A recent study by the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative claims that almost fifty percent of small business owners in New York City are immigrants. The New York Times released Immigrants Own 48% of N.Y.’s Small Businesses – NYTimes.com on the subject Tuesday and the Huffington Post followed Suit yesterday with Immigrants Dominate Small-Business Ownership In New York City. Both are worth the read, but what stood out to me most was this from the NY Times’ piece…
Despite their numbers, immigrant entrepreneurs must navigate a sea of obstacles beyond the normal challenges that all small business owners face. One recent study showed that immigrants in New York were less likely than nonimmigrants to own a business that has been running for more than three-and-a-half years, and more likely to have shut down a business within the past year.
One commonly cited hurdle is a lack of access to the capital needed to start or expand a company. While most banks hesitate to loan money to any small business, which can be a risky, time-consuming process, they are especially reluctant to lend to immigrants, who often have little collateral and bad or nonexistent credit histories, experts say.
Despite the many hurdles they have to overcome, how have such a large number of immigrants been able to push forward and start something where others, who were born in the State have not? What can we learn from them?