Immigration as an Engine for Change

Also featured in Spanish, originally written by The Venture City

Beyond the immigration debate and its relation to politics, the world of technology has been nourished by immigrant talent throughout its explosion in the last 20 years.

A study by the Center for American Entrepreneurship shows the impact of this demographic as founders of the highest-performing companies in the U.S. The study identifies businesses in the Fortune 500 that were established by first-generation immigrants or their children. These results are the best argument for defending the acquisition of this special talent.

More than 43% of the businesses ranked in the Fortune 500 were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. However, only 14% of the American population was born in a foreign country. 18.4% of these businesses were founded by first-generation immigrants and 24.8% were founded by the children of immigrants. In total, these 216 companies founded by immigrants produced $5.3 trillion in global revenue in 2016 and employ more than 12 million workers globally.

With these statistics in mind, it is evident to think of immigration as wealth. However, obstacles emerge when considering bringing in this unique demographic. Whether it is a founder that decides to bring their startup to the U.S. or, once already here, they desire to bring in talent from the exterior, obstacles persist.

In The Venture City, an investment fund and accelerator of emerging ecosystems, we have Miami as our headquarters. Miami’s geographic position and rich culture make it the ideal location for emerging ecosystems. We count with people from more than 10 nationalities and we have faced the same initial challenges as you in creating our ideal team.

Like us, some of the startups that share space in our campus in Little Havana, want to acquire talent or bring in high-level employees from the exterior.

Part of our vision is to contribute to the community through workshops and sessions that help clients make better decisions and explore options in the immigration system. Last 29th, Katerina Barquet, partner in Barquet Stege, paneled a session in The Venture City, where she explained how to make talent acquisition possible in a clear and simple manner. She ended the session with a live Q and A with the audience, dispelling their doubts and helping them rethink their strategies.

Jimena Zubiria, Vice President of University in The Venture City, our division of education for companies and executives, considers that knowing the visa system well is a great aid for adopting the best talent without thinking of borders: “Employees who think in a global manner wish to pursue their careers without having to think about legal issues. Counting on help to achieve their objectives without more preoccupations serves as a direct benefit.”

Jimena, a native Miamian, lived in London where she worked in a startup acquired by Google and later worked for the tech giant of Mountain View. Her return to Miami is a way of using her accent to show the opportunities of this region. There is no one better than her to explain how emigration enriches businesses: “Employing these demographics that are not found in a young ecosystem like ours helps elevate it.”

Brooke WalisEcosystem