Q: For all sorts of reasons, the recent election was incredibly upsetting, but most of all for the immigrant bashing. I am the daughter of immigrants. My parents came here from Vietnam on a boat. They are hard working, dedicated, loving, and quite entrepreneurial. My dad’s business employs 15 people. What about immigrants like us? – Vicki
A. Most of us are the children of immigrants. Immigration is what made us great in the first place.
This is especially true when it comes to entrepreneurship. Sergy Brin, co-founder of Google, is an immigrant. Elon Musk of Tesla fame is an immigrant. Arianna Huffington is an immigrant. Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, is an immigrant. And the owner of the auto repair place down the street from you is likely also an immigrant.
By and large, immigrants are not only good — nay, great — citizens, they are powerful drivers of economic activity. According to a report for the National Foundation for American Policy, “among the billion dollar startup companies, immigrant founders have created an average of approximately 760 jobs per company in the United States.”
And yet, that immigrants are entrepreneurial is really no secret, but what remains too much of a secret is the extent of that entrepreneurial activity. It is both impressive and extensive.
.More than 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or their children
.More than half of America’s startup companies valued at more than $1 billion were started by immigrants
.Immigrants are twice as likely to start a new business as someone born here
According to the Kauffman Foundation, “immigrants have a disproportionate presence in the entrepreneurial community — i.e., immigrants make up a larger share of entrepreneurs than they make of the population.”
Why is that?
For starters, immigrants are risk-takers. Imagine leaving your home, your language, your friends, your family — your life — and starting over in a new country.
By Steve Strauss for USA TODAY
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