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Immigrant Entrepreneurship In Sweden: Challenges And Opportunities Related To Business Development
Högskolan i Halmstad, Akademin för företagande, innovation och hållbarhet.ORCID-id: 0000-0001-5796-3746
2024 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, sammanläggning (Övrigt vetenskapligt)
Abstract [en]

Background: At a time of continued volatility and uncertainty, there is a growing need to tackle the numerous political-social challenges and embrace the opportunities presented by demographic shifts caused by mass immigration. The migration crisis, which peaked in the European Union during 2015 and 2016, with over a million immigrants, has sparked renewed discussions among scholars, politicians, and the public about the costs and benefits of immigration. Recently, more immigrants have turned to entrepreneurship to overcome exclusion from employment and create upward social mobility and social integration. However, certain groups of immigrants, particularly refugee and female refugees, are not adequately represented and under-researched. Additionally, there is insufficient research on their business development, which remains largely unstudied. The existing literature tends to focus on specific aspects of entrepreneurial business development, disregarding the potential influence of individual and contextual factors when combined. This results in a limited understanding of the phenomenon, which leaves the field with no coherent framework or adequate knowledge outcomes. Moreover, the lack of theoretical research on specific groups of immigrant entrepreneurs is partly due to the limited empirical research and fragmented theories.

Purpose: This thesis aims to contribute to the development of theory and to enrich the empirical studies regarding this diverse and heterogeneous phenomenon. Specifically, the main purpose of this thesis is to provide a comprehensive understanding of immigrant entrepreneurship, with a special focus on refugee and female entrepreneurs’ perceptions in rural and digital contexts. Ultimately, this thesis develops a conceptual framework that can be applied in future research. This conceptual framework highlights the diversity, multidimensionality, and dynamic of the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon.

Methodology: To fulfill the overall purpose of this thesis, a mixed methods approach integrating qualitative and quantitative research methods is employed to study the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon using in-depth interviews and a comparative case study through surveys. This thesis examines how specific groups of immigrant entrepreneurs perceive challenges and opportunities during their business development in specific contexts at three levels. At the micro-individual level, this thesis presents case studies of female refugee entrepreneurs and refugee entrepreneurs. At the meso-business level, this thesis examines challenges and opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs in specific contexts (e.g., rural areas and the agri-food sector) and emerging technologies (e.g., digitalization). At the macro-environmental level, this thesis presents a comparative case study studying the impact of institutional differences on refugee entrepreneurship in different geographic locations, Sweden and Germany.

Findings: The findings emphasize that immigrant entrepreneurs are heterogeneous groups who perceive opportunities and challenges differently at different levels during business development based on their intersectional identities. Refugee entrepreneurs strategically leverage specific contexts, such as the agri-food industry, rural areas, or the digital landscape, to start their businesses, yet these contexts pose unique challenges. Additionally, this thesis offers an understanding of the start-up, growth, and exit phases. For instance, the exit phase, often overlooked, reveals crucial insights into reasons behind exiting the business, ranging from market unfamiliarity to the desire for industry switches after gaining valuable entrepreneurial experience. Moreover, digital technologies have emerged as a valuable tool, offering semi-anonymity advantages to female immigrant entrepreneurs. Notably, differences between refugee entrepreneurs in Sweden and Germany are uncovered, with varied motivations influenced by distinct market structures, educational offerings, and government policies. This thesis concludes by proposing an integrative multilevel conceptual framework that considers immigrant entrepreneurs' perspectives within particular contexts.

Implications: This thesis enriches the theoretical, empirical, and methodological foundation of immigrant entrepreneurship research by presenting an integrative, multilevel framework that combines mixed embeddedness with intersectionality. The proposed conceptual framework contributes to a better understanding of the heterogeneous nature of the immigrant entrepreneurship phenomenon via the integration of the various dimensions. In particular, the integration of intersectionality helps address the gender gap and migratory status, which is often overlooked in mixed embeddedness approaches. The conceptual framework also has practical implications for multiple stakeholders, including immigrants and host countries. It suggests policies and guidelines tailored to the intersectional identities of immigrant entrepreneurs, thereby fostering socioeconomic integration and combating exclusion, particularly among refugee and female entrepreneurs.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Halmstad: Halmstad University Press, 2024. , s. 112
Serie
Halmstad University Dissertations ; 112
Nyckelord [en]
Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Female, Refugees, Mixed Embeddedness, Business Development, Entrepreneurial Process, Intersectionality
Nationell ämneskategori
Ekonomi och näringsliv
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-52971ISBN: 978-91-89587-38-0 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-52971DiVA, id: diva2:1846970
Disputation
2024-04-26, S1020, Kristian IV:s väg 3, Halmstad, 10:15 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2024-03-27 Skapad: 2024-03-26 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-27Bibliografiskt granskad
Delarbeten
1. Busniess values and motives of immigrant agricultural entrepreneurs in Sweden
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Busniess values and motives of immigrant agricultural entrepreneurs in Sweden
2019 (Engelska)Ingår i: Proceedings of the 2019 International Conference "Economic science for rural development 2019" No 50: 9-10 May 2019, Jelgava, Latvia / [ed] Anita Auzina, Jelgava: University of Latvia Press, 2019, , s. 7s. 21-28Konferensbidrag, Publicerat paper (Refereegranskat)
Abstract [en]

