Harnessing Immigrant Small Entrepreneurship

For Poverty Reduction and Economic Growth
New America

President Obama’s November 2014 immigration executive order offers deportation relief to about 4 million unauthorized immigrants. The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program also provides a work permit and the opportunity for qualifying immigrants to pursue new employment, education, and job training. But the program will not only impact workers; aspiring – and current – immigrant business owners will now be better able to start and sustain a small business.

Immigrant-owned small businesses generate $776 billion in business activity and sustain 4.7 million employees – 14 percent of people employed by all U.S. small business owners. While they are about 13 percent of the overall population and 16 percent of the labor force, immigrants comprise 18 percent of small business owners in the United States.

And, while facilitating the creation of immigrant-owned businesses was central to President Obama’s November 2014 announcement of DAPA, there is little infrastructure to support foreign-born small business owners either at the national or local level. This event, co-sponsored by Bread for the World Institute, will focus on the potential of immigrant-owned small businesses to grow the economy and reduce poverty and the challenges that may prevent them from doing so.

Follow the discussion online using #ImmigrantEntrepreneurs and following @GlobalAssetsNA.


Andrew Wainer 
Senior Immigration Policy Analyst, Bread for the World Institute, Washington, D.C.

Betty Garcia
Business Owner, Tortilleria Sonora, Des Moines, Iowa

Rod Castillo 
Executive Director, Pete Suazo Business Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Amelia Lobo 
Director of the Women's Business Center, ISED Ventures, Des Moines, Iowa


Scarlett Aldebot-Green
Senior Policy Analyst, Asset Building Program, New America


                                                        in collaboration with