New American Entrepreneurs: Resources for Immigrant Business Owners

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, a time to continue supporting the phenomenal achievements and contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs in the U.S.! Whether you’re an immigrant entrepreneur who’s working hard to grow your business, or you’re working with a new American business owner, you’ll find low-cost resources to inspire and support future successes in this guide.

How immigrant entrepreneurs are making an impact

For hundreds of years, immigrant entrepreneurs have come to the U.S. with ideas that fuel America’s economy and, often, change the world. In fact, according to the American Immigration Council 44.8% of businesses listed on the Fortune 500® in 2023 are the result of hard work and creativity of new, first-, and second-generation Americans.

Vision, dedication and strong work ethics continue to be hallmarks of many successful immigrant entrepreneurs, whether they operate retail stores or started businesses in technology, manufacturing, design, food or fashion. These inherent traits are also generating impressive numbers. In 2022, a report found that more than $7 trillion in revenue was generated by Fortune 500 companies founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.

While your immigrant-owned business faces unique challenges, you don’t have to go it alone. There are more community resources available to you than ever before, and you’ll find support for funding, legal issues, expansion, and more below.

Funding resources for immigrant entrepreneurs

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, immigrant entrepreneurs tend to have more startup funding available than native-born American entrepreneurs. This funding typically comes from personal savings and from loans from family members and members of their communities.

Despite this, there are still inequities depending on cultural and geographic variables. For example, per a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Hispanic immigrant-owned businesses have lower levels of startup capital than all immigrant-owned businesses, and Asian immigrant-owned businesses have higher levels of startup capital.

When funding is needed, many immigrant entrepreneurs face similar challenges to others in the small business community. Insufficient credit histories or a lack of banking relationships can make it difficult to secure the capital needed to grow.

Luckily, there are many reputable alternative lenders that work with immigrant entrepreneurs like you to gain access to funding with fair terms. Here are some helpful resources:

  • Pursuit has a range of free and low cost business advisory services available throughout New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. By working with our network of consultants, you can prepare to apply for loans, get financial management training, find support for your marketing strategy and more. These services are available in Spanish, French and English.
  • New York City’s Department of Small Business Services launched a new Immigrant Business Initiative specifically to meet the needs of immigrant entrepreneurs. Through this initiative, you’ll find business courses, pro bono legal help, and access to low-cost loans, with support available in at least eight languages.
  • Accompany Capital is another New York City-based resource for immigrant entrepreneurs. This organization can work with you to start and grow your business, as well as grow your personal wealth through homeownership and other avenues.
  • In Buffalo, Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) provides business and personal resources for New Americans, with services available in many of the 60+ languages spoken in the area.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country work with immigrant entrepreneurs to create business plans, build business networks, organize financial information and prepare for the loan process.

Resources for legal assistance for immigrant entrepreneurs

For many immigrants entrepreneurs, the number of local, state and federal legal and licensing laws and regulations is both a surprise and a barrier, and compliance can present major hurdles. In addition to the previously mentioned resources, you can work with the following organizations to navigate the legal and regulatory landscape:

  • Legal Services NYC offers pro bono legal services by using more than 2,000 volunteers from nearly 100 law firms and corporations. These volunteers collectively impact more than 7,000 low-income people and donate more than 70,000 hours annually.
  • New York State’s Office for New Americans, offers workshops, mentoring and counseling throughout New York State on a variety of topics, from English-language classes to financing opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs.
  • In Western New York, Neighborhood Legal Services and the Volunteer Lawyers Project can assist or direct you to resourcesfor startup and growth issues.
  • In New York City, the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project provides legal guidance for immigrant entrepreneurs.
  • ActionNYC provides additional legal guidance and resources for low-income immigrants in New York’s five boroughs.

Resources for immigrant entrepreneurs to access new markets

Coming to a country as large as the U.S. offers the potential to reach more customers, but doing so comes with challenges. Fortunately, the following community-based business resources can help:

  • Start Small Think Big offers free small business support by providing essential resources, expert guidance, and services tailored to your immediate business needs. Explore how their marketing program empowers business owners, including immigrant entrepreneurs, to generate leads, cultivate connections, and effectively communicate with their customers and supporters to drive sales.
  • SBDCs can guide you to a wealth of industry-related resources to gain a foothold in manufacturing, technology and many other industries.
  • Empire State Development’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Certification has given hundreds of immigrant small business owners access to competitive and potentially lucrative New York State government contracts.
  • Immigrant Business is dedicated to providing information on opportunities and challenges facing immigrant entrepreneurs. This online publication covers success stories, tips to grow your business, and the latest news on immigration in the U.S.

Resources for franchise opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs

Many immigrant business owners buy franchises to start their businesses. This approach offers several advantages, including built-in product development, branding, marketing and guidance on legal, insurance and human resource compliance, among many other items. Franchises offer ready to go business opportunities and some of them reduce some of the risks associated with starting a business. The following resources can help you find franchise opportunities in a range of purchase prices and industries:

  • Entrepreneur’s 2024 Franchise 500 list offers an overview of franchise opportunities and startup costs.
  • shares advice and resources that can help you start or expand your franchise in a range of industries.
  • is an online resource that shares available franchise opportunities, as well as articles and resources for new and experienced franchisees.

Pursuit is here to support small business success

Pursuit has experienced business advisors and lending experts throughout Connecticut, New York State, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania who are able to help immigrant entrepreneurs with financing needs. Contact us today to find out more about how we can work together.

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