The agri-food sector in Sweden, as in much of Europe, faces dramatic pressure to promote entrepreneurship, especially in rural areas where population aging and population decline pose grave economic threats to local communities. One solution is the government policy of supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of newly arrived immigrants. The policy is seen as doubly beneficial: support for rural areas and support for immigrants not yet prepared to enter the regular workforce. Immigrant entrepreneurship seems to have the potential to lessen the harmful effects of current socio-economic challenges. This paper examines the immigrant entrepreneurship experience in the agri-food sector in Sweden. A qualitative research approach is used to evaluate interviews with 25 immigrant entrepreneurs on the various factors that motivated them to become self-employed entrepreneurs. The main factors are the lack of other employment opportunities, the desire for work autonomy and flexibility, and the chance for a better standard of living. The results show that personal characteristics and previous entrepreneurship experience are the best predictors of business success. The paper concludes with a call for a model for immigrant entrepreneurship and for more government reforms and policies aimed at supporting the immigrant entrepreneur.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Jelgava: University of Latvia Press, 2019. s. 7
Serie
Rural Development and Entrepreneurship Production and Co-operation in Agriculture ; 50
Nyckelord
Immigrant entrepreneurs, Agri-food sector, rural area, motivation factors, business value
Nationell ämneskategori
Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-40989 (URN)10.22616/ESRD.2019.002 (DOI)000506811100002 ()978-9984-48-320-7 (ISBN)
Konferens
20th International Scientific Conference "Economic Science for Rural Development", Jelgava, Latvia, May 9-10, 2019
Tillgänglig från: 2019-11-19 Skapad: 2019-11-19 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-26Bibliografiskt granskad
2. Immigrant entrepreneurship in Sweden: The liability of newness
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Immigrant entrepreneurship in Sweden: The liability of newness
2020 (Engelska)Ingår i: Sustainability, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 12, nr 16, artikel-id 6478Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Immigrant entrepreneurs face many challenges in the various early phases of their companies' existence. These challenges are often referred to as "the liability of newness". While some of these challenges are common to all entrepreneurs, the immigrant entrepreneur has an additional set of challenges. This article describes those challenges in the immigrant entrepreneurial experience in the Swedish agri-food industry. A qualitative research design is used. Interviews were conducted with 25 immigrant entrepreneurs who planned a business, had started a business, or had exited a business. Various websites and tax reports provided secondary data. The research, which covered a two-year time frame, identifies the strategies and actions the immigrant entrepreneurs adopted and used to try to overcome those challenges. The following strategies and actions were identified: use of business support, virtual embeddedness, family and ethnic groups, entrepreneurial experience, and niche markets. The companies in which the entrepreneurs recognized the gravity of those challenges early in their life cycle were more likely to survive beyond the start-up phase. The article, which also reviews much of the current literature on immigrant entrepreneurship, has implications for business support advisory services and policymakers who are involved in the effort to achieve economic (and social-cultural) integration of immigrants into their host countries. © 2020 by the authors.

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Basel: MDPI, 2020
Nyckelord
Immigrant entrepreneurs, Liability of newness, Niche market, Previous experience, Survivability, Virtual embeddedness
Nationell ämneskategori
Företagsekonomi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-45639 (URN)10.3390/su12166478 (DOI)000579482100001 ()2-s2.0-85089855402 (Scopus ID)
Forskningsfinansiär
Tillväxtverket, 00199235Interreg Baltic Sea Region, 095
Tillgänglig från: 2021-10-27 Skapad: 2021-10-27 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-26Bibliografiskt granskad
3. Refugee entrepreneurship in the agri-food industry: The Swedish experience
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Refugee entrepreneurship in the agri-food industry: The Swedish experience
2021 (Engelska)Ingår i: Journal of Rural Studies, ISSN 0743-0167, E-ISSN 1873-1392, Vol. 86, s. 189-197Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Published
Abstract [en]

Following the recent mass migration of refugees to the European Union in 2015 and 2016, many EU countries took significant steps aimed at improving the socio-economic integration of the refugees. This study examines refugee entrepreneurship in rural areas in Sweden as evidenced in the agri-food industry. Entrepreneurship is often considered a sustainable activity that can promote refugees' economic independence and social integration. The rural setting offers promising employment opportunities for refugees with agricultural backgrounds or interest. Qualitative research methodology, based on 25 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with refugees, is used to examine refugee entrepreneurs’ experiences in the various phases of the entrepreneurial process, from start-up and growth to success/exit. The study found that refugee entrepreneurs are motivated and challenged variously as they start and operate their entrepreneurial activities. For example, they are motivated by the discovery of niche markets, previous entrepreneurial experience, and the availability of family and government support. Challenges include legislative hurdles, management and technical problems, and insufficient financial and other support. Factors both within and outside their control influence the survival of their entrepreneurship. © 2021

