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Kansas senator looks to pass bill making business development more appealing

While there are millions of immigrants throughout the U.S., one typically doesn’t think of Kansas as being a geographical hub for foreign residents. But based on a recent column written by U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, the junior senator from the Sunflower State, immigrants may want to make Kansas the place they make a living in so they can send money home to their families.

That’s because Moran has given indications that he will spearhead a legislative effort designed to make launching a business in the U.S. more palatable and attractive to would-be entrepreneurs.

The legislation that’s already been introduced is called Startup Act 2.0. As Moran describes it, should the bill be signed into law, multiple strategies and investments would be implemented to help jumpstart the economy and help startup businesses get their companies off the ground. And new businesses are the lifeblood of the country’s financial soundness. Based on a recent study conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, new job growth between 1980 and 2005 primarily came from businesses that were less than five years old at the time.

Since this time, however, business development has slowed.

“Companies launched in 2009 are estimated to create 1 million fewer jobs in their first five to 10 years than historical averages,” said Moran. “And America has slipped from fourth to 13th place since 2007 when ranked on ‘startup friendliness’ because of government policies that stifle economic growth and drive innovators overseas.”

It’s because of this under whelming business growth trend that Moran says he introduced the Startup Act, which was first developed in 2011 but underwent an update last May.

Perhaps the most encouraging component of the bill prospective business owners may take away from it is that Moran and co-sponsors have filled the legislation with incentives for foreign business owners. The junior senator notes that Startup Act 2.0 “creates new opportunities for America-educated, entrepreneurial immigrants to remain in the United States where their talent and ideas can create jobs for Americans.”

One in every four Fortune 500 companies launched by immigrant
It’s clear that immigrants have some of the best historical track records for business success. Moran says that based on a report from the Partnership for a New American Economy, 40 percent of current businesses in the U.S. that made the Fortune 500 list were started by immigrant entrepreneurs.

Fortune 500 is a magazine that produces a yearly list of the country’s 500 most-prosperous companies in terms of revenue.

Multiple countries have already implemented similar pieces of legislation, Moran notes, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Australia.

In order for the U.S. to pass its own economic revitalization bill, Moran adds, members of Congress must put aside their partisanship and work together for the benefit of all Americans, whether native to the country or brand new.

While the Startup Act 2.0 is a national piece of legislation, it’s clear that Moran and his fellow colleagues have witnessed the ingenuity and business savvy of immigrants. Places like California, Texas, Florida and New York have traditionally had some of the highest population rates of immigrants, but the Midwest is fast becoming a place where foreign nationals frequent.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, Kansas is home to nearly 187,000 immigrants. Of these, nearly one-third have gone through the naturalization process and are legally authorized citizens.

In nearby Arkansas, there are an estimated 131,600 immigrants, 32 percent of whom are naturalized.

Comparatively speaking, immigrants represent a small portion of the Razorback State’s 2.9 million population, but they’ve made their presence known in the working world. A recent report from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation based in Little Rock notes that immigrants comprise a “significant share” of the state’s major industries, such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture.

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