preloader image

4 min read

This story originally appeared on The Vertical

For many international entrepreneurs planning to move their businesses to the U.S. or simply file for a visa extension, these are uncertain times. Consular posts are closed around the world and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have temporarily suspended in-person green card and naturalization interviews. As some domestic offices begin to reopen, USCIS will reduce the number of appointments to ensure social distancing.

Are opportunities still available?

Foreign entrepreneurs come to the U.S. on many different visas, including the EB-5 immigrant investor program, the L-1 for intracompany executive transferees, the E-2 treaty investor visa,  the O-1 visa for people with extraordinary abilities and many others.

All of these visa categories have different requirements, like hiring employees or renting an office space. Because of COVID-19, many foreign entrepreneurs planning “a big move” haven’t been able to make further investments.

Others, however, feel the window of opportunity has widened. According to Jason Finkelman, an immigration attorney, startups in robotics or those providing solutions in real estate move fast to meet U.S. demand.

In June, USCIS re-introduced premium processing, which is widely used by foreign entrepreneurs. The service, suspended in March, expedites the  process to a mere 15 business days instead of the usual months-long process.  

Related: How Company Builders Create Long-Term Value in Latin America

Immigration not suspended

“Trump’s executive order temporarily ‘suspending immigration’ has contributed to the perception that ‘immigration is closed,’” said Joshua Goldstein, founder at Goldstein Immigration Lawyers. But USCIS is still processing new applications.

“We submitted an O-1 visa application in early March just after USCIS discontinued premium processing,” Goldstein said. “I told my client to expect a decision in about six-to-eight months. To my astonishment, his visa application was approved in 23 days.”

Applying for a visa is harder for applicants outside of the U.S. because consulates are shut down and in-person interviews have been delayed. New applicants are getting pushed down the line, leading to longer wait times.

“We are monitoring the situation every day,” said Jordana Hart, the managing attorney with the law firm Hart & Associates. “The consulates will open depending on the situation in their countries: Mexico City, for example, could stay closed longer then Paris.”

Scrutinized questioning  

Processing times had already increased in the past three years. “Whether you have a cure for cancer or are working on a coronavirus vaccine, it’s just harder to get a visa because the President wants to limit immigration,” said Jason Finkelman.

Although entrepreneurs are the least affected because they are job creators, they also have to deal with extra scrutiny. People on E-2 investor visas who have to travel back and forth for their business report more “questioning” about the time they spend outside of the U.S. “We pay extra attention when justifying our clients’ trips,” said Jordana Hart.

The calls to restrict immigration might get louder because of the looming economic recession, believes Henry Mascia, partner at Rivkin Radler law firm. “Officers are now treating extensions like first time applications, so the renewal process, for example, for an O-1 visa, is increasingly difficult.”

Related: Local Partnerships Will Be Crucial Amidst International Travel Restrictions

What’s next for international entrepreneurs?

The election in November adds additional uncertainty to immigration prospects. But there is some good news: An EB-1 extraordinary ability green card is now “current,” meaning it has no backlog and no wait time. “We are preparing green card cases for clients on O-1 who would have otherwise expected to wait several years,” said Joshua Goldstein.

Margo Charnysheva, chair of the immigration practice group at Fennemore Craig, recommends that entrepreneurs not leave if they are currently in the U.S. on a B-1/B2 tourist visa. “Instead, try to change your status to avoid a prolonged wait for an interview at the embassies, because they won’t schedule interviews until mid-June.”

The key in the strict immigration environment is to show that your business has an ability to grow and create jobs. “We push our clients to hire American workers,” said Jordana Hart. Also, preparing your application in advance is crucial. “In the face of so much chaos, you should be proactive,” Joshua Goldstein said. “Don’t wait for the pandemic to end.”



Business Achievement Awards

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The rules governing your retirement accounts have been loosened in the year 2020. You have more time to put money in, can take money out early without penalty, and the required minimum distribution rules (RMD) for those 72 and older have been removed entirely.

