Posted January 4, 2007 3:16 pm by with 4 comments

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A new study from Duke University found that of companies started between 1995-2005, 25% had at least one foreign-born senior executive. By 2005, immigrants had founded 52% of Silicon Valley companies (up from 25% in a 1999 Berkeley study). Companies run by these “immigrant entrepreneurs” accounted for approximately 450,000 jobs and $52 billion in sales in 2005.

Researchers also report that 24% of patent applications last year were made by foreign-born inventors living in the United States without citizenship. In 1998, only 7.3% of filings were made by resident non-citizens.

The full reports include breakdowns by country of origin and state as well as focus studies on Silicon Valley and Research Triangle Park companies. That makes me like it twice as much: it’s by Duke (I love my Blue Devils) and focuses on my home (RTP).

It looks like Andy’s not the only “pilgrim” to come to the US and start a company!

  • Wait, you mean you’re not a State fan? How’d I miss that! 😉

  • I am actually not surprised by this “discovery”.

    Not to offend anyone … ah, who cares… immigrants have a goal of accomplishing things when they come to this country. Most of them are not wealthy at the moment of arrival and they are much more alert to things that are going on around them. Today, he who has more current info/knowledge is the one who has more money.

  • As an immigrant myself, I can tell you that we try harder. We had to work for things that many locals (aka Americans) take for granted.

    I don’t know if immigrant businessmen have more “info/knowledge” than American entrepreneurs but a lot of them try harder and are willing to sacrifice more, maybe because they have little to lose.

    Millions of people from the former Soviet Union, China and India had the ideas and the skills but were held back by their governments. Now, finally they have a chance to step into the playing field and they are racing twice as fast as everyone else, trying to catch up with the rest of the world.

    Therefore, I am surprised by these numbers either.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Igor, Andrey–I’m still a bit surprised that it’s 52% in Silicon Valley. It seems awfully high when you take into account what percentage of the population immigrants comprise. However, I don’t doubt the study’s findings.

    I agree with you both in that I think that the people who immigrate to America are the ones who are looking for these kind of opportunities. There are, of course, Americans who are just as astute and hard working as immigrants. The other 48% of companies had to come from somewhere.

    The countries you mentioned, Andrey, are among the top countries of origin for immigrants in the study. The people from those countries that come to America are probably already planning to be entrepreneurs to take advantage of the exact opportunities you’ve described.

    Now you both have hard data to back up your opinions.

    Andy–Um. No. I might talk to you again after the NCAAs are over. Maybe. 😉