Immigrants Leading in Entrepreneurship

A Mexican Panaderia in Waukesha, Wisconsin

A Mexican Panaderia in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (Photo: Scott Feldstein/flickr)

The Great Recession has spawned an increase in entrepreneurship–and the trend is being led by immigrants.

As it’s become harder to find jobs, more Americans have started their own businesses.  According to a new report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, an entrepreneurship advocacy group, immigrants were leaders in this trend last year.  The rate of entrepreneurial activity among immigrants increased significantly – from 0.51 percent in 2009 to 0.62 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, the rate of activity declined slightly for native-born Americans, widening the gap between the groups.

Latinos had the largest increase in entrepreneurial activity between 2009 and 2010, from 0.46 percent to 0.56. Asian entrepreneurship also increased–from 0.31 percent in 2009 to 0.37 percent in 2010. In all, 29.5 percent of new entrepreneurs were immigrants in 2010.

“The result of these contrasting trends is that immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses each month in 2010 than were the native-born,” the authors of the report wrote.

They also note that entrepreneurial activity last year was greater than at any time in the past 15 years.

AboutSarah Kate Kramer
Sarah Kate Kramer first got hooked on collecting stories as a StoryCorps facilitator, then traveled the world with a microphone for a few years before settling down in her hometown of New York City. From 2010-2012 she was the editor of Feet in 2 Worlds and a freelance reporter for WNYC Radio, where she created “Niche Market,” a weekly segment that profiled specialty stores in New York. Sarah is now a producer at Radio Diaries, a non-profit that produces documentaries for NPR and other public radio outlets.