July 15 Deadline for 2019 Contributions (Extended From April 15)  

July 15, 2020 is the deadline for making 2019 contributions to your IRA, Roth IRA, Health Savings Account (HSA) or Coverdell education savings account. It’s also the SEP IRA deadline for sole proprietors and independent contractors who file their income on schedule C with their personal tax return. The typical deadline for prior year contributions is April 15, but these were extended by the IRS in response to the pandemic, along with the extension of the personal tax return deadline. While you can extend your personal tax return deadline until October 15 with the filing of an extension request to the IRS (form 4868), you cannot extend the 2019 contributions to your IRA, Roth IRA, HSA or Coverdell past July 15. For those who are self-employed and want to contribute to a SEP IRA for 2019, you can extend that contribution deadline if your company return is also extended. For sole proprietors, the company deadline is your personal tax return deadline, which is now July 15, 2020, but can be extended to October 15, 2020.

IRA, SEP IRA, and HSA contributions are great last-minute tax savers. A self-employed person could generate more than $60,000 in tax deductions by maxing out SEP IRA and HSA contributions by July 15.  For example, a self-employed person who had $250,000 in self-employment income could contribute 25 percent of their income (the SEP IRA contribution rule) up to the maximum of $56,000. Because of their income, they would be able to contribute the maximum of $56,000. And, if they had a high deductible health plan (HDHP) in 2019, they could also contribute $7,000 (family amount, $3,500 if single) to their HSA. In the end they could generate $63,000 in last-minute tax deductions. Assuming the person is in a 35 percent federal and 10 percent state tax bracket, they would save over $28,000 in taxes by making these two last-minute contributions. They will also see their SEP IRA grow tax-deferred, and their HSA will grow and come out tax-free for medical expenses.

Related: ITR Filing and Tax-Saving Investment Deadlines Extended. Check the New Dates

Many self-employed persons with no employees opt for a solo 401(k) instead of a SEP IRA as it has more benefits, but the solo 401(k) must have been established back in 2019 to make 2019 contributions. The SEP IRA, on the other hand, has a major advantage to last-minute persons still making 2019 contributions as it can be set up and funded up until the 2019 deadline of July 15, 2020.  The 2019 contribution limits for the accounts you can still contribute to for 2019 are as follows….

COVID-19 Penalty-Free Distributions

The CARES Act gave us stimulus checks and PPP loans, but it also created penalty-free early distributions from IRAs and 401(k)s for those who are financially affected. These distributions can occur from 401(k)s, IRAs, SEP IRAs, Simple IRAs, pension plans, 457 plans and 403(b) plans. These COVID-19 distributions are exempt from the usual 10 percent early withdrawal penalty that would apply when taking funds from any of these plans before you turn 59½. Congress decided to unlock these funds and remove the penalty people would incur when accessing their own retirement savings.

To qualify for a COVID-19 distribution, the account owner must have experienced “adverse financial consequences” from the pandemic. This is a broad definition and one that the account owner self-reports and claims with their account administrator. Adverse financial consequences include being subject to a quarantine (most states have had shelter in place by now), being furloughed or laid off, having your business closed or negatively affected, or hours reduced or being unable to work due to childcare changes and availability (closed schools, closed childcare facilities). The rule also includes anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with the virus. The limit on penalty-free COVID-19 distributions is $100,000, and they can be taken up until December 31, 2020.

One additional perk to the COVID-19 distribution is that any tax due on the distribution can be spread over three tax years. This three-year rule helps ease the burden of the tax due from taking a distribution, as those amounts would otherwise be included entirely in your gross income in the year taken. However, if the distribution is a COVID-19 distribution, you can spread the income and tax liability over three years (2020, 2021 and 2022).

You are also allowed to return the funds to the same account or to an IRA of your choosing within the three years, and you can avoid the taxes owed and can get that money back into a tax favorable account for future investing. The IRS has issued guidance on how to recoup any taxes you may pay on the distribution if you return the funds in later years. For example, if you end up re-paying a 2020 COVID-19 distribution to an IRA in 2022, but already paid tax for 1/3 of it on your 2020 tax return and another 1/3 with your 2021 tax return, then you can amend your 2020 and 2021 returns to seek a return of the tax paid. The goal of Congress was to provide penalty-free access to those who needed it, while easing the tax due on the distribution and giving investors up to three years to get the money back in. It is a careful balancing act, but it is one Congress did an admirable job at when crafting the retirement account provisions found in the CARES Act.  

