Is there a real advantage to immigrant success? It’s difficult to argue in favor of it. Even though they represent 13.5 percent of the U.S. population, more than 27 percent are U.S. entrepreneurs. Forty-three percent of companies on the 2017 Fortune 500 list were founded or co-founded by an immigrant or child of an immigrant. Immigrants are four times more likely to become millionaires and two times more likely to start their businesses.
Five immigrant CEOs and entrepreneurs have been successfully shared their knowledge and skills. They offer valuable advice for all who want to reach the top.
1. Aim for success by cultivating a spirit of resilience and ingenuity.
Roman Martynenko (COO of Astound Commerce), the world’s largest independent digital agency for commerce, said that “it’s all in our heads!” We are aware that no one will give us silver platters. Every win requires sweat and tears.” This attitude is a product of the environment from which they come.
For example, Francis Dinha, CEO of open source security provider OpenVPN, emigrated from Iraq to escape Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime. He told me that it was perilous. “I was witness to bombings and witnessed people being executed for speaking out against government policies, and many other things.”
Aurimas Adomavicius, president and co-founder of custom software design company Devbridge Group, sees it as a byproduct of living in “an ecosystem of the deficit” where the odds for success are stacked against you. Adomavicius, a Lithuanian immigrant of the first generation, came to the United States from Lithuania. His parents brought him to the US as a child. He believes that his environment helped to create a desire for self-preservation and a hunger for success.
2. Make use of a support network.
For immigrants, the notion that no one is successful alone is particularly true. I SPOKE TO executives I spoke to cited the importance of family, community, and friends who share a common interest in their success.
Adomavicius told how his mother used to take him on drawing adventures with children twice his age. He was just six when his father built the first computer for him.
Not only is the influence and presence of parents significant, but so are other types of support systems that can help you succeed. Martynenko was very fortunate to have two fellow Soviet Union students in college. These three friends shared a passion and entrepreneurial spirit, which inspired them to start their businesses.
Martynenko states, “Without any networks to rely upon, my partners and I built our own.” We learned to be selective about our relationships and to guard our reputation at every cost.
3. Have a passion for learning.
Martynenko captured this sentiment of successful immigrants: “Although all our material possessions were gone, no one can take away my parent’s education and zeal to learn.”
Adnan Mahmud was the CEO and founder of LiveStories. He came from Bangladesh to seek out the best education for himself and his family.
A lot has been written about college degrees’ declining value. I spoke to successful individuals who see educational attainment only as a sign of the broader zeal for knowledge that successful people embody.
The Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti summed it up: “There is no end to education. It is not as simple as reading a book and passing an examination. Everything in life, from the moment of your birth to your death, is a process that involves learning.
4. Understanding and seeing problems from a deeper perspective is vital. You can build or find a company to help you solve these problems.
The ability to think creatively, recognize problems previously unsolved, and overcome challenges with unique solutions is essential for creating new ideas and finding solutions.
Studying abroad for even one semester has been shown to increase creativity in college students. Imagine the benefits of adapting to a new culture and living there.
Nishu Thukral emigrated to the U.S. as a young adult from Kuwait and works today as CEO of Pangea Money Transfer. He understands firsthand the frustrations that immigrants experience when sending money back to their home countries. This is why he found a company with whom he could have a personal connection, which was essential for his daily motivation.
LiveStories’ Mahmud also has a keen understanding of the problems that his company solves. His father worked for the Bangladeshi government that is consistently ranked amongst the most corrupt in the world. His father wasn’t evil, but he did see many examples through him.
Mahmud said, “I had a front-row seat to see how information can be manipulated for the benefit few.” “That image stuck with me. Subconsciously, it led me into starting LiveStories to help governments around the world use and communicate information more effectively.”
5. Keep trying to change.
The conscious pursuit of change is the reason many choose to move to another country. Many see it as a matter of survival.
Mahmud said that fear is a great motivator. “Immigrants understand what they are running to, and that drives their determination to ensure their new life does not reflect their old circumstances.”
Each aspect of the immigrant’s life in a new country changes and makes them more open-minded and flexible.
Dinha explains that “Immigrants have to work incredibly hard to adapt to a different culture and way of doing things.” Because of language, cultural and social barriers, they often have to work harder and be more knowledgeable than their native-born counterparts.
Martynenko states that “we didn’t have any luxury of failing.” “We could quickly pivot and change when things weren’t going according to plan, which reduced losses and allowed us to identify what worked.”
In the end, immigrant advantages have less to do with w/unique talents than they do with freedom. Native-born citizens have the same opportunities to benefit from every skill that makes immigrants successful. This is why seeing, appreciating, and taking advantage of options is the most important lesson anyone can learn.
Dinha puts it perfectly: “An Immigrant knows a Good Opportunity when he/she sees one; this is how they got here in the first place.”