Thursday, November 20, 2008

Immigrant entrepreneurs

Immigrants in this country have always been entrepreneurial. A recent census shows it is continuing. Instead of thinking about problems with immigrants, people should think more about how much they contribute. Just like our ancestors. DP

Nearly one-third of California's business owners are foreign-born


As a practicing physician in her native China, Naishu Wang had a keen interest in early diagnosis as a means of saving lives. But it wasn't until she arrived in the United States more than two decades ago that this interest took the shape of a business.

“When I came here, I didn't have a business mind,” said Wang, 62, the owner of Alfa Scientific Designs in Poway, which produces medical in-vitro diagnostic devices for blood and other lab tests. “But gradually, in this atmosphere, I noticed that everybody has an opportunity. In the United States, small business is kind of encouraged.”

That sentiment apparently is shared by close to one-third of California's business owners, who, like Wang, are immigrants. According to a report released this week by the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, nearly 30 percent of all California businesses are immigrant-owned.

According to the report, which is based on census data, there are nearly 1.5 million immigrant-owned businesses in the nation, with immigrants constituting 12.5 percent of all U.S. business owners. Those businesses generate about $67 billion in taxable net income each year, representing 11.6 percent of all business income in the nation.

“That is a pretty big contribution,” said report author Robert Fairlie, a professor of economics at the University of California Santa Cruz. “I think that a lot of people focus on the undocumented (immigrant) issue, and they are not focused on all the other contributions.”
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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