Zero Required Minimum Distributions in 2020

Individuals with IRAs, SEP IRA, 401(k)s and other employer plans are required to take certain required minimum distributions (“RMD”) from these accounts at age 72. The previous age limit was 70½, but this was increased to 72 beginning in 2020 courtesy of the SECURE Act, which was signed into law late last year. The good news for those 72 and older who must take RMD is that they are not required to do so for 2020. The rationale is that while the markets are low it would be unwise to force someone to sell their investments during the pandemic while their account values are low. The benefit to those 72 and older is that they skip RMD for 2020 if they want. They can keep their entire account invested and look to 2021 to sell and then take their annual RMD.

Related: How AI-Based Software Can Optimize Your Tax-Prep

There are strategic moves that can be made in 2020 given the favorable rules for retirement accounts found in the CARES Act and from executive action from the IRS. Whether it is tapping a 401(k) or IRA to help survive financially or whether you are looking to make late 2019 contributions for retirement, health or education savings accounts, the laws for 2020 give you more options and flexibility than we’ve had in years.

Business Achievement Awards

The decision strikes down an Obama-era amendment allowing autodials by debt collectors.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

3 min read

This story originally appeared on PC Mag

If there’s one thing that can unite Americans, it’s a disdain for robocalls. You can expect fewer autodials, though, since the Supreme Court this week struck down a 2015 law allowing automated messages by debt collectors.

Nearly 30 years ago, Congress passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA), which generally prohibits robocalls to home and mobile phones. A recent amendment, however, allows pre-recorded messages to be made if collecting debts to the government—including student loan and mortgage balances.

The robocall restriction survived strict scrutiny because of the government’s “compelling interest in collecting debt,” according to this week’s Supreme Court decision. “Severing this relatively narrow exception to the broad robocall restriction fully cures the First Amendment unequal treatment problem and does not raise any other constitutional problems,” the ruling, written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, said.

This case began when the American Association of Political Consultants and three other organizations—which “make calls to citizens to discuss candidates and issues, solicit donations, conduct polls, and get out the vote”—filed a declaratory judgement against the U.S. Attorney General and FCC, claiming the 2015 law violates their First Amendment rights. Plaintiffs believe their outreach would be more effective and efficient, the court document said, if they could make robocalls. But, as they are not collecting government debt, the law prohibits it.

“As the government concedes, the robocall restriction with the government-debt exception cannot satisfy strict scrutiny,” the July 6 ruling said. “The government has not sufficiently justified the differentiation between government-debt collection speech and other important categories of robocall speech, such as political speech, issue advocacy, and the like.”

A majority of conservative justices—Kavanaugh, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch, as well as liberal-leaning Sonia Sotomayor—agreed that the 2015 government-debt exception violates the First Amendment. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, meanwhile, would have upheld the government-debt exception, “but given the contrary majority view, agreed that the provision is severable from the rest of the statute,” according to the decision.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who previously opposed the Obama Administration’s 2015 “carve-out” for federal debt collectors, praised Monday’s ruling: “I am glad to hear that Americans, who are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, will now get the relief from federal-debt-collector robocalls they have long deserved,” he said in a statement.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel—often in opposition to Pai—also agreed with this week’s decision, tweeting that “robocalls are OUT OF CONTROL.” “Now let’s do something radical,” she added. “Let’s use it to finally stop these calls and the scams behind them.”

The FCC has been working to combat illegal robocalls and malicious caller ID spoofing through policy initiativesenforcement actionspublic and private partnerships, and consumer education.

Business Achievement Awards

Jobvite’s annual Job Seeker Nation Report found sharp changes in survey responses between February and April.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

1 min read

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a few short months ago the stock market was riding high and unemployment was a mere 3.5 percent. Now, three months into social distancing and lockdowns, Americans’ job prospects have taken a dramatic turn. 

Recruiting software company Jobvite puts out an annual report on the behaviors, views and preferences of the modern workforce, and its 11th edition of that report comes amid a global health crisis that’s causing soaring unemployment rates and job insecurity. 

Related: 10 Job Search Tips to Help You Find Your Best Opportunity Every Time

In this year’s report, Jobvite looked at data from two surveys — one done in February and a second in April during the nationwide shutdown. The differences between the two surveys were stark: In February, 28 percent of workers were afraid of losing their job sometime in 2020, and by April that number had climbed to 47 percent. By April, nearly half of survey respondents planned to find a second source of income this year. 

