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Immigrant, Latino entrepreneurship is double what it used to be

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In a post-recession economy, immigrants and Latinos have been driving new business creation at an astonishing rate, according to a new study

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation released its annual startup index last week, which found that Latinos accounted for 22.1 percent of new businesses in 2014, up from 20.4 percent in 2015 and a mere 10 percent in 1996. That means that Latino entrepreneurship has doubled in the last two decades.

Immigrants entrepreneurs from all backgrounds now make up 28.5 percent of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S. Last year, they started new companies or became self-employed at about twice the rate at native-born Americans. 

The doubling of Latino business startups is reflective of the larger immigrant experience as well. Less than twenty years ago, total new immigrant entrepreneurship was at 13.3 percent. 

Along ethnic lines, these new entrepreneurs are more diverse today than ever before at 40 percent Black, Latino, Asian, or other non-white groups. This is up from 10 percent in 1997. Kauffman-funded researchers found that Latinos and Asians made up the bulk of this new growth.

Still, the surge of diversity and growth in minority groups is not necessarily indicative of a larger economic comeback.

“This rebound in entrepreneurial activity lines up with the strength we’ve seen in other economic indicators, and should generate hope for further economic expansion,” said Dane Stangler, vice president of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation, in a news release. “But it’s important to view this short-term uptick in context of the bigger picture – we are still in a long-term decline of activity, which affects job creation, innovation and economic growth.”

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