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In Search of Ethnic Entrepreneurship Opportunities in the City: A Comparative Policy Study


  • Hadewijch van Delft
  • Cees Gorter
  • Peter Nijkamp


The rapidly rising inflow of foreign migrants confronts policymakers with many socio-economic problems. The negative externalities of uncontrolled immigration are well known and often hard to cope with. Recent years have seen the appearance of many policy initiatives based on self-reliance principles for ethnic groups. Against this background, ethnic entrepreneurship has become a popular strategy as it stimulates and encourages migrants to look after themselves with only limited support from the government: such policies are becoming increasingly important in many large cities. In addition to the conventional educational support and training programmes, such strategies need to implement policies aimed at self-employment. An emphasis on ethnic entrepreneurship is an attempt to exploit the economic potential and opportunities of foreign migrants, instead of focusing on the problems which minorities encounter when entering the labour market. In ethnic entrepreneurship this potential can be utilised in a creative way, especially if well-organised projects and initiatives are set up. The authors compare various assistance programmes and urban policies in several European cities, which are aimed at favouring ethnic entrepreneurship, with the aim of drawing lessons for effective labour-market policies. Their approach is to employ a systematic information base concerning self-employment strategies in the cities under investigation. A newly developed comparative statistical method for categorical information, namely, rough-set analysis, is used in order to identify critical success factors. The results suggest that utilisation of social networks is most helpful in enhancing self-employment among ethnic minorities. The authors offer some lessons for the establishment of sociocultural and ethnic networks, for strategies for improving training and education, and for improving access to facilities and financial resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Hadewijch van Delft & Cees Gorter & Peter Nijkamp, 2000. "In Search of Ethnic Entrepreneurship Opportunities in the City: A Comparative Policy Study," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 18(4), pages 429-451, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirc:v:18:y:2000:i:4:p:429-451

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Israel M. Kirzner, 1997. "Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 60-85, March.
    2. Bates, Timothy, 1997. "Financing small business creation: The case of Chinese and Korean immigrant entrepreneurs," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 109-124, March.
    3. S Pinch, 1993. "Social polarization: a comparison of evidence from Britain and the United States," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 25(6), pages 779-795, June.
    4. S Pinch, 1993. "Social Polarization: A Comparison of Evidence from Britain and the United States," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 25(6), pages 779-795, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nijkamp, Peter, 2009. "Entrepreneurship, Development, and the Spatial Context Retrospect and Prospect," WIDER Working Paper Series 008, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Chand, Masud & Ghorbani, Majid, 2011. "National culture, networks and ethnic entrepreneurship: A comparison of the Indian and Chinese immigrants in the US," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 593-606.
    3. Sahin, Mediha & Nijkamp, Peter & Baycan-Levent, Tuzin, 2006. "Migrant Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Cultural Diversity," Serie Research Memoranda 0016, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    4. Levent, Tuzin Baycan & Nijkamp, Peter, 2004. "Urban Green Space Policies : A Comparative Study on Performance and Success Conditions in European Cities," Serie Research Memoranda 0022, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    5. Mediha Sahin & Peter Nijkamp & Roger Stough, 2011. "Impact of urban conditions on firm performance of migrant entrepreneurs: a comparative Dutch–US study," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 46(3), pages 661-689, June.

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