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).


Self-employment amongst ethnic and migrant groups in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has experienced diverse migration patterns since the late 1940s and in many ethnic minority groups the level of native-born members is rising. Thus, analysis of self-employment among ethnic and immigrant groups in the United Kingdom has tended to focus on ethnic differences rather on immigrant status. The self-employment experience of immigrant and ethnic groups in the United Kingdom has varied considerably over time. This chapter provides an overview of the characteristics of migrant self-employment in the United Kingdom and their evolution over time. Among other aspects, it analyses the evolution of self-employment propensity by ethnic groups. Only a relatively small fraction of the self-employed in most ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom employ others. Although governments tend to view high levels of self-employment as a healthy indicator of entrepreneurial activity, large numbers of self-employed minorities is not by itself a good thing and government policy needs to pay attention to both the quantity and quality of self-employment. 


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