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Rapid Growth: How Immigration Policies are Turning Away Michigan's Brightest

Tuesday, June 10, 2014  
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From the Detroit Free Press

Throwing yourself into a start-up business in the life sciences field would seem like a daunting enough task for most people: You’ve got product design challenges, corporate structure complexities and IP headaches to deal with, not to mention the tightrope-walk of securing funding for your venture.

But add in immigration and visa obstacles to that recipe and it seems like an explosive cocktail — almost too much uncertainty to bear. You’d be forgiven if you thought about just throwing in the towel.

For Grand Rapids-based Dr. Stanley Samuel, immigration issues have been a part of his already-full workload since 2012, when he completed his PhD program and postdoctoral research in biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. Samuel says his decision to pursue a path of entrepreneurship with the startup company he created, OcuSano, Inc., rather than the traditional path of looking for employment and visa assistance from an existing company, has undeniably made life more complicated for him.

But he also says that he would repeat it all again the same way, if given the chance.

“For me, I believe in the story [of this company],” says Samuel. “I believe in what we’re doing, and I basically risked everything. My savings, my visa status as opposed to getting a job with an established company. And I would still do it if I had to do it over again, because I’m so passionate about entrepreneurship.”

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