From the Editors

The five papers published in this special issue of the Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation discuss a variety of aspects of immigrant entrepreneurship. The authors of the articles, many of whom are immigrants themselves, present views using a diversity of theoretical approaches covering groups of immigrants in several countries. The articles highlight Chinese SME transnational enterprises in the UK, immigrant entrepreneurs in Lapland, immigrant entrepreneurs in general in Germany, Vietnamese ethnic entrepreneurs in Germany, and South Asian immigrant entrepreneurs in Greater London. The phenomenon of entrepreneurial and self-employed activities carried out by migrants and ethnic minorities have been the subject of wide-ranging studies, mainly starting in the 1970s, linked to the general growth in the scale of migration both to Europe and the USA. However, migration patterns have changed significantly lately. Firstly, as globalization processes have increased the opportunities for communication and travel, many immigrants can maintain links with their country of origin while developing new links with their countries of residence or additional third countries. Secondly, contemporary migration has become a global phenomenon involving, albeit with a different intensity and extent, the majority of developed and developing countries. This expansion is also accompanied by a diversification of migration flows, from the point of view of motive, economic and legal status, education, gender, and geographic origin. Finally, immigrant populations presently include both first and second generations in their countries of residence. In addition, due to political turmoil, a new wave of refugees has become more and more visible, especially in European countries, creating new challenges for policy makers, social activists, as well as researchers. These changes have also influenced entrepreneurial activities undertaken by immigrants and refugees. The articles presented in this special issue are a reflection of the response of research to the changes in immigrant entrepreneurial motivations, intentions, types, and trends in general.

We start with the article by Jan Brzozowski and Anke Lasek investigating the impact of self-employment and entrepreneurship on the integration of immigrants in Germany. Brzozowski and Lasek discuss a very important and crucial issue, critically questioning the assumption that the self-employment and entrepreneurship of immigrants foster their integration. This positively biased assumption aligns with the longstanding understanding of many researchers that labor integration, in other words being part of the labor market – be it employed or self-employed, enhances the integration of migrants in their countries of residence. The results of this quantitative study, based on the German Socio-Economic Panel dataset, show that after considering absolute income, full-time employment and fair income, being self-employed only partly influences integration positively. In short, a precise and very differential evaluation of the value of immigrant entrepreneurship is necessary when authorities are planning policies that promote self-employment.

The paper from Rose Quan, Mingyue Fan, Michael Zhang and Huan Sun introduces in-depth case studies of Chinese entrepreneurs in the UK who are operating transnational small businesses. Based on network analysis and the concept of institutional embeddedness, the data revealed that the transnational entrepreneurs utilize different types of embeddedness at different stages of their business in their countries of origin, as well as in their country of residence. The authors contribute to entrepreneurial embeddedness studies by focusing attention on the hierarchical process involved in establishing networks, as well as on the interconnectedness between the entrepreneurs’ country of origin and country of residence.

The paper by Mark McPherson concerns a qualitative study of entrepreneurship by South Asian Sikh, Hindu and Pakistani Muslim entrepreneurs in Greater London. The main question in his research is how entrepreneurial intentions, abilities and opportunities facilitate or inhibit the growth and success of small businesses. Adopting a phenomenological paradigm, the data analysis reveals the importance of sector and break-out approaches such as ‘content to remain,’ ‘forced to remain’ and ‘struggling to adjust.’ The author suggests that business requirements, sector-specific characteristics and infrastructures are aspects no less important than culture, religious ethnicity and generation when attempting to understand immigrant ethnic entrepreneurship.

The article by Quynh Duong Phuong and Aki Harima looks at Vietnamese ethnic entrepreneurs in Germany. Utilizing cultural theory and the embeddedness approach, the authors identified four distinctive cultural values influencing Vietnamese ethnic entrepreneurs; namely, family involvement, cautiousness in entrepreneurial decision-making, assertiveness towards the community, and cordiality of service. These values are unique to a specific group of entrepreneurs. The authors maintain that only when focusing on the context-specific interconnectedness of cultural values and entrepreneurial activities is it possible to understand underlying processes. In the case of the Vietnamese entrepreneurs in Germany for example, family involvement establishes a cultural rather than a business contribution to entrepreneurial success. The paper thereby adds perspective to the role played by the cultural capital of ethnic entrepreneurs and stresses the importance of considering embeddedness, and social and cultural capital, as processes.

Finally, Nafisa Yeasmin and Timo Koivurova deal with the sustainable opportunity recognition of immigrant entrepreneurs in Lapland. Combining Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) theory and the mixed embeddedness theory, the authors investigated immigrant entrepreneurs who have run their business for more than three years. Yeasmin and Koivurova state that most immigrant entrepreneurs generally close down their businesses within the first year. The respondents of their study though have successfully built networks and developed customer service by hard work, confidence and a willingness to learn. Thus, their embeddedness within the social and business environment had an impact on the survival and growth of their ethnic immigrant businesses.

We would like to thank the authors for contributing their articles to this special issue of JEMI which adds to the expanding, accumulated knowledge in the fields of innovation, management and entrepreneurship. We would also like to thank the reviewers for their commitment and support in suggesting improvements to the submitted papers and for enhancing the whole editorial process. We hope these articles will be of interest to our readers and inspire further research into this interesting and current topic.

Dr. Agnieszka Brzozowska, University of Warsaw, Poland

Prof. Beata Glinka, University of Warsaw, Poland

Prof. Sibylle Heilbrunn, Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel