St Louis Review: “Immigrant entrepreneurs take risks, enrich local economy”

Luis Rivero founded Hůga Bar (think “PowerBar”) and recently added Whole Foods stores as an outlet for the nutrition bar with flavors inspired by international recipes.

Hůga Bar is an example of many businesses in St. Louis founded by immigrants and refugees, some small-scale and others large corporations. The St. Louis Mosaic Project cites Census Bureau statistics showing that foreign-born people in the St. Louis region are 29.2 percent more likely than native-born people to start a business. The project, a regional initiative within the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the World Trade Center St. Louis, welcomes newcomers because its research shows that immigrants invigorate the region and drive innovation.

Rivero moved from Caracas, Venezuela, to the United States in 2003 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After two years in North Carolina, he moved to Philadelphia to work for DuPont. Almost eight years ago, he relocated to St. Louis.


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New American Economy is a bipartisan research and advocacy organization fighting for smart federal, state, and local immigration policies that help grow our economy and create jobs for all Americans. More…