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Venture industry calls on Trump to embrace International Entrepreneur Rule

Immigration debate

Aug, 4 2017, 6:54 AM

Venture capitalists from across the U.S. and the National Venture Capital Association call on the Trump Administration to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule.

"One way we can ensure the United States continues to be the world leader in science and technology is by bringing top foreign-born entrepreneurs to the U.S. through the International Entrepreneur Rule," the NVCA and the VC firms as well as investor/AOL Founder Steve Case.

"While we are disappointed that after three years of input from the private and public sector that the benefits of the rule have been delayed, the administration can still embrace the economic benefits the International Entrepreneur Rule will bring."

The letter was disclosed Thursday as the debate over immigration continues in the nation's capital.

"President Trump has made winning the global competition for jobs a priority of his administration and we appreciate his stated focus on making our country the best place in the world to create a new enterprise. However, a key aspect of growing our economy is to ensure talented entrepreneurs start their companies here in the United States," the NVCA and numerous members wrote in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security.

"The International Entrepreneur Rule will allow the world’s best entrepreneurs to create jobs in our country, rather than overseas where they will then compete with American workers and companies."

The VC industry is concerned that implementation has been delayed and that the Trump Administration might not approve it at all.

"This decision contrasts with President Trump’s goal of spreading economic prosperity across the United States and ensuring the U.S. remains the global leader in innovation," they wrote.

The complete test of the letter follows:

"We represent a cross-section of industries and stakeholders that are dedicated to creating American jobs and furthering U.S. technological advancement. We write to express our profound disappointment that the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has delayed the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule and plans to propose to rescind the rule. This decision contrasts with President Trump’s goal of spreading economic prosperity across the United States and ensuring the U.S. remains the global leader in innovation. We encourage DHS to keep the rule in place and use the effective date delay to prepare for accepting applications from entrepreneurs beginning in March 2018.

"President Trump has made winning the global competition for jobs a priority of his administration and we appreciate his stated focus on making our country the best place in the world to create a new enterprise. However, a key aspect of growing our economy is to ensure talented entrepreneurs start their companies here in the United States. The International Entrepreneur Rule will allow the world’s best entrepreneurs to create jobs in our country, rather than overseas where they will then compete with American workers and companies.

"Keeping in place the International Entrepreneur Rule would further President Trump’s goal of spreading economic prosperity to areas of the country in desperate need of new jobs. The benefits of entrepreneurship to the U.S. economy are well understood. The Kauffman Foundation has found that “without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy.”

Unfortunately, American entrepreneurship is at a crossroads. U.S. government data reveals that the number of new companies as a share of all U.S. businesses with employees has dropped 42 percent since 1978. Immigrant entrepreneurs can provide a key shot of entrepreneurial energy into the U.S. economy. In fact, a New American Economy study estimates the International Entrepreneur Rule could create between 135,240 and 308,460 jobs over ten years.4Immigrant entrepreneurs have a track record of success in creating American powerhouses such as Intel, eBay, and Tesla, and “have started more than half (44 of 87) of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion or more.”

Retaining the International Entrepreneur Rule will also further President Trump’s goal of making the U.S. more competitive on a global basis. American entrepreneurship is facing challenges abroad like never before, as other countries have replicated our tax, regulatory, and education policy to spur startup ecosystems of their own. In the immigration context, countries like Canada, France, Singapore, and the United Kingdom have created dedicated entrepreneur visas to attract job creators to their shores.

Policies like these mean entrepreneurs no longer need to move to the U.S. to scale a startup, and venture investment is tracking this activity: two decades ago, U.S. startups received more than 90 percent of global venture capital investment, but that number fell to 81 percent a decade ago and fell further to 54 percent last year. In the last five years, at least half of the top ten largest venture investments in the world occurred outside our country. The United States must keep in place the International Entrepreneur Rule to attract the best entrepreneurs rather than push them away.

Finally, maintaining the International Entrepreneur Rule supports U.S. technological leadership. As you know, we are on the cusp of incredible advancements in artificial intelligence, internet of things (IOT), oncology, transportation, and many other areas. Our global competitors are racing to beat the U.S. so the hub of innovation is within their borders. If they win, those countries may control the benefits, rules, and direction of technological progress, areas where America has until now been the unquestioned leader. We cannot afford to have this happen.

One way we can ensure the United States continues to be the world leader in science and technology is by bringing top foreign-born entrepreneurs to the U.S. through the International Entrepreneur Rule. While we are disappointed that after three years of input from the private and public sector that the benefits of the rule have been delayed, the administration can still embrace the economic benefits the International Entrepreneur Rule will bring.

The administration can do this by not seeking to rescind the rule and instead by spending the time between now and March 2018 preparing to accept applications from talented entrepreneurs who will bring with them new jobs for Americans who need them.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter for our economy. We stand ready to help the administration implement the International Entrepreneur Rule so that new companies are created in our country rather than overseas.





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