The post-recession period in the United States is seeing substantial shifts in small businesses overall, with a marked increase in the number of startups and new businesses founded by immigrant entrepreneurs. Although all the numbers aren’t in, it’s estimated that immigrants launched at least 170,000 new companies last year, at a rate that’s nearly doubled since 1998. And it’s important to keep in mind that metrics surrounding businesses launched by undocumented workers are unknown.

Recent studies have indicated that immigrant entrepreneurs are twice as likely to start up a business or create a new firm than those born in the United States, with immigrants being credited with creating 28 percent of all new firms last year. This figure has doubled since the 1990s, when it was estimated that 14 percent of new entrepreneurs were immigrants. Of all major immigrant groups, Hispanics (who make up more than half of the United State’s foreign born population) are building and launching new businesses the fastest, at a rate that actually exceeds their population growth nationwide.

Thus, it’s not surprising that many experts are crediting immigrant entrepreneurs with playing a key role in the country’s economic recovery from the recent recession. This was outlined in a study by the National Venture Capital Association (that detailed and analyzed the contributions that immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals are making to overall job creation and innovation in the U.S.), which highlights the success immigrants have had in starting and growing companies, particularly in the technology field but elsewhere as well. This trend is likewise reflected in legislation introduced into the Senate last week, Startup Act 2.0: a bill designed to support American companies in hiring immigrant workers while bringing foreign students to American universities and providing incentives to immigrants to start successful companies and create jobs in the U.S.


Anderson, Stuart (National Foundation for American Policy), and Platzer, Michaela (Content First LLC). “American Made: The Impact of Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Professionals on U.S. Competitiveness.” National Venture Capital Association. 2012. (5/28/12.)

Harrison, J.D. “Senators Beckon Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Workers with Startup Act 2.0.” The Washington Post. 5/23/12. (5/29/12.)

Pagliery, Jose. “On the Rise: Immigrant Entrepreneurs.” CNNMoney. 5/8/12. (5/28/12.)

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