Related: Ecommerce Entrepreneurship Grows as Unemployment Rises

Read on through this infographic for more information on how job-seekers are feeling about the American economy. 

Business Achievement Awards

In the past Musk has used short shorts to taunt Tesla short-sellers.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

2 min read

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Sunday to announce that his electric car firm was selling limited-edition branded red satin shorts.

The price is listed as $69.420 on the Tesla website — a reference to two popularly memed numbers, 69 and 420. Musk is fond of referencing 420, which has associations with marijuana, and famously landed in trouble in 2018 for vowing to take Tesla private at $420 a share. On June 28, he tweeted: “69 days after 4/20 again haha.”

The shorts have the word “S3XY written on the back, a reference to Tesla’s Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y vehicles.

A description for the shorts on Tesla’s website reads: “Celebrate summer with Tesla Short Shorts. Run like the wind or entertain like Liberace with our red satin and gold trim design.

“Relax poolside or lounge indoors year-round with our limited-edition Tesla Short Shorts, featuring our signature Tesla logo in front with “S3XY” across the back. Enjoy exceptional comfort from the closing bell.”

Three minutes after Musk tweeted the link to the shorts on Tesla’s online store, he tweeted “Dang, we broke the website.” Yahoo Finance reports Tesla’s online store became briefly inaccessible.

At the time of writing, only XL-sized shorts are still available and it appears Tesla will only ship the shorts within the US.

Tesla’s limited-edition shorts.

Image credit: Tesla

Musk has form in releasing incongruous limited-edition merchandise.

Tesla has in the past brought out a line of surfboards, and his public venture The Boring Company sold a giant blowtorch called the “Not-a-Flamethrower.”

The Tesla billionaire has a particular penchant for short shorts however, which he sometimes uses to taunt short-sellers who bet against Tesla’s stock.

Musk has a well-documented disdain for short sellers, tweeting in October 2018 :”What they do should be illegal.” In the past, he has sent packs of assorted shorts to billionaire short-seller David Einhorn.

Musk started tweeting about releasing the red satin short-shorts after Tesla’s Q2 report on Thursday beat Wall Street’s expectations, sending its stock up by 10 percent. 

Business Achievement Awards

After months of calls for more transparency, information is made public about the nearly five million businesses that have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program. Though questions will remain.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

3 min read

After months of withholding information on exactly which businesses received precisely how much from Congress’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — and considerable consternation after multiple publicly held companies were outed for accepting sizable sums before ultimately returning them — the Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of the Treasury today released detailed information on nearly five million PPP grantees. 

The sum total of loans amounts to in excess of $521 billion, and in a statement, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin remarked, “The PPP is providing much-needed relief to millions of American small businesses, supporting more than 51 million jobs and over 80 percent of all small business employees, who are the drivers of economic growth in our country.”

He then added, “We are particularly pleased that 27 percent of the program’s reach in low- and moderate-income communities, which is in proportion to percentage of population in these areas. The average loan size is approximately $100,000, demonstrating that the program is serving the smallest of businesses.”

Related: SBA Releases New EZ PPP Loan-Forgiveness Application

Despite the sudden rush to transparency, there is bound to be intense scrutiny. Some mom-and-pop restaurant owners, for example, might wonder why between $2-5 million — the information was released both by state and assorted loan-amount thresholds, ultimately ranging from less than $150,000 to as high as $10 million — was allocated to the Diocese of Alabama in Birmingham. 

And a cursory scan through the available documents (as user-unfriendly as the process of downloading and parsing through them might be) indicates a very small minority of owners willingly answered questions about their race, ethnicity or gender, and that a minority of overall respondents identified their businesses as black-owned or female-owned. 

The SBA’s language concerning the disclosures is also a bit convoluted, at one point assuring, “This disclosure covers each of the 4.9 million PPP loans that have been made,” but later adding that its various loan amounts “account for nearly 75 percent of the loan dollars approved.” 

Furthermore, the single document purporting to contain information across all 50 states in alpahabetical order currently concludes after California. 

