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Nevada: Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Innovation in the Silver State

In Nevada, there is no doubt that immigrant entrepreneurs and innovators play an important role. Immigrant entrepreneurs bring in additional revenue, create jobs, and contribute significantly to the state’s economy. Furthermore, highly skilled immigrants are vital to the state’s innovation industries and to the metropolitan areas within the state, helping to boost local economies.

Immigrant entrepreneurs contribute significantly to Nevada’s economy.

  • From 2006 to 2010, there were 20,000 new immigrant business owners in Nevada and in 2010, 20.7 percent of all business owners in Nevada were foreign-born.
  • In 2010, new immigrant business owners had total net business income of $1.1 billion, which is 16.8 percent of all net business income in the state.
  • Nevada is home to successful companies with at least one founder who was an immigrant or child of an immigrant, including the Las Vegas Sands international resort company and MGM Resorts International. Those two companies together employ over 100,000 people and bring in $17.3 billion in revenue each year.

Highly skilled immigrants are vital to Nevada’s innovation industries, which in turn helps lead American innovation and creates jobs.

  • Immigrants contribute to Nevada’s economic growth and competitiveness by earning degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields from the state’s research universities. In 2009, over one in three STEM graduates earning masters or PhD degrees from the state’s research-intensive universities were foreign-born, and over 72 percent of graduates earning PhDs in engineering in Illinois were not born in the U.S.
  • In 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor certified 844 H-1B high-skilled visa labor certification applications in Nevada, with an average annual wage of $63,197. This is higher than Nevada’s median household income of $55,553 or per capita income of $27,625.
  • An expansion of the high-skilled visa program would create an estimated 2,800 new jobs in Nevada by 2020. By 2045, this expansion would add around $1.6 billion to Gross State Product and increase personal income by more than $1.3 billion. The following is an example of a metropolitan area’s demand for high-skilled foreign-born workers.
    • The Las Vegas-Paradise metropolitan area had 780 H-1B visa requests in 2010-2011, with 47.5 percent of H-1B visa-holders working in STEM occupations. Major employers with a need for H-1B high-skilled workers include the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Bally Gaming Inc.

While the numbers are compelling, they don’t tell the whole story.

  • Immigrant entrepreneurs not only contribute to large innovative companies, but also to small business formation in local communities. In towns across Nevada, immigrant family-owned small businesses contribute to the vitality of their local communities. Although initially aimed at other immigrant customers, many businesses quickly see an expansion of their clientele to include a diverse array of immigrant and native-born customers alike.
    • According to the Nevada Restaurant Association, for example, “immigrants are an important part of our restaurant industry’s heritage, and one of its strengths is the diversity in the industry’s ethnic cuisines and immigrant-owned operations.”
  • In the Las Vegas Valley of southern Nevada, ethnic and immigrant-owned shops, restaurants, and markets include  a distinctly Latino neighborhood in the area’s northeast and a pan-Asian community in the valley’s near west.
    • West of the Las Vegas Strip, along Spring Mountain Road, Chinatown Plaza is a shopping center development designed to evoke Tong Dynasty architecture and features Las Vegas’ largest concentration of Asian businesses. Along with a variety of region-specific Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, and other Asian restaurants, the plaza also contains many Asian businesses and services.
    • Also along Spring Mountain Road, Korea Town Plaza is another shopping center development designed to house Asian restaurants, shops, and other businesses. The shopping plaza, which opened in 2009, features a supermarket, a food court with specialty food vendors, as well as other retail and services. The shopping center, along with Chinatown Plaza, is part of an informal Asian business district in west Las Vegas.
    • A variety of businesses catering to metro Las Vegas’ growing Hispanic immigrant community are found throughout the valley, but particularly east and northeast of the Las Vegas Strip along Eastern Avenue, Nellis Boulevard, East Tropicana Avenue, and Twain Avenue.

Published On: Thu, Sep 05, 2013 | Download File