Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Creating the American Dream

What motivates immigration to the U.S.? While immigrants each have their own personal stories, they all come to this country because they dream of better lives. Many picture an easier life with abundant economic opportunities and job possibilities.

While there are more opportunities for economic success in the U.S. compared to most other countries, it can still be a struggle to find a well-paying job. To achieve financial success, immigrants must continue to dream of better lives after they arrive in the U.S.

It can be hard to pay the bills when working minimum wage jobs in the U.S. However, this country offers a wealth of job training and entrepreneurial opportunities. With the right training, willingness to pursue education, and hard work, it is even possible to transform from a worker who is paid minimum wage into the owner of a wildly successful business.

Take Paula Asuncion as an example. After immigrating to Oregon from the Mexican state of Oaxaca more than two decades ago, Paula worked on farms and in minimum wage jobs at fast-food restaurants. A widow struggling to feed six children, her family shared cramped apartments with other families.

Two years ago she joined a program that helps immigrants open small culinary businesses. After training with the microbusiness incubator at Portland non-profit Hacienda CDC, Asuncion now runs a catering service, employs other immigrants, and has bought a home for her family.

Asuncion’s story is not uncommon. According to a report by Robert Fairlie, Professor of Economics at University of California, Santa Cruz, from 2006 to 2010, there were 256,849 new immigrant business owners in Texas. In 2010, 25 percent of Dallas business owners were foreign-born.

Experts say the economic downturn brought new interest in self-employment from people having a difficult time finding well-paying jobs, and that has spurred significant growth in microbusiness development programs that teach skills such as business plan writing, marketing and accounting.

Where can immigrants who live in the DFW area find training and education they need to become successful entrepreneurs?

  • Immpreneur is an excellent online resource that was created for immigrant entrepreneurs, or ‘Immpreneurs.’ The aim of the site is to inspire and help Immpreneurs launch or grow existing businesses in the United States. The resources available on Immpreneur include U.S. business laws, how to find funding for a business through angel investors, business grants, business incubators, microloans or venture capitalists, and how to connect with other immigrant entrepreneurs and learn how they became successful.

  • The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’ Business Assistance Center is a federally funded program through the City of Dallas that is intended to assist low-to-moderate income persons who are interested in starting a microbusiness (with 5 employees or less including the business owner) or increasing the capacity of an existing microbusiness.

  • Hispanic immigrants who have already founded businesses can find support with the Hispanic Chamber’s Executive Entrepreneur Program, an educational program developed to grow, assist and increase capacity for small businesses in North Texas.

Of course, if you are an immigrant, the first step in growing your economic opportunities is to make sure you have legal permission to work in the U.S. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation if you need help with your immigration status.

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