INC. DATA BANK The immigrant factor
The United States, a country of immigrants, has an economy that has
long been fueled by an influx of talent from abroad. Increasingly, immi-
grants are driving innovation research and starting their own companies.
But current immigration policies make it tough for them to stay. The
annual demand for visas greatly outweighs the supply, sending would-be
entrepreneurs—and their big ideas—back to their home countries.
A skimmer’s guide to the latest business books
The book: Makers: The New
Industrial Revolution, by Chris
Anderson; Crown Business.
Immigrants make a big impact on
the U.S. economy...
41% of Fortune 500
founded by an immigrant or the child of
Average number of H-1B visas—which let those
with specialized skills work in the U.S. for up to six
years—requested annually from 2001–2011:
...but there aren’t enough visas
to meet demand.
The big idea: Do it yourself used
to mean assembling an Ikea
bookcase. Now, thanks to
open-source design, 3-D
printers, and other machines,
can produce products as
diverse as toys and electronics.
48% of America’s top
ranked by Dow Jones
have at least one
20% of Inc. 500
CEOs were born
outside the U.S.
Among the 10 U.S.
universities that produce the most patents,
are responsible for
84% of I T patents.
Annual cap for visas:
Metro areas with the most annual
H-1B visa requests*:
The backstory: In his best-selling book The Long Tail,
Chris Anderson, the editor
of Wired, described the
atomization of markets into
ever-smaller niches. Makers
explains how entrepreneurs
can supply such markets,
using itty-bitty production runs
of supercustomized products.
Beyond crafts: Articles about
the “maker movement” tend to
emphasize the quirky charm of
its practitioners. Anderson
doesn’t ignore that. But this is
a book about a potentially disruptive economic force, not just
how fun it is to shop on Etsy.
PAR TNERSHIP FOR A NEW AMERICAN ECONOM Y/NATIONAL
FOUNDATION FOR AMERICAN POLIC Y/INC. 500 CEO SURVEY
*Average number of requests in 2010 and 2011
And many highly educated would-be entrepreneurs are returning home.
In a survey of 1,203 Chinese and Indian immigrants on LinkedIn who had returned to
their home countries, more than half expressed interest in launching companies.
Portion of those surveyed who have a master’s degree or Ph.D.:
If you read nothing else: Chapter Nine argues persuasively
for a manufacturing revival in
which small companies absorb
design ideas from enthusiast
communities, squeeze out
physical products using inexpensive services that cater to
the small-batch crowd, and
market their goods online.
Share who say they are somewhat likely or very likely to start a business in the next five years:
Share who say opportunities to start a company are better in their home countries:
DUKE/UNIVERSI T Y OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY/HARVARD/EWING MARION KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION
Rigor rating: 7 ( 1=Who Moved
My Cheese?; 10=Good to Great).
Makers is rich in anecdotes,
but it chronicles a promising
beginning rather than an
established shift. And Anderson
speaks like a true believer. Why
wouldn’t he be? 3D Robotics—
his own manufacturing start-up—is on track to do $5 million
this year. —Leigh Buchanan
FROM LEFT: iSTOCK; KELLY KOLLAR