Foster Innovation in America
Fostering continued innovation in America is also one of the most important things to the future of our country. America is one of the best places to start and run a business, and we need to ensure it stays that way. With regards to both the private and the public sector, we need policies that foster creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurialism and more. When it comes to government-related policies toward the tech industry, we need a level of wisdom beyond what is typically employed. Our governmental leaders do this to a degree, but I still strongly encourage a much deeper engagement with our technology industry leaders than currently exists.
In my opinion, the U.S. needs an immigration philosophy that supports and makes it easy for immigrants to start companies and keep them U.S.-based. Here are few facts on this point from a report by the Partnership for a New American Economy:
– Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants employ more than 10 million people worldwide.
– More than 40 percent of the 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children.
– Seven of the 10 most valuable brands in the world come from American companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants. Five of those seven are tech companies (Apple is one of them).
– In 2010, companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants to the United States generated more than $4.2 trillion in revenues. That’s a figure that exceeds the 2010 gross domestic product of all but two other countries in the world.
Many of the best and brightest from other countries come to America to get a higher education, yet the Center for Public Policy Innovation estimates that over 50,000 workers with advanced degrees leave the country for better opportunities elsewhere. This is because they can’t get work visas and must leave the U.S. to find work that makes use of their degrees.
In fact, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration’s Services updates in 2007 and 2008, visas for temporary high-skilled workers were in such short supply that they ran out of the entire year’s worth of visas in less than a week. We need to make sure that the “better opportunities foreign” workers leave for exist in the United States.
The spirit of entrepreneurialism is ripe in our county — especially in Silicon Valley, where I live and work. Just a casual walk through downtown Palo Alto and you’ll sense the hustle and bustle of start-up life. We joke that starting companies in Silicon Valley is like a second language to many folks. We even have a conference called Teens in Tech that celebrates and encourages entrepreneurialism at a young age. According to a forecast by the U.S. government, we could see a shortage of 20 million workers by 2026. Preparing for that future by creating jobs must also come from companies and innovators not born in the U.S. as well.
While much technological innovation has taken place in the past 30 years, I believe that we’re just now at the beginning stages of one of the most technologically innovative time periods in our world’s history. It’s important that we ensure the new technological advancements, technology companies and innovations come from the United States.
Ben Bajarin is the director of consumer technology analysis and research at Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm in Silicon Valley.