In the wake of a proposed Muslim registry from the Trump administration, Elizabeth MacBride, an expert on Middle East entrepreneurs, penned this op-ed about the need for immigrants to continue to fuel the U.S. economy. She cites that 40% of the companies in the Fortune 500 in 2010 were founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, and that Iranian Americans (many of which emigrated to the U.S. as young children, after the revolution) were more than three times as likely to be self-employed and entrepreneurial compared to native-born Americans.
In the piece, Ms. MacBride makes the point that many Iranian Americans have “founded, funded or been deeply involved” in some of the greatest tech achievements in Silicon Valley. For example, Pierre Omidyar is the son of Iranian immigrants and went on to found eBay; Farhad Mohit, “a brilliant serial entrepreneur,” is founder of Bizrate.com and Shopzilla; and Ali Partovi founded LinkExchange (which was acquired by Microsoft for $265 million) and has since gone on to invest in Dropbox, Facebook and Uber.
Ms. MacBride concludes, “in the business community, there may be no hue and cry over a registry. Most business people have little taste for controversy. But in a global marketplace of talent, where cities from Amsterdam to Dubai and Singapore are rising fast, people will go where they feel wanted and safe. Entrepreneurs, or budding entrepreneurs, of all races and creeds will give a second thought to coming to America.”