As a state known for its distinct but welcoming culture, expanding economy, natural beauty, and openness to new ideas, Colorado represents a wealth of opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs. As of 2015, Colorado had the fourth-largest number of start-up companies in the United States, up from seventh-place in 2014. As of the 2006-2010 American Community Survey, immigrants owned about 9.7% of businesses in the state; a number which has continued to expand as state officials recognize the value of diversity and put programs in place to encourage enterprising individuals from across the globe to make Colorado their new home.
Colorado Immigration Economy and Growth
Immigrant entrepreneurs looking to start businesses within the business and services sector (including technology), leisure and hospitality, education and health, and trade, transportation, and utilities industries can expect to be met with especially widespread need for their products and services, and a market open to new and exciting ideas. Overall, Colorado’s economy is thriving. In 2014, about 72,900 jobs were added in Colorado, according to the Colorado Business Economic Outlook report from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the state is expected to add about 61,500 new jobs by the end of 2016.
CNBC’s list of “Top States for Business for 2010” named Colorado the third-best state in the country, and it is home to several world-renowned companies, including Samsonite, Russell Stover Candies, and Coors Beer. Many of its most successful companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants, like Palestinian Jesse Aweida, who founded Storage Technology. Latinos and Asians control $30.6 billion in consumer purchasing power in Colorado, and businesses owned by Latinos and Asians had sales and receipts of over $10 billion and employed about 65,000 people.
Colorado’s median household income in 2014 was $7,646 higher than the national median income, at $61,303. Although the cost of living can be higher than in several other states, the average Colorado resident earns enough disposable income to purchase products and services from immigrant entrepreneurs.
Overview of Denver
Immigrant entrepreneurs looking for both a satisfying lifestyle and ample business opportunities need look no further than the “Mile-High City.” In 2016, the U.S. News and World Report named Denver the best place to live in the United States. Denver’s estimated 2015 population was 682,545, and it is categorized as a Beta – world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its population grew by 2.8% in 2015 alone, making it the fastest-growing major city in the United States. In 2015, the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area had an estimated population of 2,814,330 and was the 19th most heavily-populated metropolitan statistical area in the U.S., and the 12-city Denver-Aurora, CO Combined Statistical Area had an approximate 2015 population of 3,418,876, making it the 16th most densely inhabited U.S. metropolitan area.
Denver is the 18th-largest metro economy in the U.S., and the MSA had a gross metropolitan product of $157.6 billion in 2010. One of Denver’s greatest assets is its geographical location. Nestled at the foot of the scenic Southern Rocky Mountains, it is equidistant from major cities in both the Midwest and the West Coast, it is able to serve as a hub for distribution and storage of goods. Its geography also makes it a natural fit as a location for government operations, and several federal agencies have offices in Denver. Denver has also experienced success as a forerunner in the fast casual restaurant industry; an industry popular with foreign entrepreneurs, particularly those seeking an E-2 Treaty investor visa or the EB-5 Direct Investment visa. Several widespread national chain restaurants were founded and based in Denver, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Quizno’s, and Smashburger. According to Forbes’s 2015 list of Best Places for Business and Careers, Denver is the top city in the U.S. for those looking to establish themselves and succeed in their chosen industry.
Assistance for Colorado Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Colorado values its immigrant population, and recognizes the social and economic advantages of a diverse community. The state has several programs in place to help immigrant entrepreneurs and their families adjust to their new home and integrate successfully, in both their business and social lives. The Colorado Trust runs the Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Families initiative (SIRFI), which supplies 19 grants to communities all over the state. Its focus is to assist with all facets of integration for immigrants while allowing them to maintain their national identity. Welcoming Colorado, a branch of Welcoming America, offers similar support, and hosts events and workshops related to immigration.
Denver, specifically, offers its immigrant entrepreneurs a wealth of support. The city sees immigrants as a “valuable component of Denver’s community” and recognizes that they “contribute to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the city.” Denver’s Office of Community support offers a variety of classes, including English lessons, and makes an effort to ensure immigrants begin their new life with every possible advantage.
Immigrant entrepreneurs comprise an integral part of Colorado’s culture, and play a vital role in the state’s continued economic success. The state has many programs in place to make the transition to the United States as smooth as possible, and its status as a national leader in business makes it a strategic location for immigrant entrepreneurs to establish their businesses in a thriving market.
About the JDC Consultancy U.S. State Featurettes
Moving to the United States to make a new start as a foreign entrepreneur is a challenging process. U.S. visa applicants face a huge number of critical decisions before submitting their visa application, one of the most important of which is deciding which State will offer the best environment for their business to grow and thrive, and provide the optimal environment for their families. Each State has its own opportunities and industry specializations, and a company that sees tremendous growth in one State might not see the same results in another.
In order to help its clients decide which State will serve as the most advantageous home base, both for their businesses and their families, and further streamline the visa application process, JDC Consultancy publishes brief overviews of what each State has to offer its immigrant entrepreneurs. These featurettes showcase each State’s strengths, in this case, Colorado, and provide valuable insight and statistics to help immigrant entrepreneurs make the all-important decision of which State they, and their businesses, should call home.