Immigrant Entrepreneurship has High Impact on Metro Area Development

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Developers in new metro areas are looking to attract immigrants to vitalize their economies.

That’s because immigration and entrepreneurship go hand in hand. More than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or by their children. And, according to a new study by the Kauffman Foundation—a Kansas City non-profit that works to promote entrepreneurship through education—immigrant entrepreneurs are already knocking down the doors of the high-tech workforce.

According to the Kauffman Foundation’s study, “Lessons for U.S. Metro Areas: Characteristics and Clustering of High-Tech Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” 20 percent of the high-tech workforce and 17.3 percent of high-tech entrepreneurs between 2007 and 2011 were comprised on immigrants, a huge jump from 2000 numbers. And self-employed immigrants in high-tech industries jumped by 64 percent from 2000 to 2011.

High-tech entrepreneurial immigrants are concentrated in the semiconductor and other electronic component sectors as well as magnetic and optical media; communications; audio/video equipment; and computer science. The study also finds one-third of all high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs live in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

The study goes on to report that immigrant-owned businesses are most likely to locate in ethnically-diverse metro areas comprised of high foreign-born populations.  What’s more, regional labor markets with higher percentages of high-tech industries and higher numbers of college graduates and patents tends to attract other high-tech companies to the area.

Columbia, China, India, Korea and Vietnam are leading the pack in terms of immigrant growth as self-employed high-tech entrepreneurs since 2000.  In the same time frame, he number of high-tech entrepreneurs from Iran, England, Mexico, Germany and Cuba remained stagnant.

Since the beginning of the new century, immigrants from Colombia, China, India, Korea and Vietnam expanded the number of the self-employed in high-tech industries. On the other hand, the number of high-tech entrepreneurs from Iran, England, Mexico, Germany and Cuba stagnated.