REPOST: The 5 Advantages You Have If You’re an Immigrant Entrepreneur

Some of the world’s largest and most successful companies were founded by first-generation immigrants. Apparently, having cross-cultural experience and diverse funding options, among other factors, are key to thriving even in foreign business environments. Entrepreneur provides more insights on this:



Uber has transformed local transportation in American cities and SpaceX aims to enable Americans to travel to Mars. Chobani is America’s favorite yogurt, while the latest fashion trends from Forever 21 shape the way we dress today. What do these innovative companies share in common? They were all founded by immigrant entrepreneurs.

In the Internet Trends 2017 report prepared by Mary Meeker of KPCB, she shared that 50 percent of the most highly valued technology companies were founded by first-generation immigrants, creating a total of over 48,000 jobs. Also, 60 percent of the most highly valued companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook were founded by first- or second-generation Americans, creating a total of over 1.5 million jobs.

There is a popular belief that it is difficult to start a company in America as an immigrant. Beyond the challenge of getting a work visa, many aspiring entrepreneurs cite lack of network, language barriers and cultural differences as barriers to starting a company. However, in my conversations with many successful immigrant entrepreneurs, there are several key advantages to being a foreign-born entrepreneur. Here are some advantages I would like to urge aspiring entrepreneurs to consider.

1. You have cross-cultural experience you can leverage upon.
 In an interview with Peter Arvai of Prezi, he cited his cross-cultural experiences of living in Sweden, Singapore, Japan, Hungary and America as a huge reason he was able to start Prezi, one of the most popular cloud-based presentation tool today used by over 85 million users globally. Experiencing different cultures allows foreign-born entrepreneurs to synthesize the uniqueness of different cultures and use them to their advantage, and in Arvai’s case, he was able to create a hugely successful global business.

2. Your hunger for success is your biggest advantage.
 Immigrant entrepreneurs are used to working longer hours, pushing harder and reaching for the extra milestone. As a foreign-born entrepreneur, you have had to overcome various challenges and barriers to stay on in America, to assimilate locally, and to give up what you have already achieved in your home country. As a result, you have became stronger and more used to the ups and downs of entrepreneurs. Therefore, you will be more resilient and hungry to achieve success, and to complete what you have set out to do.

3. There are increasingly more funding resources available to immigrant entrepreneurs.
 There are increasingly more resources available to immigrant entrepreneurs. Y Combinator, the widely successful incubator that has produced companies including Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox and Reddit, has shared that it has funded startups from over 60 countries to date and always encourages them to move to Mountain View in California. Immigrant-focused venture capital funds such as Unshackled have also been emerging to focus on helping immigrant entrepreneurs overcome challenges that they face including visa issues, or hiring local employees. There are also increasingly more startup incubators focused on immigrant entrepreneurs including Blk 71 SF and Nordic Innovation House which are in support of Singaporean and Nordic entrepreneurs, respectively.

4. You can use your roots as a leverage for your business.
 America is a melting pot of different culture that is open to diverse cultures. Therefore, many foreign-born entrepreneurs have been able to leverage their cultures, food and diverse background to start a successful business. Growing up with the thicker, strained yogurt in Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani, as he believed that Americans would prefer the flavor of this yogurt to the more watery and sugary flavors available back in 2002. Phil Jaber credited his founding of Philz Coffee to growing up in Palestine where he became an entrepreneur at 8 years old, selling homemade Palestinian coffee to passersby from his family front yard.

5. There are increasing more opportunities for entrepreneurs to obtain a visa.
 Other than the commonly known H-1B visas, there are an array of other visas suitable for entrepreneurs. Before President Barack Obama left office, he initiated the “startup visa” to allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to stay in America. Called the International Entrepreneurs Rule, the visa allows foreigners to apply for “parole status” to stay and build fast-growing startups in the U.S, and it will go into effect March 14, 2018 (It was initially supposed to launch on July 17, 2017, but it got pushed back by the Trump Administration). In addition, there is the O-1 visa, which is granted to individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, and the L-1 visa, which is granted to intra-company transfers from a foreign country into the United States. Also, an innovative nonprofit called Global EIR has pushed for a new program to allow immigrant entrepreneurs to partner with local universities and have these institutions sponsor their visas.

