America’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs
The key to maintaining U.S. competitiveness in a global economy is to understand our strengths and to effectively leverage these. Skilled immigrants are one of our greatest advantages.
Two of the most important questions now being debated in the U.S. are the effects of globalization and immigration on the nation’s economy. Globalization is accelerating and it is still not clear whether trends like outsourcing will erode U.S. competitiveness or provide long-term benefits. Here we seek to document the economic and intellectual contributions of immigrant technologists and engineers at the national level. To understand the economic impact, this study examined a large sample of all engineering and technology companies founded in the last ten years to determine whether a key founder was an immigrant. To understand the intellectual contribution, we analyzed the World Intellectual Property Organization Patent Cooperation Treaty database for international patent applications filed by foreign nationals residing in the United States. What is clear is that immigrants have become a significant driving force in the creation of new businesses and intellectual property in the U.S. — and that their contributions have increased over the past decade.