Silicon Valley’s New Immigrant Entrepreneurs (Working Paper #15)
AnnaLee Saxenian, University of California, Santa Cruz
Summary: This study examines the entrepreneurial contribution of highly skilled immigrants–in this case immigrant scientists and engineers–to the Silicon Valley economy. It has four goals. First, it quantifies immigrant engineers’ and entrepreneurs’ presence in and contribution to the Silicon Valley economy. Second, the study examines the extent to which foreign-born engineers are organizing ethnic networks in the region like those found in traditional immigrant enterprises to support the often risky process of starting new technology businesses. Third, it analyzes how these skilled immigrants build long-distance social and economic networks back to their home countries that further enhance entrepreneurial opportunities within Silicon Valley. Finally, it explores the implications of this new model of immigrantled globalization for public policy.