This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Making it in America

Nearly half a million immigrants arrive to the United States legally each year. Some will enter the American workforce and some will start their own businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business than American-born citizens.

And as the United States looks at ways to jump start the economy, groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Fiscal Policy Institute point to immigrant entrepreneurs as critical contributors. Many move here legally and create new jobs, pay taxes and add to a neighborhood’s revitalization.

This week, Need to Know travels to Atlanta to explore how immigrant entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground and contribute to a region’s economic success. Our correspondent Mona Iskander met with a number of immigrant entrepreneurs: a woman from Nigeria whose small hair-styling business went from basement to storefront in just three years; a Korean immigrant who came here with only $200 in his pocket  and now employees 2,000 workers; and a businesswoman from Colombia who runs a successful family-printing company and is frustrated with the nation’s conversation on immigration.

This project is made possible with the support of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

  • thumb
    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
  • thumb
      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.


  • Smptemonkey


  • guest

    According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, immigrants are 30 percent more likely to start a business than American-born citizens. That is true. Five fingers are not alike even though they all come from the same hand. People from Atlanta are way different from those in Los Angeles or any other States. America is a land of opportunity. There is no doubt about that. Why immigrants, even  American-born citizens have the same rights and opportunities like everybody else.
    American outlook has changed a lot, either due to technological advances or for other reasons. Nowadays American youngsters are more interested in sending text messages, working on the facebook, listening to the iPod music, etc…They are more interested in watching baseball/basketball, playing golf, taking vacations to Las Vegas, visiting Disneyland Theme Parks, investing in Real Estate and stock markets. When there are easy access to avenues like these, why would anyone be working so hard to establish or worrying about their businesses or jobs? America is not the same today like America was 20 plus years ago. Their entrepreneurial skills are slowly diminishing. Those who did or started their own business do not want to do now, for whatever the reason. They do not want any hard or intellectually challenging jobs today. This is what happens when the technology is so advanced that no one needs to worry about carrying things or sending letters when we can use texting, facebook, twitter, etc…When we can do most of our transactions online, why would anyone use the US Postal Services? When we can use fastfood or vending machines to get food, why would anyone worry about cooking the food or washing dishes? When we can study all our courses online, we do not need any schools or colleges or universities. There would not be any need for teachers to come to the campus. That is where we are today. Foreigners come to this country. They go to school and learn to speak and write American English. They get into professional careers such as Engineering, Medicine, and Information Technology

  • Alberto M. Correa

    Interesting research on how immigrants become entrepreneurs