The international census is that spoken and written English is needed in order to financially succeed as an immigrant in an English speaking country. However America has recently produced a series of entrepreneurs who have built multi-million dollar Empires from nothing, speaking little or no English. These new American Entrepreneurs used technology and clever marketing within the immigrant diasporas to attain considerable wealth.
Felix Sanchez de la Vega has been living and working in the United States for 40 years but still his English hasn’t progressed and remains very basic. When he arrived from Puebla, Mexico to New York City, he was uneducated and poor. He moved from various low paying jobs and eventually started his American entrepreneurship by opening up his own small business as a street vendor, selling authentic Mexican tortillas. Back in the 1970s the Mexican population in New York was still relatively small, but as it grew so did the demand for authentic Mexican products.
Using nothing more than his ingenuity and dedication, Sanchez’s small business eventually turned into a $19 million food manufacturing and distribution empire that weaves through the various Mexican communities from coast to coast and even back down into Mexico itself. This successful American entrepreneur achieved all this despite his lack of English. His success is rooted in the fact that in general, large cities have big enough immigrant populations to insulate business owners from everyday transactions that require English. After gaining footage in a local area, modern technology makes it possible and easy for immigrant American entrepreneurs to expand their business and tap new immigrant markets across the country or even the world. Furthermore, professional translation is readily available if English is eventually required.
Other examples of successful American entrepreneurs include Zhang Yulong from China. After emigrating in 1994 he now owns a $30 million a year earning company that deals with cell phone accessories, also in New York, that employs 45 people. Kim Ki Chol is another Asian American entrepreneur who arrived from South Korea in 1981. He started a clothing accessories store in Brooklyn and is now a highly successful retailer and real estate investor.
These stories of success although unusual are not isolated. According to the Census Bureau, in 2010, 4.5 million who were the heads of household in the United States spoke English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’. Of these households, about 35, 500 had household incomes of more than $200,000 per year, indicating a longer list of American entrepreneurs from non-English backgrounds. These unique stories of great American entrepreneurs as well as the statistics prove that in today’s global world it is not impossible for an entrepreneur to succeed without English. With the amount of international companies now offering certified translation via the Internet as well as the continued development and accuracy of Google translations, the opportunities for success as an American entrepreneur are endless.
Sally Roberts is an experienced writer in technology-related news from around the world.