Academic journal article Journal of Comparative International Management

Survival of Necessity Immigrant Entrepreneurs: An Exploratory Study

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative International Management

Survival of Necessity Immigrant Entrepreneurs: An Exploratory Study

Article excerpt

The immigrant entrepreneurs face many obstacles in host countries. Recently some researchers in management and economics have started to shade some light on these issues. However, there still remains much to be known about the phenomenon of immigrant entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to fill this gap. It focuses on the factors that can foster the survival and success of the immigrant entrepreneur. This research studies the factors that can help necessity immigrant entrepreneurs achieve businesses success in their host countries. It proposes a profile for the necessity immigrant entrepreneur and discuss the relevance of the concepts of success and survival for necessity immigrant entrepreneurs. The research proposes a model that is rooted in a theoretical explanation of the survival of immigrant entrepreneurs. This model has been tested through a multiple-case study of immigrant entrepreneurs in the Latin American community of Montreal, Canada, and the results are discussed.

1. Introduction

The continuous increase of ethnic diversity in contemporary societies has led to the emergence of many important issues related to social cohesion, integration and social solidarity. This reality has been illustrated by the number of publications--books and academic articles--focusing on ethnic diversity. Today one of the most important issues related to ethnic diversity in our societies is the challenge of integration of immigrants into the job market of their host countries. Most importantly, in the developed countries that are major destinations for immigration, such integration has become a very serious issue. Immigrants face many obstacles to settlement and integration into the job market for various reasons including discrimination, but also due to limited skills. The despair resulting from this difficult situation forces some immigrants to start their own businesses and to become their own employers. Entrepreneurship gives immigrants social dignity in the host country, but is also a very challenging initiative given the various obstacles they face. For instance, immigrants can't easily gain access to start up capital through formal financial institutions because they don't have a credit history in their host countries that would be convincing to financial institutions. Therefore, no matter the potential of success of their entrepreneurial project, it's difficult for new immigrants to find the start-up capital, and they generally must rely on the support of family and friends for this capital. Also, they can't easily hire employees from the mainstream society of their host country because their financial constraints don't allow them to pay the normal salaries and grant the usual benefits legally expected by employees. Consequently, they end up with very long work hours. There are many other obstacles immigrant entrepreneurs have to face in order to survive in the host countries. Unfortunately, for many years business researchers have not focused on immigrant entrepreneurship, thus leaving the study of that phenomenon to anthropologists and sociologists. However, recently some researchers in management and economics have started to work on immigrant or ethnic entrepreneurship. Even if that effort has started to make a difference in the literature, there still remains much to be known about the phenomenon of immigrant entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the filling of this gap. It focuses on the factors that can foster the survival and success of the immigrant entrepreneur.

This paper is structured as follows: first, we present the characteristics of necessity immigrant entrepreneurs. Second, we discuss the concept of success/ survival of necessity immigrant entrepreneurs and explain why the concept of survival is more appropriate for necessity immigrant entrepreneurs. Third, we propose a model based on a theoretical explanation of the survival of immigrant entrepreneurs. …

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