Therefore, as you consider your next step to either start a business or to work for someone, please re-think the various advantages you can leverage. Conventional wisdom may suggest that it is better to take the safe route or even return to your home country to pursue your entrepreneurial dream, but before you choose that route, remember that you can readily tap upon the unique strengths that you possess.

Who are the world’s most generous billionaires?

While it is possible to be a philanthropist even with a small wealth, it is even much easier to become one as a company executive, tycoon, celebrity, or an inheritor of a large business empire.  Being wealthy is not just a showcase of one’s power and influence in the world of business (and even politics), but also a massive opportunity to help the deprived and rebuild lives. But among these ultra-rich individuals, who among them are the most charitable? Here are the top five:

Bill Gates

For years, the planet’s wealthiest man has been among the top philanthropists in the world. In 2015 alone, he donated $1.3 billion to charity, with lifetime donations totaling to $31.5 billion at that point. The Microsoft founder established his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 and its endowment was more than $44 billion at the end of 2014, making it the biggest transparently operated private foundation in the world. It aims to eradicate poverty and improve healthcare on a global scale.

Warren Buffett

An investing legend and top-notch entrepreneur, Warren Buffett has pledged to donate most of his wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011, the Oracle of Omaha was one of the authors of the Giving Pledge, an initiative that encourages ultra-rich individuals and families to give away a large slice of their wealth to charitable causes.

Azim Premji

One of India’s wealthiest people, Azim Premji works hard to reform India’s education and skills development systems. The outsourcing mogul has donated a huge portion of his wealth to improve schools in his country and funded a university that awards degrees in teacher training.

Li Ka-shing

For this Hong Kong-based magnate, giving is his ‘third son.’ In fact, he has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support philanthropic endeavors. His charity organization, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, promotes social progress by supporting projects that improve access to quality education, enhance medical services, encourage cultural diversity, and advocate community involvement. He thinks of his organization as “one of the ideas [he is] most proud of.”

Mark Zuckerberg

A tech genius and certainly among the most impressive millennial success stories, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to donate 99 percent of his wealth to charity in his lifetime. The Facebook founder has been very active in healthcare-related endeavors. He donated $25 million in the fight against Ebola and around $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital. Of course, education and technological innovation are also among the focus areas of his philanthropic activities.

REPOST: Why Athletes Make Amazing Entrepreneurs

Athletes. These individuals possess discipline, solid work ethic, passion, and the kind of competitiveness necessary to carry out a spectacular game. In the world of business, such athletic traits can also serve meaningful purpose for aspiring entrepreneurs, helping them achieve their goals eventually. Here is an article from Influencive for more insights:

Here’s why athletes make perfect entrepreneurs.



It might surprise some that the skillsets and characteristics common among successful athletes can also be found among successful entrepreneurs.

However, the two groups are more similar than you might think – certain traits common among both can lead to success both on and off the field. Here are some reasons why qualities common among successful athletes can translate into the business world.

GRIT

When one thinks of grit, toughness and endurance usually come to mind. It makes sense, then, that grit is necessary to be successful as an athlete. Athletes need to be tough, physically and mentally; they need to be able to endure pain and pressure while maintaining a high level of performance.

Even more importantly, athletes learn from their shortcomings so they can overcome past failures and win the next time. All athletes lose, but the successful ones are the ones who have the perseverance to keep trying until they find success.

The same can be said about entrepreneurs, who need the endurance and toughness to withstand long hours and endless nights trying to get a business going. If an entrepreneur has worked hard enough to get a business off the ground, they’re only going to have to work harder to make their operation sustainable.

Like athletes, entrepreneurs need to be able to operate at a high level, consistently and for long periods of time. Further, like successful athletes, successful entrepreneurs need to be able to learn from their mistakes and move on.

