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Entrepreneurship in the Land of Opportunity

The newest installment of the Kauffman Sketchbook video series tells the great American success story of an immigrant entrepreneur who starts with very little yet achieves great things. The video features Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande, an Indian American venture capitalist and entrepreneur, who is co-founder of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT and the Deshpande Foundation.

In the video titled "Land of Opportunity," Deshpande recounts his entrepreneurial journey that began in India and flourished in the United States. His story serves as an example of America's heritage as a nation of immigrants whose creativity and entrepreneurial spirit are sources of tremendous economic strength.

Research confirms that immigrants attracted to the United States for its pro-growth culture and excellent universities often stay and create valuable, fast-growing startup firms. For example, Kauffman research reveals several key findings:

  • While U.S. colleges and universities nationally are seeing more international students with a passion for entrepreneurship, current immigration laws make it difficult – if not impossible – for these budding innovators to establish startups while in school, or to remain in the country after graduation to grow their companies and create jobs that could bolster the U.S. economy. See study
  • Immigrants are a vital source of science and engineering talent. The most significant constraint on new-venture growth is the difficulty finding and attracting highly skilled, entrepreneurial workers. See study
  • Of the firms started in the United States during 1995-2005, one-quarter had at least one immigrant key founder. In Silicon Valley, more than half of the startups had at least one immigrant key founder. See study
  • Indian immigrants were one-third of 1 percent of the U.S. population in 2000, but founded 6.5 percent of U.S. high-tech firms during 1995-2000. See study
  • Even before the 2008 financial and economic crisis, observers have noted that a substantial number of highly skilled immigrants have started returning to their home countries. See study
  • The number of high-tech immigrant-founded startups — a critical source of fuel for the U.S. economy — has stagnated and is on the verge of decline. See study

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