Immigrant Entrepreneurship: An American Success Story

Tuesday June 4, 2019
  • Research Brief

Executive Summary

A growing body of rigorous academic literature empirically demonstrates that high-skilled immigrants provide a range of long-lasting and material benefits to the U.S. economy through entrepreneurship and innovation. Recent research has quantified the impact of foreign-born founders on key economic indicators such as firm creation, job creation and overall business innovation. Likewise, a growing body of literature documents how skilled immigrants have more broadly facilitated technological innovation.

When looking at the founding of the United States’ largest startups…The immigrant-founded startups employ an average of more than 1,200 workers each, and have collective values of $248 billion.

Despite the empirical evidence that high-skilled immigrants contribute significant value to the U.S. economy, major hurdles exist for them to obtain visas that allow for starting new ventures.

In the current era of global talent competition, we suggest that there are specific policies that the United States can implement to lower barriers for immigrant entrepreneurs, benefit from high-skilled immigrants and foster associated entrepreneurial economic growth.