Passports and visas

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: GM goes public on Thursday. And a Chinese automaker is expected to be one of the big buyers of GM shares. That same story is playing out in the world of entrepreneurship. With the U.S. facing ever-greater competition from abroad. Especially from Asia.

From the Marketplace Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman Reports.


MITCHELL HARTMAN: An analysis by Bloomberg found that Asian companies will garner two-thirds of the capital from initial public offerings this year. U.S. companies will get just about 10 percent. A decade ago, U.S. IPOs were way out in front and companies in Asia weren't ready to go public.

VIVEK WADHWA: Five or six years ago, I was not impressed with what I saw.

That's Berkeley researcher Vivek Wadhwa and I reached him in Bangalore, India. He'd just been teaching entrepreneurs in Malaysia, and was on his way to China.

WADHWA: Today I'm absolutely completely blown away by the energy, by the enthusiasm, and by the quality of companies I'm seeing in both India and China. Move forward five years, these countries will dwarf the U.S. in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Asian companies are already raising a lot of money to grow from investors in Asia and the U.S. Emily Mendell of the National Venture Capital Association explains where that leads.

EMILY MENDELL: Increased interest in investing in China, investing in Asia. The results of that won't be seen for some time because again a venture capital investment is typically five to 10 years.

Mendell says Asian governments have changed tax laws and regulations to make investment more attractive. Vivek Wadhwa says they're also starting to crack down on graft and bureaucracy.

WADHWA: The Indian and Chinese governments, even though they're corrupt, they know that their future lies in allowing this entrepreneurship and allowing the innovation to happen.

That same energy is spilling over into the U.S., says Robert Litan of the Kauffman Foundation.

ROBERT LITAN: Roughly one quarter of our successful high-tech companies have been founded or co-founded by immigrants over the last decade.

Litan wants the U.S. to grab even more of that startup spirit.

LITAN: And so if I could wave a magic wand, all those foreign immigrants that are now at American universities, I would give them a green card as soon as they graduate and let them stay here. Because we know disproportionately they will found new firms and create more jobs.

Litan supports a new "Entrepreneurs Visa" for immigrants who start a business and employ someone other than a family member.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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