This paper explores how diasporans achieve business model innovation by using their unique resources. The hypothesis underlying the paper is that the unique backgrounds and resources of the diaspora businesses, due to different sources of information and experiences as well as multiple networks, contribute to business model innovation in a distinctive manner. We investigate the English school market in the Philippines, which is established by East Asian diaspora who innovate a business model of conventional English schools. Two case studies were conducted with Japanese diaspora English schools. Their business is analyzed using a business model canvas (Osterwalder & Pigneur, 2010) and contrasted with the conventional business model. The empirical cases show that diaspora businesses use knowledge about their country of origin and engage with country of residence and multiple networks in different locations and constellations to identify unique opportunities, leading to a business model innovation.
Keywords: business model canvas, east Asian diaspora, transnational entrepreneurship, opportunity recognition, mixed embeddedness.