Related: Which Public Companies Have Returned Their SBA PPP Loans? (Updated)

Entrepreneur emailed the SBA earlier this month when the forthcoming disclosure was first announced, seeking clarity on whether any loans exceeded $10 million — and if so, whether their information would ever be made public — but did not hear back. We’ve since followed up to additionally clarify whether the aforementioned 50-state document will be appended. We will update you when we have more to share.



Business Achievement Awards

The actor, director and all-around force of creative nature on the power of collaboration.

Free Book Preview No BS Guide to Direct Response Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to – producing measurable, monetizable results with social media marketing.

5 min read

There’s no right or wrong way to combat the isolation and anxiety brought on by the times we live in. (Well, OK, we can probably all agree that plowing through a Costco shipment of Oreos in one sitting isn’t the most ideal way.)

But research shows that there are two vital ingredients to maintaining mental health and wellness: human connection and the feeling of doing something positive. And both of these come into play in the process of creating something with other people. A study in the journal Art Therapy found that after just 45 minutes of art-making, participants’ levels of cortisol (a chemical in the body associated with stress) were reduced dramatically.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a star in movies like The Dark Knight Rises, 500 Days of Summer and Inception, has long understood the positive power of creating alongside others, which is why he founded HITRECORD, an open online community for creative collaboration. Since 2004, HITRECORD has been connecting creators — experts and beginners alike — on passion projects. And this month, Joseph is releasing a six-episode miniseries called CREATE TOGETHER, which showcases the outcomes of those connections and the people behind them.

For an upcoming episode of podcast, I spoke with Joseph about CREATE TOGETHER, and about the more general joy that comes with making something out of nothing. Below are some edited highlights of that conversation. Read it — then go create something!

The joy of making stuff up 

“During this strange time of quarantine and isolation, I found that it’s been really helpful for me to just stay creative, to do something creative every day. But it can be hard to do that alone. To just stare at a blank page and be like, ‘Now I will write!’ Or, you know, ‘Now I’m going to make a song!’ I grew up in collaborative environments on movie sets and shows and I really feed off the creative energy of other people. Years ago, I started this community that’s all about creative collaboration called HITRECORD. And so we decided to just make a show documenting it called CREATE TOGETHER for YouTube originals.”

The movie biz vs. biz biz

“I’m actually getting a really big kick out of building this company, HITRECORD. It is quite different than making a movie or TV show. Sure, there’s some overlap, but building a product or service is different than making a work of art where you put it out and then you never change it again. Businesses are constantly changing, evolving. They’re never done! We’ve gotten amazing advice from great business leaders at places like Casper and Masterclass and Postmates, and we’ve honed our business over the years. It’s been really fascinating, fun, challenging, daunting — and sometimes frustrating. But I’ve really enjoyed it. And yeah, it’s different. It’s different than making art.”

Social media doesn’t have to be evil

“Asking for people to collaborate is different than making something and putting it on social media and saying, ‘Hey, look what I did!’ For me, social media is kind of a recipe for anxiety. I find it to be sort of angst-ridden. We all know what it’s like to put something out there and not get any likes, but I’ll tell you, even when there are a bunch of hearts and likes and retweets, it still doesn’t feel good. For me, I’m just like, ‘That’s all? There should be more! That guy over there has more than I do!’ This is all poisonous to the creative spirit. So our platform is all about collaborating, not just reacting to a finished product. I love getting to make movies — the making part. It’s the being on a set with other people and figuring something out, having a challenge. It’s those moments of the process itself that I really love — finding creative solutions.”

The ultimate reward

“I can say from my experience, it’s never really satisfying when you’re lucky enough to be involved with something that is a ‘hit.’ I have never have felt like, ‘Oh, OK, great! I made it! I’m satisfied!’ That kind of success is never like the satisfaction I get when I take my focus off those external results and put my focus on the inherent rewards of the creative process itself. That’s when I get really jazzed. I’m trying to make something and then I find it and like, ah, there it is. That’s working. And for me, that happens a lot better when I’m doing it together with other people.”

Business Achievement Awards

Get in the best shape of your life while helping your business thrive.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!

