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Foreign-born grads start more U.S. businesses

by Andrea Widener
February 29, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 9

Foreign-born college graduates are 4% more likely than their U.S.-born counterparts to start science-related businesses, says a new report from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. They are also more likely to work for start-ups than for established companies. Some of the difference is explained by choice of major, the report says, because foreign-born graduates are more likely to get degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) than in other fields. However, having a STEM degree doesn’t change a foreign-born graduate’s chance of owning a STEM business, it says. The report also shows that those who earn their highest degree at a U.S. institution are more likely to become STEM entrepreneurs in the U.S. than either U.S. citizens or foreign-born immigrants who earned their top degree overseas. Foreign workers on temporary visas are least likely to start STEM businesses, the report says, probably because of their precarious status. Foreign-born owners of U.S. STEM businesses and early employees of other small businesses are most likely to come from India, followed by China, Taiwan, Canada, and South Korea, the report finds.


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