I know my body is getting older. The back pain, shoulder pain, and more gray hair make it very clear (AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY! 🪂🤷🏻♂️). Minnesota born and raised, my aging doesn’t only impact my life and family. In our state, only 60% of people born in the US are of working age (18-64) compared to 81% of people born outside of the US. I’ve met many clients and friends – originally from countries around the world – that are coming to our state to work. They keep our economy going.
Minnesota’s industrial diversity and the large number of enterprises that start, succeed and grow here (homegrown) are key to our economic success. As a broker, I have met and worked with clients from Somalia, Liberia, Egypt, Laos, Mexico, India, and more. Here are five things I’ve reflected on and have learned from these encounters and my many travels:
1. The growth of our immigration population is outpacing other states. We also have a larger share of secondary refugee migration than all other states combined. That’s a good thing for our economy. We need workers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners for long-term economic success as well as innovation, development, and growth.
2. One roadblock for immigrants and refugees is access to financial capital. Minimal credit history and lack of broad community connections can limit the viability and financial resources needed for successful entrepreneurship. With intentional action by individuals and community organizations, those roadblocks can be eliminated. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are an important resource to link underserved populations to loan funds and venture capital investors.
3. Immigration is a key contributor to the strength of CRE markets. I’m sure glad my great grandparents made the voyage. As people move to our state, our population grows and so do the needs for commercial real estate. I’ve been helping my clients born in Mexico, Asia, and Africa find offices and retail spaces to lease as well as buy and sell.
4. Characteristics of being an entrepreneur are common, no matter where you are born – creativity, passion, confidence, vision, and the ability to recognize opportunity. I am happy to help out with the logistics of getting deals done in a system that might be new to my friends. But the core qualities are there and so are the dreams.
5. Every person I meet who was born in another country teaches me something about life, and I cherish these relationships big time!
Jeff Salzbrun is the owner and broker of Commercial Equities Group (CEG). As a veteran-owned real estate brokerage, CEG has been involved in thousands of sale and lease transactions, ranging from single offices to 250,000+ square foot buildings. At CEG, we get your deal done. We know space, and we know the CRE business.
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