Migrants set up one in seven firms

This Is Lancashire: Luke Johnson called on politicians to celebrate those who come to the UK and launch businesses Luke Johnson called on politicians to celebrate those who come to the UK and launch businesses

Migrant entrepreneurs are behind one in seven of all UK companies, an investigation has found.

According to research from the Centre for Entrepreneurs think tank and business information experts DueDil, nearly half a million people from 155 countries have settled in the UK and launched businesses.

Among the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector, migrant-founded companies are responsible for creating 14% of all jobs.

Researchers said the report cast light on the positive impact migrants made on the UK's economy.

DueDil founder Damian Kimmelman, himself an American serial "migrant entrepreneur", said: "Immigration is one of Britain's most emotive topics for debate.

"Sadly, opinions are rarely informed by evidence.

"This game-changing research proves that migrant entrepreneurs are hyper-productive, net contributors to the UK economy.

"History tells us that the most productive states always encourage intellectual and technological ferment; that's what we're seeing in Britain right now, and we must celebrate it."

The report - which includes Caffe Nero, whose chief executive Dr Gerry Ford is from the US, among the businesses considered "non-British" in Companies House listings - comes a fortnight after Britain's most senior Roman Catholic cleric called on political leaders to "extinguish the discourse of fear" that undermined the contribution of foreign entrepreneurs and workers moving to the UK.

Speaking ahead of being created a cardinal last month, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, said migrant workers helped ensure large cities such as London were able to ''carry on working" .

He said: " I think we really should have a positive appreciation of the contribution that people who come to this country make to our well-being and economy. I think the idea that immigrants are a net drain on our economy is false.

"We should not have a discourse about immigration which is based on fear."

Centre for Entrepreneurs chairman and serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson said: "The majority of the public appreciate the value of migrant entrepreneurs, yet our politicians and media send out negative signals that risk alienating this vital group of job creators.

"Given the huge contribution of migrant entrepreneurs, we are calling upon the media and politicians to join us in celebrating those who come to our country and launch businesses."

The report found the UK's migrant entrepreneurs are from almost every country, although there are significant representations from Ireland, India, the US, Germany and China, as well as African countries.

London benefits disproportionately, with 20 times the number of migrant-led businesses (188,000) than Birmingham, the second most popular location with 19,000.

YouGov polling undertaken for the report reveals that a significant proportion of the general public believe migrant entrepreneurs make a positive contribution to the UK (44%) and a majority support the government's efforts to attract new migrant entrepreneurs (50%) compared with 28% who disagree.

This is despite the fact the public view immigration in a generally negative light and support a reduction in net immigration (68%).

Matt Smith, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: "The contribution of migrant entrepreneurs is, to be frank, breath-taking.

"It is now the responsibility of politicians of all parties to celebrate migrant entrepreneurs' contributions and restate their commitment to maintaining pro-entrepreneurship immigration policies."

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