Helping Immigrant Entrepreneurs Create Good U.S. Jobs –

August 8, 2011

Immigration Consulting

In 1873, German immigrant Levi Strauss made the first pair of blue jeans. In 1968, Hungarian-born Andy Grove founded the world’s largest computer chip maker, Intel. They’re just two examples of a longstanding American tradition of immigrants who come to our country, start a small business, and create millions of jobs.

Unfortunately, due to an outdated visa system, too many of the world’s brightest entrepreneurial minds aren’t here. Some have come to the United States, received training at our excellent universities, and then been forced to leave. Others simply haven’t been able to find a path here in the first place.

Over the last six months, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, the Small Business Administration, and leaders throughout the administration have traveled around the country and heard a resounding message from hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners: This needs to change.

As a result, this week the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced several steps to move in a better direction.

First, the administration clarified that if an immigrant entrepreneur has an advanced degree or exceptional ability, and shows that their work will be in the country’s national interest, they may qualify for a green card under an existing program (EB-2 visa). This will help keep America on the cutting edge, and maintain an avenue for these entrepreneurs to come to our country, stay and start creating jobs.

Second, in direct response to comments from entrepreneurs, we updated existing public guidance to clarify that immigrant entrepreneurs who own their own business may qualify for the H-1B non-immigrant visa program. This helps businesses that need help from workers in specialized fields like science, engineering and computer programming.

Third, we will expand an existing program that allows employers to get a faster answer on applications for immigrant employees, particularly multinational executives and managers. America’s business owners know that the right person in the right position can serve as a catalyst for creating even more jobs.

Fourth, we will transform and accelerate the review of applications for immigrant investors who seek to invest capital and create jobs in the United States using the EB-5 visa program. Teams with expertise in economic analysis will review these applications.

Fifth, we will do even more to reach out specifically to entrepreneurs to make sure that USCIS can address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies through smart changes to policies and regulations. We want to foster a system that is reducing barriers to business growth and job creation.

Efforts like these to streamline government have been a top priority across the administration and with the Jobs Council. These steps are just a start, but what is clear is that we must move forward now to maximize the impact that immigrant entrepreneurs have on our economy.

We already know that their impact is huge. Immigrant business owners generate more than 10 percent of U.S. business income each year. They represent nearly 17 percent of new business owners in America. They are critical pillars of our economy, especially in states like California, Florida, New York and Texas.

In a 21st-century global economy, we must continue to attract and retain the people whose ideas are creating more and better jobs – regardless of whether they are born here or abroad. The next generation of working families is counting on all of us to help tomorrow’s businesses take root, grow and flourish.

If we are successful, we will create a brighter future not only for immigrants who see the fertile ground to build a business here in the United States but also for the millions of Americans who will – as a result of the growth of immigrant-owned businesses – hear those two great words: “You’re hired.”


Karen Mills is the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. John Doerr is a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors
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About Wedgewood Advisory

Wedgewood Advisory Services is run by a serial entrepreneur who has owned numerous enterprises with a firm belief in a "no boxes' environment and multiple paths to birthing big ideas. Our US and UK-based team of savvy consultants provide guidance and value to our clients and contacts all over the globe, with a firm commitment to an intellectually honest approach to capitalization. Wedgewood's global contacts and resources serve as a catalyst to create project teams and strategies that provide forward momentum to the projects we support. We have facilitated and developed a number of key initiatives in various industry sectors, including project management and project planning for urban and rural large impact programs, real estate developments and finance packages. Our key focus areas include: Immigration Consulting, Native American Indian Programs, Alternative Food Sourcing and Global Business Strategies. Recipients of these efforts range from quasi-governmental concerns, municipalities, for-profit and social enterprises in the United States and its territories, the U.K. and Africa.

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