Center for American Entrepreneurship: Immigrant Founders of the Fortune 500

The Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, designed to engage and educate policymakers about the importance of entrepreneurs and startups to innovation, economic growth, and job creation.

Marketing & Communications

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Data Visualization



In 2017, CAE unveiled new research detailing the impact of first and second-generation immigrant entrepreneurs on the U.S. economy. Analyzing companies within the 2017 Fortune 500, CAE’s report found that 43 percent (216 companies) are founded by an immigrant or the child of an immigrant—and among the largest 35 companies, that share is 57 percent. In other words, immigrants disproportionately drive entrepreneurship and play an outsized role in the creation of some of our nation’s most successful businesses.

While discussions about immigration reform often focus on concerns about job loss for American workers, CAE’s new research, Immigrant Founders of the 2017 Fortune 500, shows the power of immigrant entrepreneurs as job creators — in 2016 immigrant founded companies produced $5.3 trillion in global revenue and employed 12.1 million people worldwide — and adds to the growing volume of literature demonstrating why immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to a growing American economy.

On face value, the data represent compelling evidence for enacting legislation that promotes a favorable climate for immigrant entrepreneurs (e.g., The Startup Act). But in order to turn the data into the most compelling story, one that resonates beyond political rhetoric, it was essential to connect quintessential American entrepreneurs — the likes of Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, and Walt Disney — to their immigrant roots.

Interactive Sliding Scale Displaying Immigrant-Founded Share of the Fortune 500


Absorbing The Data

At LGND, we specialize in making data come to life through visualization and we applied this focus to CAE’s study. Cutting the data across several categories, we created visualizations based on industry, company size, and company location. These interactive assets allowed readers to engage with the data on their own terms and easily pull out the information most relevant to them. Particularly, the interactive map, which displayed companies by state, localized the data and made social sharing intuitive.

Through LGND’s Datamojis™, we created additional shareable and interactive data cards that clearly display key takeaways from the report.

LGND also provided the design and development for the scrolling microsite, creating a responsive, mobile-friendly home for the digital story and its visual assets.


By pairing compelling data insights with rich visuals and interactivity, the CAE digital story served as a foundation for robust media coverage, including stories in Inc, Axios, Forbes, Quartz, Geekwire, and CityLab. Additionally, the digital story, which was designed to maximize social reach, received significant attention across various platforms—most notably Twitter, which saw mentions and retweets into the multiple thousands.

See it in action

"From inception to launch, LGND worked closely with us to turn our report's insights into a digital storytelling experience about the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to the U.S. economy. LGND drove the creative process and really hit the nail on the head. We were able to garner great media coverage, generating lots of attention for our study, and their creative instincts and efforts continue to pay dividends; on Twitter alone, Tweets and retweets of our report are into the many thousands. Our many thanks to these strategic partners."

— John Dearie, Founder & President Center for American Entrepreneurship

Interactive state map