Nations, Cities and Organizations
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Chapter 16: Migrant Entrepreneurship in a Diverse Europe: In Search of Sustainable Development
Tüzin Baycan-Levent and Peter Nijkamp 16.1 MIGRANTS AND URBAN BUSINESS The age of migration has led to a different population composition of cities in the developed world. Many cities were in the past decades flooded with waves of opportunity seekers, but many local labour markets were unable to accommodate this rising tide of workers. At the same time, the SME sector in many cities (for example, the retail sector) had great difficulties in coping with the competition of large supermarkets and department stores. This turbulent environment appeared to create favourable conditions for migrants with a business or entrepreneurial spirit, as they were able to exploit niche markets at reasonable costs. This has led to a massive change in the SME sector in many modern cities, where nowadays ethnic or migrant entrepreneurship is one of the most flourishing business activities that have really changed the face of the city (see Dana, 2008). In an open and global world characterized by a rising urbanization degree, modern cities function as the habitat of international migrants and magnets of economic growth, in which SMEs are a source of new jobs, business dynamics and innovation. Migrant entrepreneurs form a significant part of the SME sector in our cities and may hence be important vehicles for urban vitality. Usually, these migrant entrepreneurs have to work in an unfamiliar and risky business environment. However, they may tend to be risk-avoiding and hence concentrate on traditional market segments (for example, markets for ethnic products). Consequently, they may...
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