Open for Business

Migrant Entrepreneurship in OECD Countries

image of Open for Business

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).


Entrepreneurship among immigrants in Switzerland

This chapter describes and analyses entrepreneurship among the immigrant population in Switzerland, on the basis of self-employment data. The first section presents the self-employment situation as reflected in the most recent Swiss Labour Force Survey conducted by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. These data are then used, together with data from the last population census conducted in 2000, to address the question of jobs created by self-employed workers of foreign origin. The same data are used in the second part of the article to test a series of explanatory hypotheses current in the international literature on self-employment and migration.  This research has two original features that distinguish it from the existing literature on self-employment and migration. First, it offers a systematic comparison of the situation of persons of immigrant background vis-à-vis the native-born; second, it is not limited to examining independent workers in terms of their legal nationality but also takes into account their origin and possible naturalisation.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error