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Many Iconic “American” Brands Were Founded By Immigrants

As United States lawmakers argue about the economic effects of immigration on the country, they might well consider that many of America’s most profitable companies were started by immigrants. Noteworthy is the fact that many recognizable and “American” brands were founded by foreign born individuals or children of immigrants. These include some of the most iconic and profitable companies such as: Tesla Motors, Google, Yahoo, Intel, eBay, Pfizer, Radio Shack, Comcast, Goldman Sachs, Kohl’s, Honeywell, AT&T, Kraft, Proctor & Gamble, Mattel, Boeing, Estee Lauder, U.S. Steel, Nordstrom, and DuPont.

Comprehensive analyses of economic data clearly demonstrate how immigrant entrepreneurs play a critical role in boosting the United States economy. A 2012 report found that immigrants as a whole are more than twice as likely to start a business as someone born in America. With that comes job creation: as of 2011, immigrant-run businesses employed one in 10 American workers. In 2010, the Partnership for a New American Economy reported more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.  In fact, the Fortune 500 companies that were started by immigrants employ over 3.6 million people and the combined employment of the companies founded by immigrants or their children is over 10 million people.

A recent study published by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) found that venture-backed companies with at least one foreign-born founder are responsible for an increasing amount of Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and subsequent job creation. The study concluded that 33% of venture-backed companies that went public between 2006 and 2012 had at least one immigrant founder prominently at the helm.

The data underscores the opportunities America may lose if we maintain an immigration system that turns away promising future entrepreneurs.  In our 20 years of practicing immigration law, we at the Shulman Law Group, LLC, have seen firsthand how smart immigration policies are critically important to encourage the brightest and most entrepreneurial individuals to build their businesses and create jobs in the United States. We have many clients who have come to the United States as foreign students graduating from our universities with advanced degrees in critically important fields such as technology and science.  We are on the pulse of advocating for new policies which would provide incentives and opportunities for foreign students to stay after graduating and to being more solicitous and welcoming of aspiring entrepreneurs who will found the Fortune 500 companies of tomorrow.