Green Card Entrepreneur Voices - Green Card Voices

Green Card ENTREPRENEUR Voices: How-To Business Stories from Minnesota Immigrants is a collection of essays and digital narratives from twenty immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs living in Minnesota. The storytellers come from nineteen different countries and describe their childhoods, the reasons they left their homes, their first moments in this new land, and the ways they contribute to it. They’ve built multi-million dollar companies and founded community arts organizations, they’ve developed products that support their home country communities and have designed new organizations in the US based on their own cultural traditions, they are social entrepreneurs and large company founders and everything in between. Written in their own words, these stories offer insight into immigrant entrepreneur expertise: how they did it, why they did it, and what they learned in the process.”

Immigrants are among the most entrepreneurial individuals in our nation. They create new companies, provide jobs, and contribute to the American economic landscape. This book, and the accompanying video narratives, highlights their contributions, and is an inspirational resource and how-to guide for anyone who has the desire to know what it takes to succeed as an (immigrant) entrepreneur in our nation.

Book Includes:

  • 20 narratives written by immigrant entrepreneurs
  • Full page, color portraits of each immigrant
  • A link to the entrepreneur’s VIDEO interview on the GCV website
  • A link to the entrepreneur’s PODCAST interview
  • A highlighted quote from the personal essay
Praise & Reviews:

“Green Card Entrepreneur Voices gives us a glimpse into the hearts and minds of the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurialism in our region. The stories are captivating and inspired. It’s a must read!”
–Jonathan Weinhagen, President & CEO, The Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce

“Inspiring stories capturing the passion of the tenacious entrepreneurs who make up the soul of our immigrant-nation’s entrepreneurial spirit.”
–John Stavig, Director, Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota

“Stories inform, inspire, and illuminate possibilities. Green Card Entrepreneur Voices introduces us to people who have started businesses—people who happen to be immigrants. Through this beautiful collection we get to meet these individuals and hear their engaging stories.”
–Ann Rupnow, UW-Eau Claire Entrepreneurship Program

Green Card Entrepreneur Voices is an invitation from Minnesota immigrants into their unique, personal, and courageous journeys. Drawing on their imaginative and inspiring stories the book masterfully weaves metaphors, visions, hopes, and struggles in a colorful and creative way. With sensibility and profound honesty, their stories help us connect and expand our human capacity to love. Given the social challenges of our times, Green Card Entrepreneur Voices is a must read for those seeking to transcend the intelligence of the heart and the mind.”
–Dr. Ramon A. Pastrano IV, CEO-President ImpactLives Inc.

“I was moved by these heartfelt essays. They demonstrate the courage, resilience and tenacity of this group of entrepreneurs. It is clear from the stories what an asset immigrants are to this country. They contribute to the economy and make America a richer, more interesting, and stronger country.”
–Joanna Ramirez Barrett, Ph.D.. Vice President of Business Solutions, Meda

“What is it like to leave your home country to go to America? What do new arrivals do to earn money after coming to the US? These are questions I hear many ask about those new to America. This book answers those questions and tells how individuals transitioned from entry-level jobs to running their own enterprises. In their own words, these immigrants share their personal stories in a way that is open, honest and inspiring.”
–Terri Barreiro, Author for Social Entrepreneurship: From Issue to Viable Plan, co-founder of Impact Hub MSP and Adjunct Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of MN

Why a book, video and podcast?

Since the publication of Green Card Voices’ award-winning, first book Green Card Youth Voices: Immigration Stories from a Minneapolis High School, we have seen the value of having these stories accessible in a written format. Our first book is being used in classrooms, is required reading at universities, and graces the bookshelves of bookstores around Minnesota! For our impact to be as broad as it can be, it is critical that we use all the types of mediums available.

We want to expand our book + video project to include a podcast series as well. With a podcast, people can learn from these entrepreneurial experts on the go!

The book, videos, and podcasts will inspire and educate other entrepreneurs as they embark on their own journeys!

Revenue earned through the sales of the books will be used to contribute to the long-term sustainability and programming of Green Card Voices.

Why entrepreneurs?

“From 1996 to 2011, the business startup rate of immigrants increased by more than 50 percent, while the native-born startup rate declined by 10 percent, to a 30-year low. Immigrants today are more than twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens…Despite accounting for only about 13 percent of the population, immigrants now start more than a quarter of new businesses in this country.” – Inc.com “The Most Entrepreneurial Group in America Wasn’t Born in America”, 2015.

In Minnesota specifically:

“Immigrants comprise 7% of the state’s population but 9% of the workforce. In six industry sectors and 17 occupations, both higher- and lower- skilled, immigrants comprise more than one quarter of the workforce” –  Minnesota Chamber of Commerce “The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Minnesota”, 2013.

What about immigrants makes them such successful entrepreneurs? Researchers cite immigrants’ risk propensity, unique knowledge, and access to transnational resources and networks. Immigrant entrepreneur Des Deshpande of India attributes immigrants’ entrepreneurial propensity to “out-of-the-box” thinking, which he says is natural from someone who is “out-of-the-box.”

We have so much to learn from their drive, and we believe the podcasts, videos, and book will go a long way towards sharing that knowledge.

Why now?

This past year has seen some of the most negative immigrant rhetoric to date. In the current climate, it is more important than ever to use individual accounts to highlight the lives lived and contributions made to our nation. At Green Card Voices, we believe stories are a critical part of this movement.