From refugee to Millennium Global Woman of Honor, Hon. Pauline Truong has overcome major barriers to champion Global Entrepreneurship and Law, in many countries. A Trailblazing Women & Law and Honorable Order award recipient, she is the Founder and C.E.O. of Ascendo International Group (www.ascendo-international.com) and GlobePreneurs.com (www.globepreneurs.com, www.shepreneurs.com ) – a global platform endorsed by celebrities, that empower and celebrate global entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds to achieve their best. Their global outreach is over 40,000 global entrepreneurs, lawyers, professionals and interested members from over 48 countries and they are growing rapidly. Their events in the U.S. and Asia have attracted over 100 (invited) professionals from around the globe. As a pioneer and an amazing role model, she is featured in an Exhibition on Trailblazing Women and the Law, in a book on Career Makeover & How to Reinvent Your Success Abroad and other media globally. We are honored to share her inspirational journey and experience on global entrepreneurship law and regulations.
Media (M): How has your experience as a Vietnamese boat person/refugee and minority helped shape your career in law and global entrepreneurship?
Pauline (P): My family has had a long history of taking risks in business and immigration (we were originally business migrants from China to Vietnam) and being outside of our comfort zones, and each time we beat the odds. At each transition, we successfully adapted, rebuilt our lives and businesses, despite having to start over in many countries. As a refugee and minority woman, I understand the challenges of not having access to the best professional services and networks. This experience helped me serve the community, create legal solutions for diverse and international communities as a lawyer in many cities and countries. It also helped my involvement in drafting legislation and amendments and advocate change to ensure that laws, regulations, policies, legal processes and systems etc. are fair and inclusive. Similarly as an entrepreneur, I find it rewarding to provide people with access to funds, networks and experiences, which they would not have otherwise had. It has also enabled me to create inclusive solutions in global entrepreneurship and law.
M: What three legal issues do you see often when strategizing for emerging global companies and startups?
P: We see many issues, including:
- Product compliance – Many companies do not hire product counsels or opt for legal assistance in the development of the product. This can have (serious) implications later on.
- Legal framework – Many companies focus on sales and business development, and not prioritize legal infrastructure in their business plans and models until it is almost too late, and sometimes more costly.
- International legal issues and expansion – Many companies develop products for local markets, and not consider long term goals and implications. Then they have to expend more funds to develop new products for the international market.
M: Why do entrepreneurs want to come to the United States?
P: Entrepreneurs want to come to the U.S. A as it is a large market, with great access to VC’s and funding. The legal and political systems are reasonably stable. The entrepreneurship and business climate and opportunities are very engaging and encouraging. There are also great schools and services to support entrepreneurs and their families.
M: What are some advantages of having foreign-born entrepreneurs found and grow their businesses in the United States?
P: Some of the U.S.A’s most respected entrepreneurs, including Elon Musk and Steve Jobs have immigrant backgrounds and ties. Immigrant entrepreneurs have also been a major economic force. A study from the National Foundation for American Policy, a non-partisan think tank based in Arlington, Virginia, shows that immigrants started more than half of the current U.S.-based startups valued at $1 billion or more. Research also shows that Immigrants or their children founded 40% of the Fortune 500 companies. The Kauffmann Foundation suggests that, without a startup visa, the U.S. will miss the opportunity to create 1.6 million jobs over the next 10 years. Hence, immigrant entrepreneurs are essential to the U.S. A’s economic growth, diversity and future.
M: What is the proposed USCIS International Entrepreneur Rule to spur innovation and job creation?
P: The proposed rule will allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise discretion, to provide parole for foreign entrepreneurs who are directing the development of a startup business entity in the United States and whose involvement in the startup would provide a significant public benefit. The main requirements of an immigrant entrepreneur include: Own at least 15 percent of the startup and be actively involved in its operation and have formed the business in the United States within the previous three years.
The entrepreneur must also demonstrate that his or her business the potential for job creation and growth by showing: Investment of a minimum of $345,000 from qualified U.S. investors with success in prior investments and/or the receipt of grants or awards from federal, state, or local government entities. The proposed rule also provides flexibility for an entrepreneur who may only partially satisfy one or both of the above criteria, by permitting the entrepreneur to provide evidence of the start-up’s potential for growth and job creation.
M: Is the Proposed International Entrepreneur Rule an adequate solution?
P: Since the Start-Up Act has not been enacted, this International Entrepreneur Rule/Regulation, when implemented is a starting point for immigrant entrepreneurs. While this solution is not comprehensive as many countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil, Chile, Italy and others (which have a more proactive campaign and legislation), the U.S.A. is starting to formally recognize that immigration is an essential part of the nation’s economic growth strategy. It is suggested that perhaps the U.S.A. could provide more proactive legislation and incentives to further attract top entrepreneurs from around the world as immigrant entrepreneurs are essential to the U.S.A.’s economic growth, future and diversity.
*The following is for general information only. None of these materials is offered, nor should any of it be construed, as legal advice.