Immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs were vital to the recovery of regional economies in past recessions, especially after the Great Recession. In Toolkit: Supporting Immigrant & Refugee Entrepreneurs, a report by Bloomberg Associates and the New American Economy, the authors argue that promoting immigrant entrepreneurship will be crucial to helping local economies recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though immigrants have outsized rates of entrepreneurship, they face many barriers to entry, growth and recovery in the business world, often lacking adequate access to capital and facing cultural and language barriers. COVID-19 has exacerbated these challenges, as federal relief programs have largely excluded immigrants, and immigrants often own businesses in the general services industry, which has been severely impacted by the recession. The toolkit uses examples from cities across the country to set out a range of specific measures local leaders can take to support immigrant entrepreneurs in their communities, such as creating a local task force to support new Americans, leveraging community-based organizations, guiding entrepreneurs through the start-up process and increasing access to capital. The authors offer case studies, a self-assessment checklist and resources so local leaders can better identify areas for action and improvement. (Jillian DiPersio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
Toolkit: Supporting Immigrant & Refugee Entrepreneurs,
Bloomberg Associates, Bloomberg Philanthropies, & New American Economy,
August 2020, 38 pp.