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Innovation through Immigration by The Numbers

Every year, many immigrants to the U.S. start businesses and become wildly successful. Here's a look at some of those businesspeople.

businesses started by immigrants

The United States has long prided itself as being a place that gives immigrants a chance to come to the country and craft their own success stories. For many of these immigrants, the success stories include their efforts to build their own businesses.

Immigrants to the United States can claim many of these success stories. These immigrants and the businesses they’ve founded, in fact, have become a crucial part of the United States’ economic engine.

Immigrants account for a large number of new businesses in the United States. And it’s new businesses that help fuel the country’s economy.

Every month, about 350 of every 100,000 immigrants in this country start a new business. And if you’re wondering, yes, immigrants seem to be more entrepreneurial than do native residents of the country. Only 280 of every 100,000 native-born residents of the United States start a business every month.

Immigrants are also at the helm of some of the country’s most innovative businesses. For instance, 25 percent of the engineering and technology companies started in the United States in the last 10 years boasted at least one foreign-born founding member. Nationwide, immigrant-founded companies produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005.

That’s a big impact. And it’s a big help to the country’s economy, too.

Immigrants are making a larger impact in certain states. According to the Kauffman Foundation, California was the state with the highest rate of immigrant-founded companies in 2010. A total of 39 percent of businesses in California were immigrant-founded.

Close behind was New Jersey, which had an immigrant-founded business rate of 38 percent. Rounding out the top four were Georgia, with its rate of 30 percent, and Massachusetts, with a rate of 29 percent.

So, which immigrants to the United States have earned the most financial success in the last 25 years? Forbes Magazine ranked these individuals. To no one’s surprise, Sergey Brin, an immigrant who arrived to the United States from Russia, topped the list. He’s one of the co-founders of the hugely successful search engine Google. During his peak wealth year he was worth a staggering $14.1 billion.

Close behind Brin came John W. Kluge, an immigrant from Germany who was worth $13 billion during his peak wealth year. Kluge owned the news empire that eventually became FOX.

Rupert Murdoch, from Australia, has done well, too. The media mogul and pioneer of satellite TV was worth $11 billion at the height of his financial success. Pierre Omidyar from France has earned a fortune, too, thanks to founding online auction house eBay. He was worth $10.4 billion at his most successful.

Finally, Indian immigrant Sanju Sidhu, founder of i2 Technologies, was worth a solid $9.8 billion during his peak wealth years.