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Immigrant-Owned Small Businesses Add to CO Economy

June 14, 2012

DENVER - Immigrant-owned small businesses are an important part of the Colorado and national economy, according to a new report from the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute.

Colorado has roughly 13,000 immigrant-owned small businesses - those with 100 employees or less - according to the report, which says those businesses earn about $700 million annually.

Those small businesses are diverse, says Kathy White, the institute's deputy project director, ranging from real estate companies and professional firms to construction companies and restaurants. She adds that the owners share one quality in common.

"Immigrants really share in the American entrepreneurial spirit and really want to share in the American dream just as we all do."

Immigrants nationally are 10 percent more likely to own a small business than are their U.S.-born counterparts, the report found. It says immmigrant-owned small businesses employ 4.7 million people and bring in nearly $800 billion in receipts.

White hopes the report will help people think differently about immigration.

"We tend to forget that immigration is a huge part of American history and the American economy. It's a growing part of it. Immigration is not this very narrow public policy debate."

The report doesn't distinguish between legal and undocumented immigrants, White says.

The report found that 30 percent of recent U.S. small-business growth can be attributed to immigrants.

The full report is online at fiscalpolicy.org/immigration.html.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO