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Dear AEO Members and Partners, 

As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month this June, we take the opportunity to reflect on the vital contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs to our nation’s economy and the entrepreneurial landscape. At the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), we recognize the extraordinary role that immigrants play in fostering innovation, creating jobs, and driving economic growth. 

Immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start businesses as native-born Americans. According to a report by the National Immigration Forum, immigrants have founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies, including some of the most recognizable brands in the world. These businesses not only provide essential goods and services but also generate significant employment opportunities and contribute to community development. 

Data from the New American Economy shows that in 2019, immigrant entrepreneurs made up 21.7% of all business owners in the United States, despite accounting for only 13.6% of the population. These entrepreneurs generated $1.3 trillion in total sales and employed nearly 8 million Americans, showcasing the profound impact of their entrepreneurial spirit. 

Moreover, immigrant-owned businesses are crucial to the vitality of our communities. They are more likely to be located in underserved neighborhoods, providing access to goods and services that might otherwise be unavailable. They also contribute to the cultural richness and diversity of our society, bringing unique perspectives and innovative solutions to the challenges we face. 

At AEO, we are committed to supporting immigrant entrepreneurs through our various programs and initiatives. We understand the unique challenges they face, from navigating complex regulatory environments to accessing capital. Our mission is to provide the resources, mentorship, and advocacy necessary to ensure that all entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, have the opportunity to thrive. 

As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, let us honor the resilience, creativity, and hard work of immigrant entrepreneurs. They are not only building businesses but also building bridges across cultures and contributing to the fabric of our society. We encourage you to join us in recognizing their achievements and supporting their endeavors. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to fostering an inclusive and dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Warm regards,

Natalie Madeira Cofield Signature

Natalie Madeira Cofield

President & CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity


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Natalie Madeira Cofield is the President & CEO of AEO, the voice of innovation in micro-and-small business in the United States. AEO and its nearly 3,000 members have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families, and their communities.