“…a state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”
- Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1932
A few years ago, I was frustrated with the lack of progress on immigration reform out of Washington DC. I brainstormed with an immigration lawyer friend, Jeffrey Goldman, and came up with the idea of the Global EIR program: a public-private partnership where a university could sponsor an H1-B visa for an immigrant entrepreneur, avoiding the onerous lottery system. Last year, we partnered with the state – with the support of the legislature, the governor and the Mass Tech Collaborative – to launch the first global EIR program in Massachusetts in partnership with the University of Massachusetts under the leadership of vice provost Bill Brah. That program is now over one year old and has seen tremendous success thanks to Bill’s indefatigable drive as well as the support of the state and private sponsors SVB, Goodwin Procter and Mayor Bloomberg’s foundation. Specifically:
- 20 visas issued to immigrant entrepreneurs (100% approved by USCIS)
- 16 companies (most of whom wouldn’t be in the US if not for the program)
- Over 200+ jobs created across those companies
- Over $100 million raised by those companies
In partnership with my friend, Brad Feld, we created the Global EIR Coalition to take the program national and hired Craig Montuori to lead the new non-profit. Brad helped extend the program to Colorado in partnership with the University of CO Boulder.
Earlier this year, New York got into the act, partnering with the CUNY system to launch their version of the Global EIR program. They plan on issuing 80 visas to immigrant entrepreneurs.
And today, I am thrilled to report that both Babson and the University of Alaska have announced that they are launching their own Global EIR programs. Babson is consistently named the top ranked entrepreneurship school in the world and so a bellwether in the field. Alaska is the first West Coast program and has the opportunity to draw from its strong relationships with Asia and Russia.
If you’re interested in learning more about the program, supporting it philanthropically, applying for it, creating it in your home state, or whatever, contact one of the local chapters or get in touch with Craig via the Global EIR Coalition website.
Onward towards rational immigration reform – state by state!