Open for Business

Migrant Entrepreneurship in OECD Countries

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Migrants contribute to the economic growth of their host countries in many ways, bringing new skills and competencies with them and helping to reduce labour shortages.  An aspect that has received only limited attention up to now is migrants’ contribution to entrepreneurial activity and employment creation in their host countries.  In OECD countries, entrepreneurship is slightly higher among immigrants than natives and the total number of persons employed in migrant businesses is substantial, although the survival rate of these businesses is often lower than that of their native counterparts. Migrant entrepreneurship has gone beyond traditional ethnic businesses, into a wide range of sectors and innovative areas.

Greater knowledge of migrant entrepreneurship is essential if policy makers are to better support migrant enterprises and their role in economic growth and job creation. In addition, increasing awareness of the positive role that migrants can play as entrepreneurs could contribute to a more balanced public debate on immigration.   Taking a cross-country perspective, this publication sheds light on these issues and more, discussing policy options to foster the development and success of migrant businesses. It is a compilation of papers presented at a June 2010 conference organised by the OECD Secretariat, with the financial support of the Swedish and Turkish authorities, and the Dutch-Turkish Businessmen Association (HOTIAD).


Enterprises created in 2002 by non-EU nationals in France: finding it harder to survive

This chapter analyses the reasons for the success/failure of enterprises owned by third-country nationals in France. The analysis is based on longitudinal data from the Information System on new Enterprises (SINE).  Foreign nationals are more likely than the French to set up their own firms, but those firms are far more vulnerable. Only 40% of migrant (non-EU) businesses created in 2002 were still in existence after five years, compared with 54% of corresponding native businesses. The first and third years are particularly difficult hurdles to overcome. However, rates seem to vary according to a number of business characteristics.  The third-country nationals owned enterprises that are most successful and aligned with French enterprises in terms of survival rates are commercial businesses and firms with a large, local client base. Conversely, construction businesses and individual firms are more vulnerable to failure than French firms in the same category. Among the others, the greatest factor in entrepreneurial success appears to be start-up capital investment.


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