Brendan Candon, the founder of SidelineSwap, is a huge fan of grit; he explained, “We believe it’s incredibly important to encourage participation in sports at the youth level. Sports help to foster resilience and grit at a young age, which helps prepare you for success in the real world.” And he puts his money where his mouth is – through his company’s #GearForAYear scholarship, he awards athletes from grade school through college with $500 worth of sports gear.

In this way, Candon is able to further his mission of providing more access to athletics for deserving kids, and foster grit and resilience – a worthy cause for any company looking to make their impact on the next generation of athletes-turned-entrepreneurs.

TEAMWORK

Many entrepreneurs find that it’s necessary to work in teams for certain undertakings. Oftentimes, financial or physical support is needed to start a business; having one or more partners can ease those concerns. To maximize the potential of all team members, entrepreneurs need to bring out every participant’s strengths.

This is where a common characteristic among athletes can come into play. Take basketball, for instance: each position has a designated function that doesn’t change over the course of a game, just like how team members in a startup have their specific job tasks. Based on each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses, a coach places them in their positions to perfect the system for a collective effort to win the game. Sound familiar?

Just as athletes in team sports need to be team players, entrepreneurs in partnerships need to be able to work with their peers and lead teams effectively for the greater good of the company.

WORK ETHIC

For entrepreneurs, having talent and skill is meaningless if one doesn’t have a strong work ethic to pull off those 60+ hour weeks. Similarly, the best athletes in the world aren’t the best because of their skill. Sure, skill is a very important factor, but it’s worthless if the athlete doesn’t know how to work hard.

The best athletes, such as Serena Williams, LeBron James, and Joe Montana, are the best because they perfected their skill by perfecting their work ethic. A successful athlete can be a successful entrepreneur because that person knows that in order to be successful, they’re going to have to work for it every time.

FOCUS

Stubbornness is often considered a negative quality, since it implies that someone is unwilling to change for the better. However, in the athletic and entrepreneurial worlds, stubbornness – here, called focus – is necessary for success.

Clear focus on the game, and nothing but the game, is critical to winning among athletes. If they let themselves get distracted by other issues, they run the risk of losing sight of what’s important. All athletes do is eat, breathe, and live in their one goal to make sure that they achieve it.

This sense of focus is hugely helpful for any entrepreneur, since they need to be completely focused on setting up their business in order to be successful. With how competitive today’s market is, entrepreneurs need to be willing to only think about their business and focus everything on it, even when it doesn’t pay off right away.

Despite the surface-level differences, athletes and entrepreneurs have more in common than meets the eye. From knowing the value of hard work to being able to perform well in teams, adding former athletes to your entrepreneur circle can be all you need to achieve business success.

 

Where do top celebrities spend their vacation?

With all the fame, influence, and money they have, it is pretty easy for the top celebrities to choose a luxury destination and get there in a jiffy. At least this is the ideal picture; but these popular personalities have very tight schedules and plenty of engagements, which means that they only have a few days or weeks in a year to spend on leisure and relaxation. But when they do, it has to be perfect. Hence, it is very important for them to choose the ‘right’ vacation spot and make every second count. Not surprisingly, beach destinations are their top picks and they include:

 

Maldives. A small archipelago of islands and atolls south of the Indian subcontinent, the Maldives is a perennial entry to many annual lists of the world’s most luxurious island getaways. Its clear turquoise waters, warm weather, relative isolation, and ultra-deluxe resorts offer supreme privacy and exclusivity that celebrities are often deprived of.  Prince William and Kate Middleton, David Beckham, Michael Phelps, and Madonna have all sought to experience the world-famous Maldivian hospitality.

Image source: baros.com

 

St. Barths. The Caribbean has plenty magnificent tropical beaches and islands, but St.Barths, a tiny overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies, is probably the most popular among A-list celebrities. The peak of the travel season is usually on New Year’s Eve, when the rich and famous converge on the island in luxury yachts up to 170 meters in length. Usher, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, and the Kadashians love spending the holidays in this piece of winterless paradise.