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Oxford: Elsevier, 2021
Nyckelord
Agri-food industry, Entrepreneurial process, Immigrant, Integration, Refugee entrepreneurship
Nationell ämneskategori
Företagsekonomi
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-45931 (URN)10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.06.011 (DOI)000691222100009 ()2-s2.0-85108088610 (Scopus ID)
Tillgänglig från: 2021-12-01 Skapad: 2021-12-01 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-26Bibliografiskt granskad
4. Refugee entrepreneurship motivations in Sweden and Germany: a comparative case study
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Refugee entrepreneurship motivations in Sweden and Germany: a comparative case study
2023 (Engelska)Ingår i: Small Business Economics, ISSN 0921-898X, E-ISSN 1573-0913Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Refugee entrepreneurs can make a significant contribution to sustainable growth and development in host countries. However, comprehensive comparative studies of refugee entrepreneurial motivations are scarce, particularly in the absence of a theoretical framework on entrepreneurship motivation that is suitable for such contexts. This is a research topic that is increasingly of interest to scholars and policymakers working with refugee workforce integration, particularly in light of forecasted increases in global forced displacement over the next years. This paper tests and extends newly constructed entrepreneurship motivation measures, comparing person-related factors and the perceptions of environmental-related factors for Syrian refugee entrepreneurs in Sweden and Germany. The results indicate that their motivations differ between the two countries with respect to market conditions, the educational environment, dissatisfaction, and know-how. However, refugee entrepreneurs in both countries have similar levels of entrepreneurial ambition and attitude and are motivated by similar perceptions of social environments and cultural norms. This paper identifies how entrepreneurship motivation differences could be considered by governments to better shape and inform host countries' programs and policies to improve refugee entrepreneurship and subsequent integration. Syrian refugees in Germany and Sweden differ in their motivation to pursue entrepreneurship, as evidenced by our comparative study, emphasizing the role of country context in shaping refugees' perception of environmental factors that influence their entrepreneurial motivation. We find that Germany-based refugee entrepreneurs are more motivated by market structures and educational offerings, have more know-how, and were less prone to negative motivation resulting from experiencing dissatisfaction (e.g. due to discrimination or lack of opportunities) compared with Sweden-based refugee entrepreneurs. The results emphasize the importance of policy reforms and initiatives that provide financial, administrative, and legal assistance to refugee entrepreneurs as they start and establish their businesses, as well as specialized entrepreneurship training and education programs. We call for future research on inter-country evaluations of institutional differences and migrant integration programs as well as trans-border exchange of lessons learned and success stories, particularly in-light of prognosed increases in global forced displacement over the next years. © The Author(s) 2023

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
New York, NY: Springer, 2023
Nyckelord
Refugee entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial motivation, Migration, Socioeconomic integration, Sweden, Germany
Nationell ämneskategori
Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER)
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-52190 (URN)10.1007/s11187-023-00830-x (DOI)001088002800001 ()2-s2.0-85174528094& (Scopus ID)
Tillgänglig från: 2023-12-06 Skapad: 2023-12-06 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-26Bibliografiskt granskad
5. Towards digital entrepreneurship: Opportunities and challenges for female refugee entrepreneurs in Sweden
Öppna denna publikation i ny flik eller fönster >>Towards digital entrepreneurship: Opportunities and challenges for female refugee entrepreneurs in Sweden
2024 (Engelska)Ingår i: Refugee Entrepreneurship: A Research Companion / [ed] Nadeera Ranabahu; Huibert P. de Vries; Robert T. Hamilton, London: Routledge, 2024Kapitel i bok, del av antologi (Refereegranskat)
Abstract [en]

Digital developments such as social media and the internet have created opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurship. Taking a mixed embeddedness approach, combined with intersectionality, this chapter presents an investigation of digital entrepreneurship among female refugees in Sweden. This chapter analyses the opportunities and challenges for female refugee entrepreneurs as they digitise their businesses. The data from in-depth interviews show that female refugees’ use of digital tools promotes their integration with the host country’s market, increases their market access, and supports their ability to provide customer services. However, the increased business digitalisation can also create work challenges such as the stress from work-life imbalance and unethical online behaviours. This chapter has implications for policymakers who wish to support female refugee entrepreneurs as they use digital tools to create, market, and distribute their products and services

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
London: Routledge, 2024
Nyckelord
Female refugee entrepreneurs, digital entrepreneurship, digital tools, mixed embeddedness, intersectionality
Nationell ämneskategori
Ekonomi och näringsliv
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-52926 (URN)
Anmärkning

Som manuscript i avhandling/As manuscript in thesis

Tillgänglig från: 2024-03-21 Skapad: 2024-03-21 Senast uppdaterad: 2024-03-26Bibliografiskt granskad

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Ghazal Zalkat-Doctoral thesis(2900 kB)254 nedladdningar
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