In recent years, immigrants have found a lot of success in American small businesses. One study found that the percentage of self-employed workers who were born abroad more than doubled from 8.6 percent in 1994 to 19.5 percent in 2015.
The involvement of immigrants in the U.S. economy isn’t necessarily anything new, though. The inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who famously pioneered early telephone technology, was born in Scotland before coming to the U.S. to work. Andrew Carnegie, the great steel tycoon of the late 1800s, was also born in Scotland and later immigrated to the U.S.
Today, immigrants make up a sizable contribution to new business in the American economy. Thanks to permissive business laws in some states, immigrants are responsible for 25% of new businesses created each year. One study found that, while only 9% of American-born residents engage in entrepreneurship, 11.5% of immigrants are business owners. That number is even higher at 13% for refugees, or individuals who have immigrated to the U.S. as part of this country’s refugee program.
In the U.S., small business laws can vary from state to state. These laws can either be business-friendly — making it relatively easy to start and run your own business — or they can make it more difficult for entrepreneurs. Among the states, Delaware is the best for starting a business. At least, that’s what Fortune 500 companies seem to think, since more than 66% of them are incorporated in Delaware. This is due to the benefits of starting a business in Delaware, such as the low corporate tax rate, and the fact that it’s possible to form a business in Delaware as a non-resident.
For entrepreneurs who are coming to the U.S. from abroad, it’s important to find the right state for you to start a business in. Urban areas tend to do better than rural areas, so it’s a good idea to look at which cities are best for immigrant entrepreneurs.
According to one list, bigger cities tended to have more favorable options, with cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and San Francisco making the top ten. Some of these cities cite benefits like a $12 minimum wage (which is higher than the U.S. median) and universal preschool programs. Of course, these cities don’t always exist in the most business-friendly states, so it’s important to remember that it’s possible to live in one state or city, while incorporating your business in Delaware.