Imagine if you will a world where everyone looked, thought, lived and worked the exact same way. Sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Beyond being yawn inducing, a world in which there are no differences, whether superficial, cultural or intellectual, does little to improve the quality of life for its inhabitants.
Take some of your favorite meals for example. I can guarantee the ingredients include spices, vegetables and fruit that made their way to your plate due to an introduction from a person who is native to someplace far away from your home. Had it not been for these diverse infusions, our palates would suffer.
The same sentiment applies when we think about our nation in terms of business ownership and economic expansion.
In a piece for Inc. magazine, Rohit Arora CEO and co-founder of Biz2Credit listed three examples of how immigrants positively impact our economy: The No.1 example was because they are bold. It takes a lot of gumption to pack up and leave the home you’ve always known in search of something greater. The journey for most is dangerous and uncertain yet every year, millions of immigrants settle in the United States. This boldness, often translates to cutting edge ideas and methods of innovation. The second example Arora gave was the fact that many immigrants are entrepreneurial minded.
The most recent numbers from the US Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners show minority-owned businesses are continuing to grow at rates higher than that of non minority owned businesses. The number of minority-owned business enterprises rose 39 percent (from 5.8 million to 8.0 million) between 2007 and 2012. Unfortunately that number is still low when compared to the growing size of our nation’s minority population.
The same survey examined immigrant owned business and showed immigrants have higher rates of business ownership and formation than non-immigrants as approximately one out of every 10 immigrant workers owns a business.
The final note Arora shared was that immigrants create jobs.
Locally, the state of Indiana has not only experienced a boost in immigrant residents but also in fiscal growth. According to the National Immigration Forum, Indiana’s 25,000-plus Latino- and Asian-owned businesses had combined sales receipts totaling $8 billion in 2012, and they employed more than 49,000 people. Though we are not as progressive in this realm as places like Texas and California, entities like Telamon – whose founder Albert Chin is featured on our cover, are proof of the possibilities that diversity can offer.
Beyond, the hard figures of dollars and cents, diversity makes us as a society more dynamic. Technology has helped to mold a world that is more globally minded and collaborative. It is imperative we not only adapt but when mapping out what the future looks like for Hoosiers, a focus on diversity is at the top of the list.