Saturday, December 09, 2006

Capitalism thrives with immigration

By Al Lewis, Denver Post Staff Columnist Immigrants don't just take jobs. They create them.

Of U.S. publicly traded companies that got their start with venture capital financing over the past 15 years, one out of every four boasted an immigrant founder, according to a recent study by the National Venture Capital Association, based in Arlington, Va.

Today, these companies are valued at more than $500 billion. Many are among the world's most technologically sophisticated, and some are household names.

Imagine life without Intel, founded by Hungarian Andy Grove; or Google, founded by Russian Sergey Brin; or Yahoo, founded by Jerry Yang of Taiwan; or eBay, founded by Pierre Omidyar of France; or Sun Microsystems, founded by Andreas Bechtolsheim of Germany and Vinod Khosla of India.

"The United States has harnessed the intellectual power of the best and brightest minds from abroad for 300 years," said Mark Heesen, NVCA president.

Heesen's group also surveyed 340 privately held, venture-backed companies and found 47 percent had at least one immigrant founder. Immigration itself, he says, is an entrepreneurial undertaking.

"People who immigrate, by their very nature, are risk takers," he said. "They've given up what they've known to go somewhere totally unknown. It's not a big leap for them to put it all on the line and say, 'I'm going to create a company on my own and this is how I'm going to do it."'
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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