On the Fourth of July, I reread the Declaration of Independence. At the end is a rather important bit: “We have reminded them (the Crown) of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here.” This country was founded by immigrants. Eight signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales. Despite this fact, over the history of our nation newer waves of immigrants, the Irish, the Chinese and the Italians to name a few, have not received a warm welcome. But despite that, immigrants continued to come our shores. 45 million people in this country were born abroad, placing us in first place world wide for immigrant settlement. USA! USA! And we have gotten a huge benefit economically from our immigrants.
According to the New American Economy, approximately 44% of all U.S. Fortune 500 Companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Luis A. Aguilar, Commissioner for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under President Obama, highlighted the role of immigrants in our economy in a speech he gave in 2013. Some of the highlights were (1), small businesses owned by immigrants directly employed 4.7 million people in the U.S., (2) seven of the ten most valuable brands in the world were founded immigrants or their children and (3) the huge role played by Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. As of 2013, three million Hispanic-owned companies were generating over $500 billion in revenue, made up 28% of U.S. small business owners and the number of Hispanic firms are growing more than four times faster than the overall number of U.S. firms. Immigrants, and especially Hispanic immigrants, are integral to the future of the American economy.
I plan to highlight American immigrant manufacturing firms periodically on the blog. The first is AKAS. AKAS was founded in 2007 by Sidharth and Archana Sharma. Sidharth and Archana moved to the U.S. from India with their children Karishma and Ashrey and worked very hard to found their textile and design company. AKAS is truly a family affair: AKAS is formed from the first names of the family members Archana, Karishma, Ashrey and Sidharth! AKAS produces Made in America fabrics with a small environmental footprint produced by members of our extended American family in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Way to go AKAS!