Entrepreneurship, Competitiveness and Local Development Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research
Edited by Luca Iandoli, Hans Landström and Mario Raffa
9. Refugee entrepreneurship: the case of Belgium Bram Wauters and Johan Lambrecht INTRODUCTION1 An increased interest in entrepreneurship among refugees at the diverse policy levels in Europe aims at killing two birds with one stone. By promoting this kind of entrepreneurship, both the integration of refugees into society can be aided and entrepreneurship in general can be boosted. The number of refugees entering Western societies has increased enormously during the last decade, although it should be noted that in recent years it has again slightly decreased. The case of Belgium is well chosen since it is a country that receives a relatively high number of asylum seekers. During 2000–04, Belgium was the eighth country worldwide in the number of received asylum seekers, with a total of 118 400 (UNHCR, 2005). The integration of refugees into Western societies is often seen as problematic, both by the refugees themselves and by the native population of the host society. Refugees encounter several problems in their new society, among others obtaining a good job. This is due to a combination of a lack of knowledge and skills, and discrimination on the labour market (Pécoud, 2003). Setting up an own business can provide a valuable way out of this economic uncertainty and in that sense it can be seen as stimulating further integration of the refugees into their new society (Kloosterman and van der Leun, 1999). On diverse policy levels in Europe there is a rising awareness of the need to enhance entrepreneurship...
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