16 percent of fast growing "gazelle" firms had at least one foreign-born founder.

To compete in the New Economy, states need a supply of talented labor with the right skills and education to meet the demands of globally competitive businesses. In many cases, these workers do more than merely fill occupational gaps; by bringing new ideas and perspectives from other countries and cultures, they can enhance states' levels of innovation. For example, foreign-born and foreign-educated scientists and engineers in the United States are over-represented among authors of the most-cited scientific papers and among inventors holding highly cited patents. In fact, 76 percent of patents at the top-10 patent-producing universities included at least one foreign-born inventor, and 40 percent of 2010 Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants.