Skip to content.

Berkeley Engineering

Educating Leaders. Creating Knowledge. Serving Society.

You are here: Home News Center Publications Engineering News Archive Engineering News, Vol. 78, No. 8F Immigrants a “driving force” in U.S. companies
Document Actions

Immigrants a “driving force” in U.S. companies

A study released earlier this year by the UC Berkeley School of Information and Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University tracked the educational backgrounds of immigrant entrepreneurs who were key founders of technology and engineering companies from 1995 to 2005. The report, Education, Entrepreneurship and Immigration, shows a strong correlation between educational attainment-particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math-and entrepreneurship. It concludes that immigrants are an increasingly significant driving force in creating new U.S. businesses and intellectual property. Among the findings:

25.3% There was at least one immigrant key founder in 25.3% of all engineering and technology companies established in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005.

$52 billion. The study estimated that, nationwide, immigrant-founded companies generated more than $52 billion in 2005 sales and created nearly 450,000 jobs as of 2005. The majority of these immigrant entrepreneurs came from India, United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, Japan and Germany.

96% Of the immigrant founders, 96 percent held bachelor's degrees and 74 percent held graduate or postgraduate degrees, including 26.8 percent with Ph.D.s and 47.2 percent with master's.

1.6% Only 1.6 percent of these immigrants came to the United States to start a business. Most, 52.3 percent, came for higher education, and 39.8 percent came for jobs.

53% Of immigrant founders of tech and engineering firms, 53 percent completed their highest degrees at U.S. universities, and about 72 percent of those degrees were in three fields: engineering (43.5 percent), computer science/information technology (18.5 percent) and applied sciences (10 percent).

31% Of the engineering and technology companies founded between 1995 and 2005 in the 11 technology centers surveyed, 31 percent had an immigrant as a key founder, compared to the national average of 25.3 percent.