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With New Immigrants to U.S., Family Business Traditions Continue

The traditional growth patterns of American family business continues according to data recently released by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Between 1982 and 1997, mostly-immigrant Hispanics and Asians created over 1.4 million businesses in the United States. The percentage of private businesses owned by minorities has more than doubled from 7% to 15% in that period.

The Asian community has been particularly entrepreneurial, forming about one business for every 10 adults. As a result, Asian family income now averages the highest of any racial group in the U.S. -- $55,521 for Asians, $45,904 for Whites, $33,447 for Hispanics and $30,439 for Blacks.

While Asian entrepreneurs have been involved actively in high-tech (25% of Silicon Valley start-ups were done by Asian-Indians or Chinese owners), most businesses have been created in traditional service niches. Ethic food stores and restaurants are most common with Japanese and Thai restaurants joining Chinese and Mexican eateries across the American culinary landscape. Their success echoes the spread of Italian, Greek and Jewish immigrant food purveyors of generations past. Laundries and dry cleaning shops, nail-care salons and other personal service firms have also attracted large numbers of Asian entrepreneurs. In a business that requires more capital, Asian-Indians have become dominant in the economy lodging market. Their more than 17,000 motels and hotels represent over half of that market.

As always has been the case with immigrant entrepreneurs, families pool labor and capital to make their businesses successful. Family businesses from their inception, many of these enterprises will be passed from generation to generation, contributing to strong families and communities, and adding strength and vibrancy to the U.S. economy as a whole.




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