Eric Ries over at Startup Lessons Learned has an interesting proposal on his blog about having a special immigration policy for alien immigrants to stay if they start a new company. Eric was recently at Government 2.0 where the proposal was made by Paul Graham.
This raises some interesting questions about how immigrants and small company growth can go together. It is not that Americans are not motivated to start their own companies, and it is not that there are not a lot of resources for starting your own company in the states. While many immigrants startup companies that are not high tech, some like Sergey Brin who was born in Moscow are an example of immigrants who start and are successful building the next 900 pound gorilla technology company. Some of my friends have immigrated, started technology companies and now employee between 10 and 30 people in their startups.
Paul Graham though points to a Canadian Initiative called (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.) to launch a new program that will help immigrants start their own business. It will be interesting to see what happens in Canada because it will have a direct implication for how successful a similar program might be in the United States. Anything that creates jobs right now is generally going to be a good thing, and while the technology unemployment rate lags well behind the general unemployment rate, the implication of starting out a program for immigrants who will hire locally might not be a bad idea to contemplate, if not act on. There is enough money in entrepreneurship programs, education, and other support systems already to make a set aside and support a distinct group of people.
Not all immigrants will end up like Sergey Brin, that is a given, but what they will do is have a company that will have to hire locally. Even if it is just a family run corner shop, they will have to hire someone to help them out. While I would like the focus to be on high technology companies, there is no reason why this could not be extended to run of the mill corner mom and pop shop kinds of activities. The focus though should be on high technology if we do this, to help alleviate some of the innovation problems and lack of innovation in many of the staid technology companies that dot the landscape in the USA. From what I have seen in the Seattle area with Seattle Startups and other support groups is that many of the startups suffer from the same lack of innovation ideas, but those that have a great idea and can get enough support for them tend to do well. Many of these companies will be bought out; few will make it as big as Google. But I would be willing to risk some of my tax dollars on the next big thing, and support a program that opens the doors to more entrepreneurial activity anywhere in the USA. A policy and program like the Canadian one might be a great idea.
The Founders Visa might not be a bad idea to get behind.
Related articles by Zemanta
- The Founders Visa Movement (myventurepad.com)
- Supporting A Movement Towards A Founder’s Visa (techdirt.com)
- The Founders Visa Movement (feld.com)
- Bits: Now, Even the Government Has an App Store (bits.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Jerry Chautin: Small-Business Advice is on the Way (huffingtonpost.com)
- 680 Nortel employees offered Ericsson jobs (cbc.ca)
- TC50: RefMob Launches Social Media Driven Marketplace For Referrals (techcrunch.com)
(Cross-posted @ TechWag)