3 min read

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

Staying in shape can be tough for entrepreneurs, especially with most office gyms closed. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up six great products that will help you stay in shape without cutting into your business time. Plus, right now you can get some extra savings. If you spend more than $50, use code JULYFOURTH15 to get an extra 15 percent off. If you spend more than $75, use code JULYFOURTH20 to get an extra 20 percent off.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

1. Vortex VX3 Fluid Assist® AR Water Rower – $1,800 (43 percent off) with promo code: VORTEX18

Rowing offers an excellent, full-body workout in as little as 15 minutes each day. With this fully-adjustable resistance rower, you have complete control over your workout sessions. Put it in your home or office and you’ll be able to get a quick workout whenever.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

2. THE CHOPPER: Full-Body Workout – $96 (30 percent off) with promo code: JULYFOURTH20

Endorsed by NFL and NBA athletes, The Chopper is an innovative, portable workout solution. This device uses chopping motions to help you achieve a full-body workout. The resistance grows based on how you swing it, and it comes with a companion app that provides guided, personalized workouts throughout your day.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

3. Push Up Machine: Home Exercise Equipment – $72 (44 percent off) with promo code: JULYFOURTH20

Push ups are an outstanding exercise, but many people don’t know how to do them correctly. This Push Up Machine helps to put your body in the correct position effortlessly while promoting a full range of motion in every push up. This way, you’ll reach the highest level of muscle activation in your core, chest, shoulders, and triceps. Just a few minutes and you’ll get an incredible workout.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

4. Aduro Sport Elite Recovery Massage Gun – $64 (50 percent off) with promo code: JULYFOURTH20 

One of the toughest parts of a workout regimen is just being consistent. Workouts hurt, and when you’ve got muscle pain or aggravation after a workout, you can target it with this massage gun. The Aduro has four attachment heads and six intensity levels to reach every part of your body and provide relief wherever you need it.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

5. ABXCore: Ab Machine With Virtual Trainer – $109.59 (39 percent off) with promo code: JULYFOURTH20  

ABXCore is a revolutionary workout device for your abs. With four adjustable resistances, AI technology, and a companion app, this machine helps you see unbelievable results fast. Each core workout takes just seven minutes a day, delivering results that you can be proud of.

Image credit: Entrepreneur Store

6. MoonRun: Portable Cardio Trainer with Virtual Running Apps – $199.20 (50 percent off) with promo code: JULYFOURTH20  

Don’t want to run outside with a mask on? Run inside instead! MoonRun is the ingenious resistance band trainer that wraps around you and lets you simulate running without ever going outside — and without taking up a ton of space like a treadmill. Plus, the companion app lets you go on group runs, compete with friends, and more.

Business Achievement Awards

5 min read

This story originally appeared on PC Mag

Independence Day looks a little different in 2020. Big BBQs and fireworks displays are canceled due to COVID-19, while many are reckoning with how much work still needs to be done so that all of us might realize the American dream.

History buffs can choose from a wealth of documentaries about the American experience, from American Factory and 13th on Netflix to I Am Not Your Negro on Amazon Video, not to mention all the Ken Burns documentaries you can buy or rent online. For fictional or dramatized takes on our nation’s history and military, however, read on for the best patriotic movies and TV shows on the top video-streaming services.


John Adams (2008)

This HBO mini-series chronicles the political career of John Adams, and his role in the founding of the US, so it’s perhaps the most fitting film on this list for a 4th of July viewing. Cuddle up with one of our founding fathers, as the turmoil of the 1770s unfolds over seven episodes. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Turn (2014)

This AMC series goes behind the scenes of the Revolutionary War and a group of spies who helped defeat the British. All four seasons are on Netflix.

Hamilton (July 3)

The hottest ticket on Broadway is coming to your TV on July 3 via Disney+.  Filmed at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June 2016, Hamilton features the Tony Award-winning original cast, including Lin-Manuel Miranda as the title character. If you were thinking of subscribing to Disney+ with a free trial and then cancelling after watching Hamilton, you’re out of luck. In anticipation of that move, Disney ended free trials last week, but at $6.99 per month, it’s much cheaper than actually buying tickets to the Broadway show.

