Immigration--A Source for Entrepreneurial Innovation

Your average entrepreneur is an immigrant.

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Immigrants in the U.S. are much more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born Americans.  So it makes perfect sense when Sharon McLoone of the Washington Post reports the following:

Traditionally in the United States, most of the owners of start-ups and small businesses have been men ages 18 to 34. But new data compiled in 2006 and 2007 show that today's entrepreneur is an urban, middle-income, middle-aged immigrant.

The entire Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, by researchers from Babson and Baruch colleges, has plenty more interesting findings.  For example, it helps debunk the myth that poor immigrants do not contribute much to economic growth and only serve as "cheap labor."  In fact, a not-insubstantial number become entrepreneurs.  For example, according to the report, about a quarter of early-stage businesses started by Mexican-Americans are started by people of lower household income (under $40,000).

I think these findings highlight how the next president would be foolish to ignore the need for an easy, transparent path to legal citizenship in this country. It would be easy to let other pressing economic matters take priority. But as this report makes clear, immigrant entrepreneurs are a key source of job creation. Minority-owned startups actually create more jobs than startups by white Americans, the report says, because the latter have more of a tendency to be one-person firms. So a pro-entrepreneur immigration policy is a job creation plan in itself.

TAGS:
small business
immigration reform

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