Immigrant entrepreneurs face the following common problems usually addressed in Business Support services, although perhaps more severely:
- difficulties in accessing start-up finance and/or development finance on reasonable terms,
- problems in dealing with a range of administrative and regulatory requirements
- insufficient management skills and access to business support
- limited knowledge of markets and marketing Specific issues are:
- Access to information: immigrants are often unaware of existing support and may be hesitant towards institutional actors because of mistrust. They are often discouraged by the complexity of information given and the cautiousness of advisors who doubt their capacities to succeed.
- Content of the support: formal business planning and administrative requirements are less prioritized by the entrepreneurs than by the business advisors. Finding clients however seems to be a particular area of interest for the entrepreneurs.
- Quality of the support: focus groups with entrepreneurs highlighted the importance of an atmosphere of confidence and the need to trust the advisor. Entrepreneurs also expect complete, comprehensive information, based on experience, and concrete recommendations of actions to be taken.
Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Some Cultural Differences
Cultural issues may affect the perception and prioritising of needs, as well as influence the relation between the advisor and entrepreneur, which is crucial for the whole process. Some of the important cultural issues identified by business advisors are:
- Reluctance in dealing with institutions
- Relation to rules
- Gender relations
- Relation to time and time management
- The importance of spoken agreements in contrast to written and official documents