Immigrant founders fuel list of most successful American companies

Adding to the national debate regarding U.S. immigration policy, the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE) reviewed the 2017 Fortune 500 list, finding that 43 percent of the companies were founded or co-founded by a first or second generation immigrant. Those companies account for 52 percent of the top 25 firms, are headquartered in 33 different states, and accounted for $5.3 trillion in global revenue in 2016, the CAE analysis found. CAE posits that such analysis provides strong support for the creation of an entrepreneur visa, a piece of the Startup Act, the bipartisan legislation which SSTI has supported.

Growth of technology-based startups helps power US economy

Despite concern that America’s entrepreneurial engine is severely damaged, new research from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that the number of technology-based startups has grown by 47 percent from 2007 to 2016, with wage growth higher than the national average. Because of their high growth potential, the authors suggest that technology-based startups should be the primary focus of entrepreneurship policy. To bolster these types of entrepreneurs, the authors propose recommendations across four main areas: tax reform, regulatory reform, STEM skills, and technology transfer.

New efforts support veterans in entrepreneurship, STEM careers

Last week in honor of Veteran’s Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states, universities, and various nonprofits announced new efforts that are intended to help U.S. veterans succeed as entrepreneurs and launch careers in 21st century STEM-driven fields. From tax credits in Massachusetts to online training in data analytics, efforts will focus on providing veterans with the necessary training, education, tools, capital, and other resources to create a better future for those veterans, their families, and communities across the country.

Apprenticeships, entrepreneurs celebrated

The third annual National Apprenticeship week will be celebrated next week, with more than 700 activities planned across the country to showcase programs, facilities and apprentices. For those still interested in participating through an open house, skills competition, or other event, there is still time to register your event.

Entrepreneurial growth spreads outside typical hubs

Entrepreneurial growth continues to rebound and is spreading to different industries and geographies, according to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship, yet the report also states that entrepreneurial growth “continues to be a rare phenomenon. Most firms are not growth firms.” The five metropolitan areas with the highest levels of entrepreneurship were, in order: Washington, D.C.; Austin; Columbus, Ohio; Nashville; and Atlanta, according to the report. The five largest states with the highest entrepreneurial growth activity were Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas. The smallest population states with the highest entrepreneurial growth were Utah, Hawaii, North Dakota, Nevada and New Hampshire.

How IPO’s can affect innovation, talent, and entrepreneurship

Initial public offerings (IPOs) can alleviate financing constraints and help support important activities such as operations, R&D, and expansion. Despite these perceived benefits, new research finds that the transition to public equity – and the financial windfalls that follow – prompt many of a company’s early innovators to depart the firm, which has impacts on both innovation internally and at other firms.  The departures of founders and early employees from post-exit startups presents challenges and opportunities for venture development and entrepreneurial support organizations.

While rural entrepreneurship declines, rural businesses nearly match urban peers’ innovativeness

Two recent reports provide good news and bad news regarding innovation in America’s rural areas. Only one in six individuals living in rural areas was self-employed in 2016 — down from one in four in 1988, according to a new issue brief from the Small Business Administration (SBA). This represents a decline of nearly 20 percent over that span of time. Meanwhile, a recent report from the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) found that between 2010 and 2014 rural businesses in some nonfarm tradable industries are as likely to be substantive innovators as their urban peers. This is especially true across manufacturing industries with nearly identical rates of substantive innovation between both rural and urban companies.

New initiatives target building entrepreneurial capacity in rural areas

Over the last several months, economic development organizations, universities, and their partners have announced new efforts to create the building blocks for entrepreneurial development in rural communities. Examples include i2e announcing new efforts to expand entrepreneurial support services to rural communities in Oklahoma and three Indiana universities partnering to support startup growth in rural regions across the state. These efforts are intended to leverage the existing skills and resources of these organizations and reformulate them for regions typically left behind by the field.

Trump immigration policy rewards Olympians, Nobel Laureates; discounts VC-backed entrepreneurs

On the heels of delaying the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER), the White House has endorsed a bill that would grade candidates for immigration. A total of 60 organizations, including SSTI and many of our member organizations, stated their opposition to the move in a new letter. It is not clear why the IER’s standard of investible businesses would not fit into the legislation’s merit-based system. The bill’s scoring system sets a threshold of 30 points and rewards certain age groups (max of 10 points for 26 to 30 year olds), STEM degrees (max of 13), Nobel prize winners (25 points), job offers (max of 13), willingness to invest (max of 12) and an Olympic medal within the last eight years (15 points). The Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act  would also significantly reduce the number of available visas. Time has created a self-scoring quiz for those interested. 

Entrepreneurs invited to pitch clean energy ideas

Startup innovators from around the country have the opportunity to exhibit their ideas and win $10,000 during the Catalysts of the Climate Economy national innovation summit in Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 6-8. Innovators in the climate economy are encouraged to enter a contest that will result in five competitors pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, with the winning idea garnering the top prize. Entries for Round 1 of the competition – where innovators tweet their formula/idea on improving the climate economy – must be received by July 30th. A select number of entries will be invited to present their ideas during the conference, where all attendees will vote on the top five startup ideas. Produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development, the conference will bring together participants in the climate economy to explore the next stage of economic development in a low-carbon future.


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