! came to this country from Taiwan at the age of ten and went on to Stanford University where he and David Filo developed the concept for the world’s largest global online network, now headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

    “Yahoo! would not be an American company today if the United States had not welcomed my family and me almost thirty years ago,” said Mr. Yang. “We must do all that we can to ensure that the door is open for the next generation of top entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists from around the world to come to the U.S. and thrive. Whether they arrive as children, students, or professionals, we want the best and the brightest here. Our immigration policy should reflect that or these talents will go elsewhere.”

    While immigrant founders of U.S. public companies come from across the globe, the most common countries of origin are India, Israel and Taiwan (in this order). The study also found that immigrant founders are responsible for building a high percentage of the most innovative American companies, with 87 percent operating in sectors such as high-tech manufacturing, information technology and life sciences.

    Immigrant entrepreneurs have an even stronger presence among today’s start up companies. More than 340 venture backed start-ups were surveyed nearly half were founded by one or more immigrants. The trend is likely to continue in coming years as almost two-thirds of these immigrant entrepreneurs intend to start or have already started additional businesses in the United States. So the conclusion is that immigrants are critical to the start up economy.

    “As a nation of immigrants, the United States has harnessed the intellectual power of the best and brightest minds from abroad for 300 years. Foreign-born entrepreneurs have contributed significantly to our economy and our global leadership in innovation. It’s time that we recognize their achievements,” said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. “There is no question that the U.S. must remain a magnet of foreign-born talent if we are to maintain our competitive edge. However, current quotas on highly-skilled immigrants are insufficient and these great minds are beginning to look elsewhere to build their businesses,” Heesen added.

    In order to continue to develop the US economy, the government must allow more young talented minds to immigrate to the US and this will add many more jobs for Americans.

    These talented immigrants, the study shows, form Venture Capital backed start-up companies and create thousands of new jobs for young Americans.

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