Immigrants Have Long History of Entrepreneurship in America

Staten Island business bank cites findings about foreign-born successes


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – It's a gutsy move to pull up stakes and start anew in a different country, and this characteristic of immigrant entrepreneurs is gaining a fresh appreciation.


Victory State Bank, Staten Island's only community-based commercial bank, finds it insightful that a long history of successful start-ups can be attributed to visionaries who weren't native-born.


There's something inherently entrepreneurial about leaving your home to start a new life in another country, the Kauffman Foundation observes.


Perhaps that is why immigrants tend to start businesses at a disproportionately higher rate than native-born Americans, the Kansas City, Mo. organization suggests.


Kauffman describes itself as being among the largest private foundations in the United States, and its grant-making and operations focus on education and entrepreneurship.


Immigrants have a long history of starting successful businesses in the United States. A posting on its website ( says that from Alexander Graham Bell to Sergey Brin [Google], immigrants have created some of America's most iconic companies.


In fact, more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in 2010 were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, it says.


That notwithstanding, the foundation says that despite their vast economic contributions, U.S. law provides no dedicated means for immigrant entrepreneurs to launch innovative companies.


Kauffman is advocating something commonly called a start-up visa, a new means of entry to allow immigrant entrepreneurs to start businesses in the United States after satisfying certain funding, employment, or other requirements.


Other countries, it points out, are stepping up to attract foreign entrepreneurs. With new visas, countries like Canada and New Zealand are competitors for international entrepreneurial talent, Kauffman says.


Research suggests a visa for entrepreneurial immigrants could boost U.S. economic growth and create American jobs, the foundation contends.


Citing research, the advocacy makes observations about start-up formations, such as:


§  Immigrants were almost twice as likely to start businesses in 2012 as native-born Americans.


§  27.1 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2012 were immigrants, which is up from 13.7 percent in 1996.


§  About a quarter of the engineering and technology companies started in the United States between 2006–2012 had at least one key founder who was an immigrant.


The foundation also cites economic impact:


§  Immigrant-founded engineering and technology firms employed approximately 560,000 workers and generated $63 billion in sales in 2012.


§  24 of the top 50 venture-backed companies in America in 2011 had at least one foreign-born founder.


§  Immigrant founders from top venture-backed firms have created an average of approximately 150 jobs per company in the United States.


Most immigrants come to the United States to work or study, Kauffman notes. A start-up visa could allow foreign students and workers a smooth transition from school or employment to entrepreneurship, it asserts.


About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office is in the community of Great Kills, and branches are in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at


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