Thank you for joining me on this journey, the Immigrant Entrepreneur podcast.
Have you noticed that immigrant entrepreneurs are creating an out-sized effect across the country. You may not have had the statistics, but you had a sense of it and that it’s been going on for a while. You were right.
Despite America’s national policy making it harder for company founders to get Visas.
Despite often lacking credit, capital, and connections.
Despite often being an outsider
Over 27% of all new businesses in this country have an immigrant at the helm. And not the type of businesses you would expect.
35% of Silicon Valley start-ups, including Google, eBay, Yahoo and PayPal, Intel, and the companies of my interviewees – are started by immigrants
40% of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their children — such as AT&T, IBM and McDonald’s? I know … it’s crazy, right?
You are likely aware that few venture-capital-backed companies are able to go public — yet one-third of those that do, have an immigrant as a founder.
So I decided to meet and interview these entrepreneurs through this podcast and have them share their success formulas. Hopefully, by listening to their stories, you can pick up on traits that speak to you! All to your benefit.
Because I edit (and write) the Wharton Club of New York Magazine, I have interviewed many business titans, like Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast; Jay Fishman of Travelers; J. D. Power, the founder of J. D. Power and Associates; and Bob Crandall, the pioneering CEO of American Airlines.
So, of course, the first immigrant entrepreneurs I interviewed were those I had ready access to — my tribe, fellow alumni and fascinating business founders from Sudan, Vietnam, Korea, Argentina, France, India, Guyana, Russia, Israel and Iran.
It’s interesting — something remarkable happens when those with the entrepreneurial gene come to this country. It’s like the perfect recipe, and it has been going on a long time. For example, have you heard of Josiah Franklin?
According to Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, “Josiah had apprenticed himself to his brother John in the silk and cloth dyeing trade. After the apprenticeship was completed, there was not enough business in Branbury for both brothers, and the law made it impossible for him to enter a new trade without serving another long apprenticeship.”
So Josiah moved to Boston, and supported 17 children as a very industrious candle maker. It was not easy. One of his children, Benjamin Franklin, received only two years of schooling, yet became America’s first great entrepreneur, founding America’s first hospital, first lending library and the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin invented bifocals, the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, a musical instrument and the odometer, as well as new electrical concepts, such as the battery, condenser, plus and minus, and conductor. That’s probably why he’s on the $100 bill.
Then I think of my great-grandfather, who was quite a young man when he traveled to America as a result of the Prussian Wars just in time to be drafted into the Union army during the Civil War. He joined the quartermaster corps, which handled all of the supplies for the army. At the end of the war, he didn’t have money, didn’t have credit or credibility, and didn’t have great language skills. But he learned enough in the quartermaster corps to start a very successful chain of general stores in Wyoming. After the stores were burned down twice (they had no insurance), he began a business driving cattle to Texas. He died of an infection from barbed wire on one of those cattle runs, living his dream, and building a foundation for his descendants.
Most Americans, like myself, are descendants of immigrants, and it appears that first- and second-generation immigrants are more likely to start companies than the descendants of earlier immigrants, decade after decade.
I truly thank you for being interested to find out, with me, why that is.
You and I are going to discover the magic. This podcast will bring you interviews with immigrant entrepreneurs, starting companies that create medical devices, rocket ships, fashion designs, social media breakthroughs, music and crazy new technologies.
We will explore the best practices, challenges and go-to resources of entrepreneurs who come to America from every single nation around this beautiful world.