Immigrants have long played a pivotal role in American innovation, business and entrepreneurship. Not only have immigrants contributed to some of the United States’ most profound innovations and to the founding of some of the largest business ventures, immigrant entrepreneurs comprise critical components of small business communities throughout the country. Indeed, the research on the benefits immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs bring to the United States is clear. For example, from 1995 to 2005 immigrants helped found 25 percent of all high-tech companies, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and representing a market capitalization of several hundred billion dollars. Furthermore, immigrants are more than twice as likely start a business in the U.S. as the native-born population. In 2011, immigrants started 28 percent of all new business, while only accounting for 13 percent of the U.S. population. Immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs are a source of strength, interjecting new life into communities. They not only help stem population loss, but also inject new vitality into local economies, opening new businesses, and creating new jobs and a new consumer base. As the understanding of the many benefits immigrant entrepreneurs bring increases, a growing list of cities and towns across the American heartland are implementing various “welcoming” strategies to encourage immigrant settlement, business startups, and job creation, giving their communities an economic and demographic boost.
Why are immigrants seemingly more entrepreneurial than the native-born population? Is the act of migrating in itself an entrepreneurial act that serves to channel more entrepreneurial individuals to the U.S.?
How and where are immigrant entrepreneurs revitalizing communities?
How can entrepreneurship in local places be better encouraged?