Entrepreneurship and Immigration:

Have you ever wonder how moving to a new country has inspired or made people open a new business and become an entrepreneur? Dr Nur (2015) found a direct link between immigrant entrepreneurship and success longevity in their businesses through innovation and sustainability. These successes lead to the creation of global brands, such as Heinz, Avon, Dell, Amazon, Estee Lauder and a hundred others.

Greetings from Italy! 

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Dr. Nur Suhaili Binti Ramli, Department of Management, University of Venice, Italy

Dr Nur informs us that despite broad discussions between immigration and entrepreneurship in United States, Australia or Canada little research is done to investigate the success rates of the immigrant entrepreneurs in the European host countries, the longevity of immigrant businesses, survival rate during crises periods or scale-up potential, and various business strategies implemented by the immigrants.
To fight the myth: “Migrants still our jobs”, on-going research question: Does the immigrant entrepreneurship positively contribute to the European countries’ socio-economic development?
For example, the recent CENSIS and collaboration with Roma-Tre University (2019) found on a growing number of immigrant entrepreneurs and a positive causal effect of immigrant entrepreneurship on the national economy in the last ten years. The findings are beneficial for the internationalisation strategy as well as for the job creation, contribution to the economic growth, and support to the local government during the economic crisis. More findings of this sort can be useful for the EU Government’s decision making in drafting policies to reduce problems within the area (part of migration issue). Therefore, Dr Nur and her collaborator Prof Finotto are interested in examining the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon in Europe on a comparative approach and over time and is hoped to add significant findings.
The subject of the study (immigrant entrepreneurs) has been conducted in Dr. Nur’s earlier research that summarises during the Great Depression and Second World War, immigrant entrepreneurs put more endeavour into marketing innovation, while the non-immigrant entrepreneurs (native) are more likely to improve their product through innovation, retaining the same product line and target market. Among other things, a compelling finding demonstrates that immigrant entrepreneurs started to implement market segmentation, while non-immigrant entrepreneurs ventured into vertical product differentiation, strengthened their quality with product improvement, which increased consumer trust by associating their brands with particular products. Dr. Nur (2016) emphasise that some immigrant entrepreneurs at host country are somewhat patriotic, especially when their host country is facing difficulties. For example, they show support towards local governments during these two periods by helping the US government to survive during wartime, such as more than 50% of facilities at one of an immigrant entrepreneur’s factory and laboratories were made available to the US Government for the production of war items for the armed forces. It provides historical evidence that immigrant entrepreneurship is essential and has a significant contribution to the socio-economic of the host country. Extending from this study, Dr. Nur and Prof. Finotto use a similar research framework to study the phenomenon in the European context.

Several studies on immigration and entrepreneurship between 2010 and 2018 have almost doubled, that focus mainly on the performance of the entrepreneurs and compare businesses created by native and immigrant entrepreneurs by longevity, strategy during crises periods, and by businesses that started small and later, became global brands. However, there is a limited study on the comparative approach to answer these two questions: Why immigrant entrepreneurs have different strategies to business compared to non-immigrant entrepreneurs in Europe over-time? And, How do they recognise entrepreneurial opportunity identification at the host country in Europe differently than the native?, which interest Dr Nur and Prof Finotto to scrutinise the investigation. It is an exciting work-in-progress to follow as it focuses on the European countries when the influx of migration is a critical issue. The preliminary findings from two pilot studies summarise that immigrant entrepreneurs offer job creation to the local community, establish and smoothen business entry barrier between the host and home country, contribute taxes that benefit local pensioners, and create competitive advantage. Dr. Nur and Prof. Finotto are now conducting comprehensive research to confirm the preliminary findings, which updates are available via twitter.

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Furthermore, Prof William R. Kerr and Dr Sari Pekkala Kerr (2017) point out that many policymakers believe that immigrant founders were essential for the revival of the country’s growth and continued recovery from the Great Depression. In contrast, Dr Nahikari Irastorza, and Prof Iñaki Peña-Legazkue (2018) explain that the immigrant entrepreneurs are more likely to quit their businesses earlier than their native competitors. Although there are mixed findings on the business performances and strategies of immigrant entrepreneurs, in general, they can adapt and expand despite the economic crisis with several explanations including on how and why they identify entrepreneurial opportunity at host country differently than the native. In summary, the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon must not be excluded from local agendas and discussion, particularly in Europe. With a broad range of evidence on the subject, it concludes that this research area is critical and beneficial for shaping and improving the policy in the future to benefit the economy and society at large in Europe.

 

Further reading:

  1. CENSIS (2019), Available online at http://www.censis.it/7?shadow_comunicato_stampa=121202
  2. Kerr, S.P., & Kerr, W.R. (2017). Immigrant Entrepreneurship. In Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses:
  3. Current Knowledge and Challenges, 187-249. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.
  4. Irastorza, N., & Peña-Legazkue, I. (2018). Immigrant entrepreneurship and business survival during the recession:
  5. Evidence from a local economy. The Journal of Entrepreneurship, 27(2), 243-257.
  6. Ramli, N.S., (2016). A comparative study of marketing strategies: the development of cosmetic brands created by diaspora entrepreneurs and non-diaspora entrepreneurs in the US cosmetic industry. [Doctoral dissertation], University of York, United Kingdom.
  7. Ramli, N.S., (2015). Immigrant entrepreneurs on the world’s successful global brands in the cosmetic industry. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences195, 113-122

The authors are currently working on the following project:

A Comparative Study of Entrepreneurial Opportunity Identification between Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Non-Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Europe.

Researcher: Dr Nur Suhaili Binti Ramli  Twitter: DrSuhailiRamli

Funding: Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy

Supervisor/Collaborator: Professor Vladi Finotto.

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