Fortune 500

Some of the largest companies and best known brands in the United States were founded by immigrants. A study conducted by the Partnership for a New American Economy concluded that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants.

Here we have profiled 29 of these immigrant entrepreneurs. They are inventors, financiers, pioneers and philanthropists. Today, the companies they founded collectively produce more than $1.1 trillion in annual revenue. Click on a name or logo to learn more about these impressive business leaders.

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  • Russia
    Alphabet (Google)
    Ranked 9 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    In 2018, Forbes named Sergey Brin the 35th most powerful person in the world.

  • Scotland
    AT&T and Verizon
    Ranked 11 and 20 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Alexander Graham Bell is recognized as the inventor of the telephone and the man responsible for spawning a global telecommunications industry.

  • Germany
    Comcast
    Ranked 26 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    A refugee from Nazi Germany and an orphan, Daniel Aaron helped Comcast become the largest cable company in the United States

  • England
    General Electric
    Ranked 38 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Elihu Thomson was a multifaceted scientist, inventor and engineer who held nearly 700 patents.

  • Ireland
    Procter & Gamble
    Ranked 43 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Procter and Gamble were brothers-in-law married to a pair of sisters. They might never have met if fate had not intervened.

  • England
    Procter & Gamble
    Ranked 43 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Procter and Gamble were brothers-in-law married to a pair of sisters. They might never have met if fate had not intervened.

  • Germany
    Pfizer Inc.
    Ranked 77 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Pfizer’s first product was an almond-toffee-flavored anti-parasitic.

  • Scotland
    TIAA and United States Steel
    Ranked 79 and 310 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Andrew Carnegie’s steel company produced more metal than all of Great Britain in 1900.

  • Switzerland
    Honeywell International
    Ranked 94 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Albert Butz invented the thermostat, which created a whole new industry.

  • Greece
    Thermo Fischer Scientific
    Ranked 95 in 2021 Fortune 500

    Thermo Electron Corporation was started in 1956 with $50,000. It became Thermo Fischer Scientific and had revenues of $20.9 billion in 2017.

  • Russia
    TJX Companies, Inc.
    Ranked 97 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Two generations of Feldbergs created the business that became TJX and BJ’s Wholesale Club.

  • England
    Capital One Financial
    Ranked 99 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    After obtaining an MBA in his country of origin, Nigel Morris moved to the United States because it “just seemed to be where the action was.”

  • South Africa
    PayPal and Tesla
    Ranked 134 and 100 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Forbes listed Elon Musk as 2019’s Most Innovative Leader, TIME named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world and Fortune named him the top business person of 2013.

  • Canada
    Kraft Heinz, Mondelēz International
    Ranked 110 and 108 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Kraft Foods started as a one-man business selling cheese with a horse and wagon.

  • Ukraine
    PayPal
    Ranked 134 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Levchin sought asylum in the United States from the Soviet-controlled Ukraine.

  • Canada
    International Paper and Veritiv
    Ranked 141 and 439 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Under Hugh Chisholm’s leadership, International Paper controlled 60 percent of the American newsprint market.

  • France
    DuPont de Nemours
    Ranked 144 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    DuPont was an early “transnational” business relying on knowledge, equipment and capital raised in France.

  • Ireland
    BNY Mellon
    Ranked 180 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Mellon rejected a life on the farm in favor of law and business.

  • Scotland
    Emerson
    Ranked 181 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Emerson sold the first electric fans in America, invented by two orphans from Scotland.

  • Taiwan
    NVIDIA Corporation
    Ranked 184 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Huang started out cleaning toilets in the dorm of his school for “difficult children.”

  • India
    Cognizant
    Ranked 185 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Francisco D’Souza studied in seven schools around the world in Panama, Zaire, New Delhi, New York, Trinidad, Hong Kong and Pittsburgh.

  • Poland
    Kohl’s
    Ranked 195 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Maxwell Kohl started his entrepreneurial career with a chain of grocery stores.

  • Scotland
    PPG Industries
    Ranked 220 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    John Pitcairn Jr. dropped out of school at age 14 and went on to create an industrial giant, PPG Industries.

  • England
    Biogen
    Ranked 228 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Royston is a doctor with business savvy and even won a Tony award.

  • Switzerland
    Biogen
    Ranked 228 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Weissmann is a preeminent businessman and scientist. He was the first to clone alpha-interferon genes and made breakthroughs in treating several diseases.

  • France
    eBay
    Ranked 276 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    The first item sold on eBay was Omidyar’s broken laser pointer.

  • Sweden
    Nordstrom
    Ranked 289 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Nordstrom came to the United States with just $5.00, amassed $13,000 within two years and was able to open his first store.

  • Germany
    Weyerhaeuser
    Ranked 387 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    The New York Times credited Weyerhäuser’s incredible success to “German regularity, caution, thrift, industry and perseverance.”

  • Russia
    Big Lots
    Ranked 449 in the 2021 Fortune 500

    Shenk built his fortune with a series of strategic buyouts including bankrupt companies and overstock.