Person working at a desk in a shop filled with arts and crafts

Image Source: Pexels

Immigrants are a cornerstone of American prosperity and success. Saying that may sound cliché, but it’s quite a literal fact. It’s easy to think of immigrants as a handful of newcomers arriving in areas like New York City and Los Angeles, but the truth is, there are many immigrants living all over the United States.

For instance, 10% of Columbus Ohio residents were born in another country. Naturally, such a large percentage of a population is going to have a noticeable effect on a culture in many different ways. However, there’s one area, in particular, where immigrants in America are making an above-average impact: business.

Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the U.S.

In 2016, immigrants made up 13.2% of the U.S. population and represented 29.5% of the entrepreneurs who launched new businesses. In 2019, that number still held strong at 25% of newly formed businesses. To put it another way, while just over one in 10 U.S. residents are immigrants, one out of every three to four entrepreneurs was born in another country.

The phenomenon doesn’t even appear to be due to a specific cultural tendency or subgroup. For instance, the Small Business Association found that within the Latino community itself, when not compared to other cultural groups, over half of the entrepreneurs were still immigrants

So, what is it that makes immigrants such likely candidates for the entrepreneurial lifestyle? It turns out there are many different opinions and answers to that question, as will be shown further down.

Regardless of which line of reasoning you take, though, they all tend to point towards one overarching conclusion: immigrant entrepreneurs are incredibly valuable to the United States.

Why Go Into Business With an Immigrant Entrepreneur

As sad as it sounds, it’s much easier for most people to go into business with someone from their own culture. Humans are simply wired to head towards the most comfortable solution, and someone that they can relate to is always going to feel more comfortable.

Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort to get out of your comfort zone and go into business with someone who emigrated to your country. The action has a plethora of incredible benefits that can’t be easily found elsewhere.

The truth is, it’s hard to find hard-working, committed people these days. Things like social media and technology, in general, have caused an entire generation to suffer from an inability to remain focused. The epidemic has gotten to the point where the concept of teaching children to be “indistractable” has been dubbed “the most important skill for the 21st century.”

What does this have to do with immigrants and entrepreneurship? Everything.

Starting a business doesn’t just take time and effort, it also requires incredible levels of focus, determination, and endurance. No successful enterprise is born overnight, and the ability to work hard and remain focused is a critical skill that many immigrants are well versed in.

A Natural Inclination

Along with delivering a work ethic that can keep the daily grind alive, immigrants are often simply more inclined towards the entrepreneurial mindset. In fact, it’s been suggested that the selection and discrimination effects of immigration may naturally reinforce this.

Immigrating can be a ruthless and exhausting journey, and immigrants that survive the vetting process may simply be more likely to willingly veer into the risk-heavy waters of starting their own business.

In addition, many immigration policies seem to be tailored to those who are more entrepreneurial. Along with that, rampant discrimination against immigrants trying to get stable work may also be an active factor in pushing them to boldly find their own means of subsistence.

The Cross-Cultural Effect

Immigrants bring a unique cultural viewpoint to everything they do. They see everything through the filter of their own past experiences, and that can be invaluable to a fledgling startup. This cross-cultural effect can provide an incredible “third party perspective” that can allow a business to operate with an advantage.

For instance, seeing the United States as a new culture that is distinctly different from their own can allow immigrants to identify opportunities and create strategies that are more effective than someone who has always been immersed in American culture. On top of that, the layering of multiple cultural experiences can help spark creativity in powerful ways.

A Match Made in Heaven

While an immigrant may be suited to the entrepreneurial life, the combination of immigrant and U.S.-born business partners can have a synergy all its own.

For example, say you’re starting a business selling CBD oil in response to the rapidly evolving government view on hemp. An immigrant may have the previously mentioned strengths that they can bring to the table. In addition to that, though, a U.S. citizen will likely be much more versed in things like current CBD regulations on a state-by-state basis as well as concerns like taxes and how to market to the local, American population.

In short, the combination of immigrant and U.S.-born business partners can be positively explosive.

Celebrating Immigrant Entrepreneurs

So, while our government is still treating immigrants like a sickness that must be controlled, it’s critical that those of us who are more aware of the reality take the time to champion the brave immigrants in our midst.

Many of those who have come to the U.S. in search of a better life have been able to do this by launching out on their own. And it’s that spirit and tenacity that should be celebrated and lifted up as a benchmark for all Americans, U.S.-born and immigrant alike, to aspire to be.