Guest Post: Welcoming Communities Unlock the Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs

By Susan Downs-Karkos for The Kauffman Foundation

Mayors are pragmatic. They need to make sure their cities work, and that they work for everyone who lives there. It’s not an easy task. The most successful mayors not only take on the challenges of the day but are always looking forward, considering the trends that are on the horizon and how their city can truly thrive.

Among these critical trends are the changing demographics of communities—which has led to a growing effort by mayors and other local elected officials to tap into the vitality and entrepreneurial spirit of immigrant communities in order to make their cities and towns more livable, vibrant and prosperous places for all.

That’s certainly the story of my hometown: Denver, Colorado. Anyone who is familiar with Denver knows that in the 1970s and 1980s we were a fairly sleepy city, with an economy largely dependent on oil and gas. All of that fell apart with the energy crisis of the 1980s, when suddenly vast numbers of people were out of work. The next generation of mayors worked to put Denver back together again over the coming decades by diversifying our economy, tackling infrastructure projects like our new airport and setting the stage to attract a new generation of people from across the nation—and across the globe—who now call Denver home.