The choice of self-employment can be connected with a complex combination of factors. Being aware of these factors that result in motivations, resources and difficulties can help business support practitioners better understand the immigrant entrepreneur’s needs.
When asked about the reasons for starting their enterprise, entrepreneurs mention a range of push factors (such as low utilisation of their qualifications, boredom, frustration or lack of options) and pull factors (for example, being able to take control, be their own boss or earn better income as an entrepreneur). Some major causes commonly identified as leading to a strong will for immigrants to start a business are:
- Difficulties on the labour market: immigrants are harder hit by unemployment, and are often employed in 3D (dirty, dangerous and demanding), temporary jobs or jobs where their skills are under-used.
- The prospect of higher earning and social advancement, with the will to be independent.
- A strong entrepreneurial culture, with the predominance of self-employment in their countries of origin and/or community traditions.
- The possibility of mobilising ethnic resources through family and community networks, in terms of manpower, suppliers, clientele, and funding.
- Market opportunities in the host country, such as demand for exotic products, activities linked to post-industrialisation, replacement of retiring business-owners, projects linking the country of origin with the host country…