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“Call Me a Business Owner, Not a Refugee!” Challenges of and Perspectives on Newcomer Entrepreneurship

Publication Papers

Labour market participation is vital to newcomers’ successful integration in the host country. Although wage earning remains the most common means of participating in the labour market, some newcomers alternatively start their own businesses.

Newcomer entrepreneurship has substantial benefits for the business owner and the host community alike and can be facilitated through the establishment of supportive policies and initiatives.

However, aspiring newcomer entrepreneurs face several obstacles when they attempt to start a business. Through a systematic literature review and a selection of global case studies, this paper identifies some of the challenges with respect to market opportunities, access to entrepreneurship, human capital, social networks, and the social environment in the newcomer entrepreneurship context.

Unveiling those pain points paves the way for developing suitable solutions. Regulatory incentives and innovation could enhance market opportunities. Taking measures to reduce hurdles pertaining to bureaucratic complexity, foreign credential assessment, policy evaluation, legal status restrictions and securing financial capital could increase access to entrepreneurship. Tailored progressive education, training, consulting and mentoring opportunities may resolve issues in the area of human capital, while technology access and professional networks contribute to strengthening newcomers’ social networks. Finally, pressures in the societal environment, mainly resulting from discrimination, could be mitigated through community education and newcomer civic engagement.

While the lack of research on newcomer entrepreneurship and the vast differences among newcomer scenarios hinder the development of standard solutions, this paper aims to provide a foundation on which further investigation, strategic planning and solution implementation efforts could be based. Active, informed and engaged leadership is needed to champion the transition of the newcomer image from a passive and vulnerable recipient to an empowered contributor.