Monday, October 7, 2013

Immigration and Entrepreneurship

Teaching students about immigration by giving them a better understanding of the contributions of entrepeneurs and innovators throughout U.S. history gives students a better foundation of the economics of immigration and debunks many myths about immigrants not contributing to our economy.   Immigrants invent, they innovate, they open businesses and they create jobs.  In a blog post by the American Immigration Council they lay out the most recent findings and measure the impact of immigrant owned enterprises.
According to Entrepeneur Magazine a new survey offers more evidence of immigrants' contributions to the U.S. entrepreneur ecosystem and overall economic health. A report from bipartisan immigration reform group the Partnership for a New American Economy found that immigrants are two times as likely to start a business than their native-born peers. Also, immigrants started 28 percent of new businesses in 2011, according to the August 2012 report, far exceeding the 12.9 percent of the population they represent. They are job creators, too. One in 10 employees of U.S. privately-owned companies work at an immigrant-owned business and those businesses contribute more than $775 billion to the U.S. economy, the report says.

Read more:
Immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators have a common thread they overcame many barriers and succeeded beyond most expectations.
Organizing for Action recently published an immigrant story on Convo's founder, Faizan Buzdar (Convo is a Facebook for enterprises). Faizan shares his difficulty of waiting to get a visa - and the accompanying uncertainty and confusion. If the immigration system was more straightforward, he could have spent all this time and energy building his startup, which could have grown to support additional American jobs.  See the video below and start a discussion in your classroom.
Additional resources: 
Tina Seelig an amazing professor at Stanford University discusses concepts of immigrant entrepreneurs in her series of talks-The Art of Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The Immigration Policy Center- Entrepreneur Innovation Newsletter
Author Richard Herman provocativly  looks at the remarkable contributions of high-skill immigrant entrepreneurs in America.  Both a revelation and a call-to-action, Immigrant, Inc. explores the uncommon skill and drive of America's new immigrants and their knack for innovation and entrepreneurship. From the techies who created icons of the new economy-Intel, Google, eBay and Sun Microsystems-to the young engineers tinkering with solar power and next-generation car batteries, immigrants have proven themselves to be America's competitive advantage...

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