Participating in university entrepreneurship programs does little to offset the differences in entrepreneurship rates caused by immigration status and having parents who are entrepreneurs, according to this study.
Yong Suk Lee and Chuck Eesley surveyed all living Stanford University alumni who graduated between the 1930s and 2010s, regardless of whether they had become entrepreneurs, and found the following.
- Entrepreneurship rates varied significantly by ethnicity and immigration status. Asian Americans had a higher rate of entrepreneurship than white Americans and a 12 percent higher rate than non-American Asians.
- The parental rate of entrepreneurship was one of the stronger factors behind this discrepancy. Korean students were 51 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs if they had parents who were entrepreneurs, and Chinese students were 75 percent more likely, compared to 23 percent for US citizens.
- This same discrepancy between American and non-American Asians held not only for the decision to become an entrepreneur, but also becoming an angel or VC investor or using Stanford’s networks to raise funds or find partners
- While participating in Stanford’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Stanford Technology Venture Program correlated with higher entrepreneurship rates, this participation does not seem to have closed the gap based on parental entrepreneurship, or between Asian Americans and non-American Asians
For Asian governments, this highlights the importance of an entrepreneurial push that breaks this cycle of low entrepreneurship rates and high inter-generational correlation. Policies that incorporate Asian Americans within their home countries could go a long way towards breaking this cycle – especially after further research into different patterns of returnee entrepreneurs. For the US, helping high-skilled immigrants become established within their communities and developing university courses that are tailored to immigrant entrepreneurs are some ways to stimulate entrepreneurship and create high-growth companies.
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Contributed by Maha AbdelAzim.