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Enterprising expatriates: lifestyle migration and entrepreneurship in rural southern Europe


  • Ian Stone
  • Cherrie Stubbs


This paper focuses on the growing aspect of entrepreneurship associated with lifestyle-induced migration from wealthy countries, through investigating self-employment among expatriates from northern Europe in rural areas of southern France and Spain. Most expatriates had no prior experience of entrepreneurship and typically established their business opportunistically and some time after arrival. Based upon interviews with 41 expatriate households (operating 70 business ventures), the study explores the characteristics of the individuals involved, the nature of their businesses, factors influencing start-up, and processes and patterns of business development. Self-employment is shown to be the most effective available mechanism for supporting lifestyle objectives of expatriates who vary greatly in their skills, experience and resources. The study identifies significant differences between the respective groups from the two countries, reflecting the spatially differentiated character of migration in terms of age, education, qualifications and capital resources. These appear to have given rise to a more sophisticated profile of businesses in the French areas. Sharp differences in language skills as between the different countries are seen as influencing the ability of entrepreneurs to network with, and market to, the indigenous population, with implications for the future development of the businesses, and their local impact. The study seeks to augment standard conceptual approaches to entrepreneurship, through taking account of the primacy of the migration decision and specific related processes, and proposes a model that advances our understanding of the phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Ian Stone & Cherrie Stubbs, 2007. "Enterprising expatriates: lifestyle migration and entrepreneurship in rural southern Europe," Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 433-450, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:entreg:v:19:y:2007:i:5:p:433-450
    DOI: 10.1080/08985620701552389

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    Cited by:

    1. Gulumser, A.A. & Baycan Levent, T. & Nijkamp, P. & Poot, H.J., 2012. "The role of local and newcomer entrepreneurs in rural development: A comparative meta-analytic study," Serie Research Memoranda 0001, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    2. Daniel Meierrieks & Laura Renner, 2017. "Stymied ambition: does a lack of economic freedom lead to migration?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 977-1005, July.
    3. Aliye Ahu Akgün & Peter Nijkamp & Tüzin Baycan & Martijn Brons, 2010. "Embeddedness Of Entrepreneurs In Rural Areas: A Comparative Rough Set Data Analysis," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 101(5), pages 538-553, December.
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1619-:d:111683 is not listed on IDEAS

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