A World of Opportunity: Understanding and Tapping the Economic Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs
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A World of Opportunity: Understanding and Tapping the Economic Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs

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This presentation was delivered in Upwardly Global panel discussion titled Immigrant Contributions to NY's Economy, in conjunction with the 6th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week. The presentation focuses ...

This presentation was delivered in Upwardly Global panel discussion titled Immigrant Contributions to NY's Economy, in conjunction with the 6th Annual Immigrant Heritage Week. The presentation focuses on the economic contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs in NY.

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A World of Opportunity: Understanding and Tapping the Economic Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs A World of Opportunity: Understanding and Tapping the Economic Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs Presentation Transcript

  • A World of Opportunity: Understanding & Tapping the Economic Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs Immigrant Contributions to New York’s Economy Upwardly Global Panel Discussion April 22, 2009 Presentation by Tara Colton Deputy Director Center for an Urban Future
  • A World of Opportunity
    • February 2007 report from the Center
    • for an Urban Future which documents
    • that immigrant entrepreneurs are
    • starting a greater share of new
    • businesses than native-born residents,
    • stimulating growth in sectors from food
    • manufacturing to health care, creating
    • loads of new jobs and transforming
    • once-sleepy neighborhoods into thriving
    • commercial centers.
  • Major findings
    • Immigrants drove all of the growth in the city’s self-employed population between 1990 and 2000: the number of foreign-born individuals who were self-employed increased by 53% while the number of native-born people who were self-employed decreased by 7%
    • In 2000, foreign-born individuals comprised 36% of NYC’s population, yet they accounted for nearly half (49%) of all self-employed workers in the city.
    View slide
  • Major findings
    • Citywide, 9.27% of foreign-born workers are self-employed, compared to 7.71% of native-born workers.
    • In Queens and the Bronx, self-employment rates for foreign-born individuals in the workforce are nearly twice those of native-born workers—9.98% to 5.74% in Queens, and 7.31% to 3.98% in the Bronx.
    • “ These entrepreneurs are
    • the future of New York.
    • These people are taking
    • risks, putting their
    • savings on the line, and
    • growing businesses.”
    View slide
  • NYC neighborhoods transformed by immigrant entrepreneurs
  • NYC neighborhoods transformed by immigrant entrepreneurs
  • Industries in NYC with large numbers of immigrant-owned businesses
    • Food manufacturing
    • Child care
    • Transportation
    • Jewelry industry
    • Import and wholesale sector
    • Garment industry
    • Ethnic press
    • Wedding services
    • Professional services
    • Travel agencies
  • Challenges
    • Immigrants face formidable challenges as they attempt to start and grow businesses
      • Language and cultural barriers
      • Lack of awareness about local regulations
      • Limited financial literacy and, often, no credit history
      • High costs of doing business in NYC (real estate, health care, energy, insurance, ticketing)
    • Immigrant entrepreneurs remain largely disconnected from cities’ local economic development planning.
    • Immigrants often don’t know about or trust the established nonprofits that support entrepreneurs and small business owners, and few of the groups have made genuine efforts to reach out to immigrant entrepreneurs.
    • Without this help, many immigrant business owners take bad advice and make costly mistakes.
  • Recommendations
    • Government
    • Integrate immigrant entrepreneurs into cities’ economic development strategies
    • Develop new framework for providing business services to immigrant communities and partner with local organizations that have credibility
    • Initiate programs to help immigrant-run businesses export their products beyond their own community
    • Create marketing campaigns to promote major ethnic business districts
    • Rein in overzealous regulatory enforcement efforts
    • Banks and Foundations
    • Support efforts to get more immigrants into the banking system
    • Refer rejected business loan applicants to microlenders
    • Assist microfinance groups with capacity-building efforts
  • Contact information
    • Tara Colton
    • Deputy Director
    • Center for an Urban Future
    • (212) 479-3341
    • [email_address]
    • The full “A World of Opportunity” report and all of our research on immigrants and New York City’s economy is available at www.nycfuture.org