The Patriot (2003)

Okay, so Mel Gibson is terrible, but Heath Ledger is not, so we can focus on him as the Revolutionary War soldier who defies his father to fight the British. (Streaming on Netflix and Hulu)

Band of Brothers (2001)

Another epic HBO war-time mini-series, Band of Brothers takes us to World War II, as seen through the eyes of “Easy” Company. The 10-part drama brings viewers from basic training to the beaches of Normandy and beyond. The star-studded cast includes a pre-Homeland Damian Lewis, Michael Fassbender, and Tom Hardy, among others. (Streaming on HBO Max)

The Tuskegee Airman

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the the US Air Force, then known as the US Army Air Corps. Laurence Fishburne stars in this dramatization of their story. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Captain America Movies (2011 – 2016)

Chris Evans is a new breed of super-soldier in this uber-popular Marvel series. Catch Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, and Captain America: Civil War on Disney+.

All the Way (2016)

Watch Bryan Cranston transform into Lyndon B. Johnson in this HBO movie that charts his first year in office and his role in passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Forrest Gump (1994)

Experience the 60s, 70, and 80s through the eyes of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), an Alabama man with a low IQ but a big heart. (Streaming on Starz)

Platoon (1986)

The first of Oliver Stone’s three Vietnam War dramas, Platoon is based on the director’s time as a US infantryman in Vietnam. It earned Stone a Best Director Oscar in 1987, when the film also won Best Picture. (Streaming on Starz)

Born On The 4th Of July (1989)

The second Stone-directed Vietnam War drama, this one stars Tom Cruise as a Marine who is paralyzed while serving in Vietnam, and ultimately becomes an anti-war activist. (Streaming on Starz)

Heaven and Earth (1993)

The third Stone Vietnam film, Heaven & Earth stars Tommy Lee Jones as an American soldier who marries a young Vietnamese woman and brings her to the US after the war. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Rescue of Dawn (2006)

Rescue Dawn stars Christian Bale as Dieter Dengler, a US soldier taken captive by Pathet Lao after his plane crashes. (Streaming on Cinemax)

Black Hawk Dawn (2001)

Rescue Dawn stars Christian Bale as Dieter Dengler, a US soldier taken captive by Pathet Lao after his plane crashes. (Streaming on Cinemax)

A Few Good Men (1992)

When two US Marines face a court-martial for the murder of a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, an inexperienced lawyer (Tom Cruise) is charged with defending them over the objections of a Lieutenant Commander (Demi Moore) who wants the job. The movie follows the case and the courtroom fireworks, courtesy of the Base Commander (Jack Nicholson). (Streaming on fuboTV and Philo)

Air Force One (1997)

Returning from a trip to Moscow, where he called for a strong crackdown on terrorists, US President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) finds himself on a hijacked Air Force One. It’s the communists, of course, and they have demands. President Marshall has other plans. (Streaming on Netflix)

Taking Chance (2009)

Another HBO special, Taking Chance stars Kevin Bacon as Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps, home from Iraq. Bacon took home a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance. (Streaming on HBO Max)

The Looming Tower (2018)

Another HBO special, Taking Chance stars Kevin Bacon as Marine Lt. Colonel Michael Strobl, who escorted the body of a fallen Marine, PFC Chance Phelps, home from Iraq. Bacon took home a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance. (Streaming on HBO Max)

Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi (2020)

We are a nation of immigrants, and in this series, Padma Lakshmi tours the US to sample the food of those who’ve settled here. (Streaming on Hulu)

Business Achievement Awards

6 min read

Last month, a class of college students graduated into one of the strangest job markets in modern American history. Every year, the National Society of High School Scholars conducts its Career Interest Survey, which asks high-achieving high school and college students what they plan and hope for in their future careers. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, 14,000 students responded to the survey — 72 percent of whom were women. Although this doesn’t quite match up to the gender demographics of those who attend college, it is true that 56 percent of college students are now women, and that number is growing. 

Gen Z includes anyone born after 1997, and with 90 million members, it’s bigger than the generations preceding it. Gen Zs have lived through 9/11, the 2007 recession, the COVID-19 crisis and now the current movement around racial justice. Their lives have been marked by economic and political turmoil, and their preferences about employers reflect that. “This is a group of empowered young adults who intend to shape the problems and opportunities they face, not stand on the sidelines,” says James Lewis, the president of NSHSS. “They told us human rights was their primary concern, followed by healthcare and education. Gen Z will be bringing their social justice agenda to the workplace — they expect future employers to reflect their convictions, including having women and racially diverse individuals in leadership positions.” Read on to find out more about what Gen Zs will want from their employers.

