Contributions of Immigrant Entrepreneurs

computer screen with statistics on itI recently came across a very insightful publication on immigration which provides statistics on companies that had at least one immigrant founder, took venture capital money and eventually became publicly traded.  The publication, American Made 2.0, How Immigrant Entrepreneurs Continue to Contribute to the U.S. Economy was written by Stuart Anderson, Executive Director of The National Foundation for American Policy.  The study was commissioned by the National Venture Capital Association of America.

The study is intriguing to me because it lays out empirical data that shows how important business immigration is to the United States economy.

Some interesting quotes from the study:

  1. “Between 2006 and 2012 immigrants started 33 percent of U.S. venture-backed companies that became publicly traded.”
  2. “Venture-backed publicly traded immigrant-founded companies have a total market capitalization of $900 billion (as of June 2013).”
  3. “Venture-backed public companies with at least one immigrant founder and the largest market capitalization include Google, Intel, Facebook, LinkedIn, SanDisk, Altera and Tesla Motors.”
  4. “Immigrant-founded venture-backed public companies employ approximately 600,000 people worldwide, the majority in the United States.”
  5. “Sixty-one percent of the privately held immigrant-founded companies held at least one patent.”
  6. “Forty percent of the immigrant founders in the survey entered the United States as employment-sponsored immigrants, 38 percent as international students, 13 percent as family-sponsored immigrants, and the rest in another category.”

One of my many takeaways from this study is that immigrants who enter the United States on employment and student visas are extremely ambitious and create a lot of wealth and employment for this country.  Based on the empirical data in the study it seems that we should be encouraging employment-based immigration to the United States.  It also appears that we should encourage students who come to the United States to study to continue to remain in the country on employment-based visas after their studies have been completed.  Unfortunately, the current immigration system in the United States is broken.  The ability to obtain employment-based visas is very difficult.  For a very real example of this you can read my previous posts on the H-1B season.  This year there were over 172,000 applications for 85,000 H-1B visas on the first day that USCIS was accepting H-1B applications.

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