Chances are your boss wasn’t born in this country. Last year alone, 28% of new companies were started by immigrants. Hispanics, making up more than half of the country’s 20 million immigrants, lead the group as new entrepreneurs. Chief of staff at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, DeVere Kutscher, stated, “Hispanic entrepreneurs are driving economic development, and their enterprises are creating jobs and helping lead the country out of recession.”
Maribel Lieberman, an immigrant from Honduras, arrived in the United States as a teenager in 1980. Although she originally dreamed of becoming an architect, her mother encouraged her to train as a bilingual secretary. After several jobs, Lieberman opened up MarieBelle in New York. Her company, selling gourmet chocolates in lower Manhattan, employs 23 people at her own factory. According to Lieberman, “We’re more accepted now, and psychologically for me it was a great help. We’re becoming more integrated into American culture, and it’s giving us the freedom to achieve the American Dream.”
Although reports are not official for 2011, it is estimated that immigrants created 170,000 new companies last year. This rate has nearly doubled since 1998. Javier Palomarez, the president of the Hispanic chamber, believes the increase in entrepreneurship is directly related to the immigrant’s frame of mind.