Image source: wimco.com

 

Bermuda. This British Overseas Territory in northern Atlantic is not just a popular luxury destination for celebrities, but is also where some of them lived! As a financial center and a tax-neutral jurisdiction, Bermuda attracts plenty of investors—famous people included. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have owned a property in the island for 15 years while The Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey was actually born here! Bermuda is also this year’s host of the America’s Cup.

Image source: gotobermuda.com

 

Rio de Janeiro. Nestled between picturesque mountains and gorgeous beaches, Brazil’s cultural hub is popular among regular tourists and celebrities alike. It is more than just a beach paradise; but also a melting pot of impressive architecture, sporting events, and street parties! In Rio, everything a VIP visitor needs seems so accessible. Hugh Jackman, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears have all been spotted vacationing in the city.

Image source: getyourguide.com

REPOST: Baby boomers are more entitled than millennials—and this research proves it

Millennials have their own way of expressing themselves and managing every aspect of their lives that they are often stereotyped as arrogant and conceited. In the article below from MarketWatch, personal finance writer Quentin Fottrell explains why the case may not be entirely true. Read on:

Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection
Young Americans are constantly told by the media — and, sometimes, their own parents — that they think the world owes them a favor. Bad news for baby boomers: It may be the exact opposite.

Millennials say people should be able to pay for their own housing at 22 years of age, pay for their own car at 20.5 years of age and be responsible for their own cell phone plan at 18.5 years of age, according to a new study from personal-finance site Bankrate.com.

In all three cases, the younger cohort’s average response is about a year and a half earlier than when baby boomers feel these three landmarks of financial independence should happen.

“Millennials are often stereotyped as being entitled,” Sarah Berger, a columnist and analyst at Bankrate.com, said in a statement on the survey released Wednesday. “It’s refreshing to see that millennials really do have high expectations of gaining financial independence and getting off their parents’ payroll.”

The survey tapped a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults. Those respondents living in the Northeast said parents should help with housing costs until their children are 24.5 years of age. That was two years longer than for Midwesterners, 1.5 years longer than for Southerners and about a year longer than for those who live on the West Coast.

The full story HERE.

How effective are celebrities as brand ambassadors?

Using the influence of celebrity as a marketing tool has been around since the 1930s when famous athletes and personalities promoted products that ultimately broke sales records and delivered a generous return on investment.

Today, the same marketing strategy of utilizing the benefits of celebrities as brand ambassadors is rather more challenging and one move can either attract customers to your products or can spell an advertising disaster.

 

 

Image source: ecco-network.com

 

Choose wisely

One crucial step is in choosing a celebrity endorser for a company’s brand. This decision does not only mean selecting a famous face to promote their products; it also means choosing a person whose lifestyle and personality embody the promises of their brands.

 

Statistics don’t lie

In a recent study based on hundreds of marketing contracts involving celebrities, a 20% increase on sales for some brands have been observed right after starting an endorsement deal.  A similar study also revealed a 0.25% rise in the companies’ stocks on the day of a celebrity contract announcement, according to Anita Elberse, associate professor at Harvard Business School.

 

Image source: sporteology.com

 

Stand out

The era of social media and online marketing has provided companies with opportunity to reach millions of audience and potential consumers. However, this unrestricted connectivity also opened a strong and unpredictable competition among businesses. This is where celebrity endorsements matter the most.

 

Authenticity is the key

A celebrity endorser talking about your brand on their social media pages gives your product not only exposure but credibility. However, this is only effective if the personality is genuinely connected to the brand.

 

Undeniably, companies realize the risks of celebrity brand endorsements but the results have been continuously outweighing the risks.

Buying the right things: Living the yuppie life

Yuppies are young professionals who are usually doing well career-wise. They have a high-paying job and usually at the forefront of a fashionable lifestyle. Considering their age, they have more time on their hands as compared to their older counterparts. They have money to burn, so why not spend it? Yuppies often spend their hard earned cash on things which will give them convenience, excitement, efficiency, and above all, fun.

Image source: vpr.net

 

One of the most popular things that yuppies spend their money on is coffee. To be more specific, those that they purchase from expensive coffee shops and cafes. They like to lounge and loiter in those locations after a long and stressful day at the office. As a matter of fact, it can be considered as one of the defining characteristics of the new generation.

