Entrepreneurship and Innovation Newsletter – May 2014

Report reaffirms the economic case for welcoming immigrant entrepreneurs. A May 1 post on Immigration Impact highlighted an updated report from the Kauffman Foundation reaffirming that immigrant entrepreneurial activity is greater than that of the native-born population. As an article in Inc.com notes, “immigrants drove much of the new entrepreneurial activity at a rate nearly twice as high as U.S. natives.”

For urban planners across the U.S., immigration is a hot topic for local development. In late April, the American Planning Association’s (APA) Divisions Council organized a series of sessions about immigration and changing American cities at the National Planning Conference in Atlanta. The series’ organizers noted that, “for planners, the effects of immigration in communities across the nation are widespread. Planners find themselves responding to the complexities of immigration issues on a daily basis…At the same time, immigrant communities and concentrated minority populations have been formidable anchors to breathing new life, culture,…and revitalization into cities and neighborhoods.” At the series’ opening session, the American Immigration Council’s Paul McDaniel and Welcoming America’s David Lubell spoke on the current trends in immigration, integration, and community building.

Immigration is key to New York City’s renaissance and crime decline. An April 16 post on Immigration Impacthighlights a new report from Americas Society/Council of the Americas, focusing on the role immigrants played in transforming New York City. As the report notes, immigration has provided “a socioeconomic boost to areas that might otherwise have seen high vacancy rates, abandoned housing, and little economic opportunity.”

Immigrants make sizeable economic contributions to North Carolina. A new study by the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill describes demographic and economic impacts of international migration to North Carolina. The report shows that immigrants had an overall economic impact of $19.76 billion in 2010 in North Carolina.

High-skilled immigration boosts native-born wages in cities. A May 9 post on Immigration Impact describes a new report about the impact of foreign STEM workers on native-born workers, finding that “there is a positive, large, and significant effect of foreign STEM workers on wages paid to college educated native workers…a one percentage point increase in the foreign STEM share of a city’s total employment increased wages of native college educated labor by about 7-8 percentage points.”

A majority of U.S. patents are granted to foreign individuals. An April 11 post on Immigration Impact highlights new data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office showing that more than half of all patent grants in 2013 were to foreign individuals. Other studies have shown that 76 percent of patents awarded to the top ten patent-producing universities had at least one foreign-born inventor.

News Updates

#iCodeImmigration events across the country seek to accelerate immigration reform. According to the Partnership for a New American Economy and FWD.us, “America’s entrepreneurs know how critical immigration reform is to the country’s ability to continue to innovate, launch new companies, and create jobs.” A May 1 post on Immigration Impact describes iCodeImmigration as a series of nationwide events in nine cities in April that brought immigrant and native-born start-up entrepreneurs and innovators together for immigration reform. #iCodeImmigration concluded with an event in Washington, D.C., where the Partnership for a New American Economy unveiled a new ad campaignfor immigration reform.

New White House fact sheet announces rule changes to make U.S. more attractive to foreign talent and entrepreneurs. In April, the White House released Strengthening Entrepreneurship at Home and Abroad, which includes a focus on attracting more immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators. In particular, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed rule changes “authorizing employment for spouses of certain high-skill workers on H-1B visas, as well as enhancing opportunities for outstanding professors and researchers,” which Immigration Impact described in a May 7 post.

Imprint Project describes alternative careers for immigrant professionals. In a new fact sheet, Imprint Project provides an overview of information for direct service providers as they guide skilled immigrant clients in making wise decisions about their careers. The document describes tips for helping clients set realistic goals, explores alternative career paths, and advice for how to research opportunities in the local landscape.

Cities can spark economic development by investing in skilled immigrants. In another new fact sheet, Imprint Project highlights ways local initiatives can connect immigrants to economic opportunity and “help regions achieve their overall economic development goals.” In particular, the piece spotlights two examples in New York City and Lansing, Michigan.

More places join Welcoming Cities and Counties initiative. Recently, the cities of Los Angeles, California and Allegheny County (includes Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, as well as Clarkston, GA, Washington, DC, Hamtramck, MI, and Iowa City, IA, officially joined Welcoming Cities and Counties, an initiative of Welcoming America. These cities bring the list of affiliates to more than thirty.

New York Governor launches immigrant entrepreneurship training series. Building on work to help immigrants fully participate in New York’s civic and economic life, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April launched the Immigrant Entrepreneurship Training Series to help immigrants across the state of New York start and grow businesses. As part of the series, more than 100 immigrant entrepreneurship seminars will take place throughout the state in the coming year. As Gov. Cuomo stated, “Immigrants have long been the backbone of New York’s economic success.”

Massachusetts Governor announces plan to launch global Entrepreneur in Residence program. In early April, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick proposed a Global Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) program that would allow foreign students to stay in Massachusetts to work in startup companies. An article for BostInno said the “new program will allow qualified international students currently in Massachusetts to stay here after graduation if they are starting or growing a business.”

Hispanic entrepreneurs are on the rise in Upstate South Carolina and across the U.S. An April 28 article in theGreenville News said that “with an increase in the Hispanic population in the Upstate (in South Carolina), there are more Hispanics establishing businesses.” The article mentions national results from a recent study of Hispanic entrepreneurs, which found that the number of Hispanic entrepreneurs in the U.S. grew from 577,000 to more than 2 million from 1990 to 2012.

Diversity from immigration bolsters the economy in Anchorage, Alaska. In an April 27 article in the Anchorage Daily News, Andrew Halcro, President of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, said that “the economic contributions of our newly arrived neighbors are having a profound effect on the local economy.” Citing a variety ofstatistics, Halcro noted that “there is no question that immigrants are helping grow the local economy. With senior Alaskans remaining our fastest-growing demographic, the need to welcome and integrate young immigrants into both our education and economic systems is critical.”