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The Next America - Workforce 2012

Immigrants Behind More U.S. Startups--PICTURES

photo of Doris Nhan
June 5, 2012

Foreign-born people are twice as likely as American natives to want to start a business, and in 2011, immigrants followed through on their dreams to launch 25 percent of U.S. startups, a recent report finds.

The power of immigrant-driven innovation and creativity is especially felt in the technology and engineering industries, where about a quarter of companies launched between 1995 and 2005 were founded by at least one immigrant, according to a 2007 study from Duke University.

Washington has responded in kind, including attempts to expand work visas to specifically include highly skilled workers and most recently by introducing Startup 2.0, legislation designed to keep foreign entrepreneurs who have graduated from universities in the country.

Last week, Forbes contributor Ilya Pozin compiled a list of top immigrant-owned tech startups, including wildly popular photo-sharing service Instagram and banking service Simple. We’ve expanded on that list to include several other foreign entrepreneurs of note.

Sergey Brin, Google co-founder. Brin (left) was born in Moscow and co-founded the Internet giant with fellow Stanford alumnus Larry Page (right). The multinational corporation was founded in 1998 in Menlo Park, Calif.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)

Anne Elisabeth Jane Claiborne, Liz Claiborne Inc. co-founder. Claiborne, born in Brussels, launched the eponymous fashion company in 1976. Claiborne’s namesake became the first in the Fortune 500 to be founded by a woman. Today, known as Fifth and Pacific Companies, it includes such designer labels as Kate Spade and Juicy Couture. Here, Claiborne is pictured at a 2000 event with Robert F. Kennedy Jr.(AP Photo/Mitch Jacobson)

Andrew Grove, Intel Corp. co-founder and senior adviser. Hungarian-American Grove arrived in 1957 after surviving both World War II and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Born in Budapest, the entrepreneur co-founded Intel Corp. in 1968 with Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, all three of whom worked together at Fairchild Semiconductor.(AP Photo/International Rescue Committee, Court Mast)


Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder. Krieger, who was born in Brazil and moved to California in 2004, worked with fellow co-founder Kevin Systrom to develop the photo-sharing mobile application in 2010. The app was sold to Facebook for $1 billion soon after. Here, Krieger, at far right, is with Systrom, left, and engineer Shayne Sweeney at headquarters in San Francisco.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Pierre Omidyar, eBay founder and chairman. Omidyar, a French-born Iranian-American, founded online auction site eBay and revolutionized the way consumers sold and bought used goods. The Internet company has since spawned several international versions and is closely associated with online payment system PayPal.(AP Photo/Bennet Group)

Aayush Phumbhra, co-founder. The online textbook-rental service was founded in 2007 by three Iowa State University students, including Phumbhra who moved to the U.S. from India in 2001.(Photo courtesy of Chegg)


Jerry Yang, Yahoo co-founder and former CEO. The Taiwan-born entrepreneur moved to the U.S. when he was 10 and studied electrical engineering at Stanford. Along with David Filo, Yang created a directory of other websites in 1994, which was the first iteration of Yahoo. Yang stepped down from his position as CEO in 2009 and resigned from all other positions earlier this year.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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