Yuppies usually live a fast-paced lifestyle, meaning that cooking meals at home is already a luxury instead of a need. So the next best alternative? Fast food. Whenever they get hungry while rushing to work, all they need to do is to take a turn at a corner where a fast food restaurant will be waiting for them ready to satiate their gurgling stomachs.

 

Image source: nyt.com

 

No matter what the profession, work can become grueling. Mountains of paperwork and thousands of forms to process will tire anyone out, even the young ones. So to celebrate the end of the day, yuppies will usually spend money for alcohol in bars or nightclubs and party the night away. All they have to worry about now is the possibility of a hangover greeting them in the morning. For those who do not drink and are not necessarily party lover, traveling to thrilling places (whether mainstream or off-the-beaten-track) is an equally compelling option.

Of course, not all these characterize yuppies. There are also a small segment in this demographic that actually put equal importance between having fun and ‘having funds.’ Young professionals of today already have the access to critical information related to smart money management, investing, and even insurance. There is a growing number of millennials opening stocks- or bonds-linked savings accounts, such as mutual funds, VULs, or direct investments through brokerage firms and asset management companies.  This generation of money-smart individuals prioritize both their present needs or desires and future goals.

REPOST: 20 Surprising facts about Warren Buffett (Entrepreneur.com)

Did you know that Warren Buffett earned 94 percent of his wealth after he turned 60? That and 19 other interesting things about the “Oracle of Omaha” from this article on ENTREPRENEUR:

 

Image credit: J. Kempin | Getty Images
Often referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha” -- Nebraska native Warren Buffett is an investing legend, business magnate and philanthropist.

When he was 11, Buffett already bought stock, and by 16 he had amassed more than $53,000 from various business ventures and investments. From a young age, Buffett was bound for success.

Although, like anyone else, he faced setbacks. From being rejected at Harvard Business School to getting told he would fail by his father-in-law, hard work and resilience pushed Buffett towards success. Today, he’s recognized for his achievements and uses his money for the greater good.

From using a Nokia flip phone to pledging 85 percent of his Berkshire Hathaway stocks to various charitable foundations, check out these 20 Warren Buffett facts that might surprise you.
  1. He bought his first stock when he was 11-years-old.
While most 11-year-old boys were playing T-ball and reading comic books, Buffett bought stocks. In the spring of 1942, at 11-years-old, Buffett purchased shares of Cities Service Preferred for $38 a piece.
  1. He made $53,000 by the age of 16.
Even since he was young, Buffett’s not only been tactful, but also an extremely hard worker.

When his family moved to Omaha, Neb., Buffett delivered The Washington Post every morning and brought in about $175 a month (that’s more than most teachers made during that time).

He also pursued a few side gigs such as selling used golf balls and collector stamps and buffing cars. By the time he turned 16, he had amassed the equivalent of $53,000.
  1. He was rejected from Harvard Business School.
After graduating from the University of Nebraska in three years, Buffett applied to Harvard Business School. But during a brief interview with the school that would determine his acceptance, the staff said to Buffett: “Forget it. You’re not going to Harvard.”

After much disappointment from the rejection, Buffett discovered that his idols Benjamin Graham (“the father of value investing”) and David Dodd were professors at Columbia Business School.

“I wrote them a letter in mid-August," Buffett shares. "I said, 'Dear Professor Dodd. I thought you guys were dead, but now that I found out that you're alive and teaching at Columbia, I would really like to come.' And he admitted me."
  1. He eats like a 6-year-old.
Buffett’s secret to staying young? Coca-Cola and ice cream.

In an interview with Fortune, Buffett claimed he is “one quarter Coca-Cola” -- "If I eat 2,700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it every day."

Sometimes for breakfast, he eats a can of Utz potato sticks (yes -- a can, not a bag) to accompany his soda. Other times he takes a sweeter approach and indulges in a bowl of ice cream to jump start his day.

When asked how he’s managed to stay healthy with such a salty and sugary diet, he said, "I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a 6-year-old."

Continue reading HERE.