Medical careers are top of mind

Across the gender spectrum, high-achieving Gen Zs show a big preference for STEM careers. “Many students are planning ahead for STEM careers, with health (30 percent) and science (29 percent) as their current or intended undergraduate majors, followed by business (18 percent),” the study’s authors write. “The top three fields students expect to work in the future are medicine/health (37 percent); sciences (17 percent); and biology/biotechnology (17 percent).”

“STEM-medical was overwhelmingly chosen as the most popular field of study, and jobs in hospitals were the most desired places to work,” Lewis says. “As a nation, we have made strides in making STEM a priority, but we need to raise the bar and support all young people, and particularly women and students of color. Gen Z women are twice as likely to attend medical school.”

Related: 41 Percent of Gen Z-ers Plan to Become Entrepreneurs (Infographic)

No separation between work and politics

This will be the most vocal and politicized generation to enter the workforce yet, and they will expect their employers to take a stand on issues they care about. “In a world overwhelmed by the current racial crisis, global pandemic, climate change, #MeToo, and more, Gen Zs want their employers to reflect on their social justice convictions,” the study’s authors write. “A majority (62 percent) suggest it is extremely or very important to have women in leadership positions, and 63 percent believe the same of racial diversity in leadership. Human rights (40 percent ), healthcare/health (39 percent), and education (37 percent) are the issues they care about most.”

Skills, skills, skills

It’s safe to assume that most of us had a job or two out of college that boiled down to pushing paper. But Gen Zs are not keen on the idea of working to collect a paycheck. The number one thing Gen Zs are looking for in an employer, with 72 percent of survey respondents in agreement, is their employer’s investment in their development of tangible skills. “The main driver for future employment will be where they can acquire the skills they need to advance in their careers,” Lewis says.

Money matters

Gen Zs are anxious about their economic prospects. They are conscientious about going into debt for education, with 90 percent of high schoolers saying they plan to apply for scholarships, even as 48 percent saying they expect to leave college with more than $10,000 in student loans. “Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) expect to have a job while in college,” the survey authors write. “While optimistic about finding a job within one year of graduation (84 percent), over half (56 percent) expect to be living at home when they begin that job. It is important to note that this sentiment existed at these levels prior to COVID-19.”

Related: Gen Z Brings a Whole New Dynamic to the Workforce

Benefits or bust

Interestingly, while Gen Zs are very financially aware, they have been privy to the ongoing debate around healthcare and witnessed the system overwhelmed during COVID-19. All of this has given them the perspective that having good health insurance is more important than receiving a high salary. “This might be the first generation to say that healthcare benefits matter most in a job,” says Lewis, “even more than salary or flexible work schedules.”

The job hunt is not on social media

Much had been made of Gen Z being the generation that lives on social media, but they seem to have more traditional ideas on how to find jobs and figure out if they’re the right fit. “While a company’s website is the go-to source for information, these students want human interaction —  with their school’s career counselor (51 percent) or by attending job fairs (48 percent). Social media was not a primary channel for career research.”

In employers, they want balance and belonging

Once you’ve checked the big boxes like solid healthcare benefits and a social justice mission, Gen Zs want their workplaces to be balanced and welcoming places. “When considering employers,” the study’s authors write, “students look first to work/life balance (61 percent), then to a welcoming atmosphere (43 percent), and friendly colleagues (33 percent).”

Big Tech companies are no longer the hottest ticket in town

Every year, respondents rank their 100 most desirable employers, and 2020’s top three were all medical facilities: local hospitals, St. Jude and the Mayo Clinic. Walt Disney Company is No. 4, and Google comes in at No. 5, a demotion from its No. 2 spot in 2018. That sets the tone for the rest of the list. “Compared to 2018, scholars surveyed in 2020 show less interest in being employed by Big Tech, social media and beverage giants (Coca-Cola, Starbucks), and more interest in sports, governmental agencies and entertainment organizations.”

Related: Smart Brands Won’t Generalize When It Comes to Gen Z

Business Achievement Awards

Business Achievement Award

Copyrights © 2020 Business Achievement Awards All Rights Reserved.