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Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Call In And Tell Us About Your Hustle




Iririn Sririda, the owner of a Thai food stall, So Zaap,  photographed at the East Hollywood Farmer's Market on Hollywood Boulevard on June 6, 2019
Iririn Sririda, the owner of a Thai food stall, So Zaap, photographed at the East Hollywood Farmer's Market on Hollywood Boulevard on June 6, 2019
James Bernal

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Immigrants take big risks coming to California. When they get here, many decide to take another risk: launching their own company.

Immigrants are actually more likely to start a business than people born here. California consistently ranks as one of the states most reliant on immigrants for new business creation.

“California is very much a hotbed of immigrant entrepreneurship,” said Harvard Business School professor Bill Kerr.

Nationwide, about 25% of new companies are founded by immigrants, according to Kerr’s research. But that rises to about 42% in California.

Immigrants in California are starting everything from strip mall restaurants to some of the state’s largest employers — and they’ve shaped California’s economy in the process.

Nearly half of California’s Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants. And that’s a boon for job creation and tax revenue throughout the state.

On a more local level, almost two thirds of L.A.’s “main street” businesses — think dry cleaners, restaurants and nail salons — are immigrant-owned, according to a 2015 study and immigrant owned businesses generate around $3.5 billion, or 45.6 percent of all self employed income in the city.

You can read more of David Wagner’s article here.

With guest host Kyle Stokes

Guests:

David Wagner, business and economy reporter for KPCC; he tweets @radiowagner

Chancee Martorell, executive director of the Thai Community Development Center in Los Angeles

Dan Kosten, Policy and Advocacy Assistant Director for Skills and Workforce Development at the  National Immigration Forum, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to America