4 Little-Known Facts about Immigrants and Company Founders

What do Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs all have in common?

According to an analysis by the Center of American Entrepreneurship:

1. 43% of the Fortune 500 companies in 2017 (the 500 largest US companies measured by sales revenues last year) were founded or co-founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant (see graphic above).

2. The occurrence of first- or second-generation immigrant founders is significantly higher among the largest Fortune 500 companies, accounting for 52% (and 13) of the top 25 firms and 57% (and 20) of the top 35 firms.

3. Immigrant-founded Fortune 500 firms are headquartered in 33 of the 50 states, employ 12.8 million people worldwide, and accounted for $5.3 trillion in global revenue in 2016.

Research demonstrates the Importance of immigrants to the creation and growth of America’s largest and most valuable companies.

4. Examples of immigrant founders or second-generation immigrant founders include:

  • Steve Jobs (Apple), second-generation of immigrant parents from Syria
  • Alexander Graham Bell (AT&T), immigrant from Scotland
  • Henry Ford (Ford Motor Co.), second generation of immigrant parents from Ireland
  • Jeff Bezos (Amazon), second generation of immigrant parents from Cuba
  • Bernie Marcus (Home Depot), second generation of immigrant parents from Russia
  • Sergey Brin (Alphabet/Google), immigrant from Russia
  • Eduardo Saverin (Facebook), immigrant from Brazil
  • John W. Nordstrom (Nordstrom’s), immigrant from Sweden
  • Elon Musk (Tesla), immigrant from South Africa
  • Jerry Yang (Yahoo), immigrant from Taiwan
  • Marc Randolph (Netflix), second generation of immigrant parents from Austria
  • Pierre Omidyar (eBay), immigrant from France

Bottom Line: “The findings of CAE’s analysis — along with a vast research literature — demonstrate the remarkable and persistent importance of immigrants to the creation and growth of America’s largest, most successful, and most valuable companies.”

Reprinted from American Enterprise Institute.

Further Reading

{{article.Title}}

{{article.BodyText}}