Ensuring foreign-born founders can grow their startups in the U. S.

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Source:   —  June 19, 2017, at 7:03 PM

Those same VCs can also recount examples of immigrant entrepreneurs who have been distracted, frustrated, and burdened by our antiquated immigration system that prevents foreign-born entrepreneurs from staying in the country to construct their companies.  Immigrant entrepreneurs have enhanced our economy and culture despite immigration law, rather than because of it — that's to modify if we're going to grow our economy as President Trump hopes.

Ensuring foreign-born founders can grow their startups in the U. S.

Bobby Franklin is the president and chief executive of the National Venture Capital Organization and previously served as an executive vice president for the CTIA – The Wireless Association.

Those same VCs can also recount examples of immigrant entrepreneurs who have been distracted, frustrated, and burdened by our antiquated immigration system that prevents foreign-born entrepreneurs from staying in the country to construct their companies.  Immigrant entrepreneurs have enhanced our economy and culture despite immigration law, rather than because of it — that's to modify if we're going to grow our economy as President Trump hopes.

The stats on immigrant entrepreneurship and its contribution to our economy are truly staggering.  Our research has found that fully one-third of U. S. venture-backed companies that went public between two thousand six and two thousand twelve had at minimum one immigrant founder.

A recent study found that immigrants have started more than half of America’s ‘unicorns’, or privately held companies valued at more than $1 billion.  Another examination determined that while immigrants constitute fifteen percent of the common U. S. workforce, they account for twenty-five percent of U. S. entrepreneurs and that thirty-one percent of founders at VC-backed startups are immigrants.

NVCA members be engaged in in policy discussions at the trade group’s Annual Meeting in May.

 

Knowing of the significant contributions foreign-born founders have made to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the broader U. S. economy, NVCA has long championed the creation of a Startup Visa for talented immigrant entrepreneurs to stay in the U. S. if they can demonstrate their undertaking is viable and has appropriate funding.

The idea has achieved bipartisan support, in part, because it was immigrant entrepreneurs who founded iconic American brands love eBay, Intel, and Tesla, to title just a few.  Rightfully so, policymakers wish more of these blockbusters in our country.  Against that backdrop, we continue to educate policymakers on the win-win nature of a Startup Visa given the entrepreneurial spirit of so many immigrants and our necessity for greater economic growth.

Unfortunately, passage of a Startup Visa has been mired in legislative limbo, tied to passage of comprehensive immigration reform—and congressional inaction in that space is well known.  Fortunately, there is a way to unleash dynamic economic growth through immigrant entrepreneurship absent congressional action.  We just necessity the Trump Administration to authorize for it to go into effect.

During the Obama Administration, the Dept of Homeland Security finalized what's called the International Entrepreneur Rule.  Below the rule, the federal government would utilize its discretionary “parole” authority to authorize talented immigrant entrepreneurs to stay in the U. S. for two and a half years to construct and scale their startup, with a possible extension of another two and a half years.

VCs Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Capital and Scott Sandell of NEA discuss immigration reform at the two thousand seventeen NVCA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

 

To qualify, the entrepreneur must've founded a U. S. startup with substantial potential for rapid growth and work creation; the entrepreneur should be well-positioned to advance the startup, such as through significant equity ownership; and the startup must've received substantial capital investment from an investor with a track record of success.  It’s not simple to qualify below the International Entrepreneur Rule, but if a founder does then our country and its citizens stand to benefit from something truly special.

The International Entrepreneur Regulation is slated to go into effect on July 17th.  NVCA worked collaboratively with the Obama Administration to craft the final regulation and since President Trump took office in Jan we've been proactively engaging with his administration to advocate for the regulation and the benefits it'd produce for our country.

We've already been joined by investors and startup founders in twenty-fifth states with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems that recentlywrote to President Trump to encourage him to maintain the rule.  As the effective date of the regulation approaches, we'll continue these conversations but encourage other voices from the entrepreneurial ecosystem to connect the chorus.

President Trump has said repeatedly that it's his priority to spread economic prosperity across the country.  There is number better way to do that than through more entrepreneurial activity, of which immigrant founders play a central role.

The International Entrepreneur Regulation will unleash pent up entrepreneurial action across the country and bring high-quality jobs to our communities.  Connect us in encouraging President Trump to authorize it to go forward so that top talent from around the globe can arrive to the U. S. to grow dynamic youthful companies of tomorrow.

Featured Image: Marìa Helena Carey/Flickr below A CC BY-ND 2.0 LICENSE

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