Dispelling a Myth – cont’d

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According to the Small Business Administration, one out of ten immigrant workers owns their own business and 0.62 percent start a business each month. That’s 620 out of every 100,000 immigrants starting a business in the United States of America helping the economy grow.

SBA.gov says, “Overall, the sources of startup capital used by immigrant businesses do not differ substantially from those used by non-immigrant firms.”

Those sources of capital, the SBA says, are personal and family savings, credit cards, bank loans, personal or family assets, and home equity loans.

Immigrants seem to be able to scrape capital together.

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Almost 20% of immigrant firms start with $50,000 or more while only 15.9% of non-immigrant firms can claim that same distinction.

The 2007 Survey of Business Owners (SBO) and the 1996-2010 Current Population Survey (CPS) are the two sources of data that enabled this study. The full report is posted here.

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Jim Babcock, Outreach Consultant for Gannon’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in the Crawford County area, said there are special circumstances in which businesses can get tax breaks, but there is no blanket tax break for businesses based on the fact that they are started by refugees or immigrants.

Babcock said that larger corporations can get state or local tax breaks when they are situated in Keystone Industrial Parks.

Special circumstances arise where local governments offer breaks. The company building low-income housing for seniors at the location of the old Talon building in Meadville, for instance, is receiving relief from local property tax for a period of time, Babcock said.

No situation exists where a business receives tax breaks simply due to the owner’s nationality or immigration status.

Hard work and sacrifice drive the success of small businesses. Governments want money. They are not bent on advancing the cause of foreign born people while victimizing everyone else.

“A lot of our immigrants have a stronger work ethic than some typical Americans,” Babcock said. “When they do start a business, they tend to be very successful at it.”

“People are jealous of success,” Babcock said.

Jealousy can cause people to assume the worst.

“How come he’s still in business and mine has failed? So, he must be getting a break,” Babcock said.

In regard to native born business start up success, Babcock said that some people have what it takes to be successful, but a lot of people don’t know what running a business entails.

In regard to his experience with immigrant business owners, Babcock said, “They tend to work long hours, take the business very seriously, and take very little out of the business.”

“Instead of drawing a full salary, which a lot of people want to do when they have a business, they will live a very meager existence, and keep the money in the business,” Babcock said. “That tends to make the business more successful.”

Resources exist for entrepreneurs looking to start businesses. National platforms such as Biz2Credit possess expertise and access to capital from numerous sources.

Local resources like Small Business Development Centers are connected to government entities like the Small Business Administration.

Gannon University is one of 18 universities across Pennsylvania that operate an SBDC to help local businesses, Babcock said.

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Backcock said that Gannon University serves four counties; Erie, Crowford, Mercer, and Warren.

Gannon University SBDC Website

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