Report: 43% of Fortune 500 Companies Founded by Immigrants


By: Marianne Hudson, ACA Executive Director

ACA members have known for years that people from other countries make AMAZING entrepreneurs.  This is one of the main reasons ACA has supported policies like startup visas and the International Entrepreneur Rule to ensure that more of these entrepreneurs from other countries can stay in the US and create innovative and job creating companies.

Now we have a new source of data on international entrepreneurs – Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500 – by the Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE).  The report comes amid the ongoing debate about US immigration policy – and, most immediately, debate regarding the policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Ian Hathaway, CAE’s research director, conducted the analysis.  His analysis found:

  • 43 percent of companies in the 2017 Fortune 500 were founded by a first- or second-generation immigrant
  • The occurrence of immigrant-founding is highest among the largest companies – 48 percent of the top 60 companies, and 57 percent of the top 35 companies, were founded by first- or second-generation immigrants
  • Immigrant founded Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in 68 metro areas across 33 of the 50 states
  • Immigrant-founded Fortune 500 companies employ 13 million people worldwide and had combined revenue of $5.3 trillion last year

CAE’s findings are striking and demonstrate the historical – and continuing – importance of immigrants to the creation and growth of America’s largest and most valuable companies.  In particular, these results amount to compelling argument supporting the creation of an “entrepreneur visa,” which, as you know, is an important aspect of the Startup Act, recently reintroduced by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

ACA also applauds the work of the National Venture Capital Association, which was recently was successful in a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for delaying the International Entrepreneur Rule.  Hopefully the court’s ruling will allow some great international entrepreneurs to gain a toehold here in the US.  

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