January 23, 2012
Passport to Launch
It’s official: small businesses run by immigrant women in the U.S. are booming.
New data shows women owners make up 40 percent of the nearly 2 million immigrant businesses. But their road to success hasn’t been easy.
“There are challenges they face because they’re women and not native-born,” says Susan Pearce, co-author of Our American Immigrant Entrepreneurs.
The report highlights “the diversity of immigrant women’s experiences,” from being exploited to taking charge and finding business success.
They also show how immigrant women entrepreneurs have a strong philanthropic drive and how their businesses positively impact the economy.
“You need a credit history in the U.S. to get access to capital,” Pearce explains. “And there were stereotypes that stood in the way of some women being considered investment-worthy.”
What traits have these owners used to persevere? "There's a great deal of positive thinking and gratitude for opportunities they see around them,” says Pearce. “Many are inspired by other women in their home country or owners they met here.”
Female-driven start-ups are thriving in adverse environments, and the U.S. has some of the world’s oldest and largest immigrant communities, according to the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies.
Organizations like Empowered Women International and business associations specifically aimed at Latinas and Asian American women provide resources to help immigrant women start businesses.
Bonus PINK Link: Check out the third installment of our new online feature, C-Suite Confidential!
Minute Mentor: Tierra Reid, owner of Serious Startups, reveals what you need to know before starting a business.
By Caroline Cox
"Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” African proverb
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net, Cochrane and bigjom.