Tuesday April 27, 2010 | Immigrants in Small Business

April 26, 2010 at 8:45 am | Posted in Coming Up | 15 Comments

There are thousands of small businesses in Charlotte and the surrounding region, many of them mom and pop operations, but these mom and pops were often born in another country. Immigrants are a large and growing source of small business ownership in our region. We look at the types of small businesses that immigrants start, where they are and their impact on Charlotte’s economy.
Juan Pablo Giometti
– Founder, National Hispanic Entrepreneurs Organization
Dr. Ki-Hyun Chun – CEO of The ChunGroup
Alina Macnichol – Executive Director, Charlotte International Cabinet

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  1. A major problem these days is that the U.S. federal government freely gives out A LOT of money (billions of dollars in low-interest loans) each year to recent immigrants to start small businesses, own/operate convenience stores, get low-rate home and car loans, and so on — meanwhile many millions of native born Americans languish in unemployment and economic insecurity.

    There is something deeply wrong with that — why are so many of the local convenience stores owned and operated by immigrants when many millions of native born Americans need jobs?

    • I thank Mike and the staff for reading my comment on air. But the guest was being disingenuous with his answer. Huge numbers of immigrants are indeed receiving billions per year in federal government aid (loans, grants, etc) to start small businesses. And it’s not just convenience stores: it is also restaurants, small grocery stores, beauty salons, car repair shops, landscaping companies, office work of all kinds, second hand shops, dry cleaners, and so on — if you look around you will notice that whole areas of many American cities and towns have been taken over by businesses run by immigrants, and a large proportion of those couldn’t have been started without direct assistance from the U.S. federal government.

      I am all about entrepreneurship, but my question still stands: why is the federal government helping or even fully subsidizing so many immigrants to start their own small businesses when many millions of native-born Americans are unemployed or underemployed?

      • Read my comment, just added. I guess I’m not alone. Thanks for your insight.

  2. My dear friend look at the big picture, why we did not have this problem in 1950 to 1980? people are telling you to look-away look-away down south of the border or off shore to a distant lands! no look at the big banks big business,and u.s government, I’m retired from General Motors Corp. good credit and the banks will NOT loan me the money for a box of animal crackers to start a business. now if they can get a interest rate for 12 to 15% they just mite.to pay double the money maybe.why is that?
    I also have some true stories to tell you about the auto industry and what happen to GM is more than meets the eye it is called self destruction.. send me a e-mail.

  3. In regards to the “National Hispanic Entrepreneurs Organization,” what would happen if some White Americans decided to start the “National Caucasian Entrepreneurs Organization”?

    Why would Caucasian-Americans be branded as ‘racists’ for creating an identical organization while Hispanic-Americans and other racial/ethnic groups are not? Why the glaring double-standard? Something is surely amiss.

    • Realist~
      We will be in the minority within 10 more years. So then we can start it up…it should be called “Euro-American Heritage Entrepreneurs Association”…I’m cool with that…I’m no racist or xenophobe, just a guy who can play on any playing field as long as it’s fair access.

  4. Is it me, or are African born business owners being left out of the conversation again. I am very aware of a huge community of African born business owners in the Charlotte community (many of which are trained professionals in their respective fields). It’s my notion that their efforts are generally ignored.

    Thank you for causing that change by honoring Dr. Yele Aluko a dear friend and mentor.

  5. Can you ask your guests to comment on “Realist’s” comments regarding loans for immigrants?

  6. I am a a lifelong liberal looking for answers as to why, in this current depressed employment atmosphere, so many immigrants seem to be flourishing. Why are they buying so many small vertically arranged businesses everywhere like news stands, 7-11s and gas stations—which won’t even give me, a natural-born American veteran, a job—preferring to hire among their own. How does this stuff work? Are there federal entitlements in place? Am I stupid to have not noticed this before?

    • PS: I live in an eastern US town with dozens of gas stations and news stands owned by recent immigrants. And I say God bless them. Howver, and this is true, I’ve been out of work for almost a year and have asked every one of the gas stations for part-time work. I never got called back by one. Several even told me outright—we hire from “our own”. Many had open shifts later filled by non-native new hires.

  7. I Love reading these stories. Its funny, because Ive been around the world and met a lot of different nationalities, i have a good understanding of what people think and the way they see life. I immigrated from Africa and found a job that required long hours and hard work. Because im use to this and never complaint I was looked at as the best thing that walked through the gates. Got recognized by different companies and because of that got a lot of offers. After looking into it I learned that what seemed normal to me was “really hard work” to many around me. So the point im trying to make is that we “immigrants” knows what it takes to survive and get somewhere in life. The US Government has spoiled the people by paying them to stay at home with food stamps, welfare etc …. So why go through all that trouble to work hard and achieve something when you can sit at home and get paid?

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