Good practice can be seen as responding to the needs of both the immigrant entrepreneur and the host society, with its values and norms. Good practice should be inclusive and avoid passive discrimination
Outreach and Access to Information
The general observation is that immigrants have less access to information for linguistic, cultural and social reasons:
- they are not pro-active in their research, due to different cultural perceptions of business creation, as well as a mistrust in institutional actors
- they are less likely to go to traditional places of referral. Business support organisations therefore need to adopt pro-active strategies themselves. Practices include:
- creating information brochures and dedicated websites for immigrants themselves and organisations working with them,
- being present in areas with high concentrations of immigrant population,
- using community and local networks and word-ofmouth
- using immigrants’ own language
Useful Links for Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Inclusive Financial Services
Microcredit aims to close a market gap by providing access to loans to people who are excluded from getting bank loans. There is varying attention to immigrants as a target group, but the share of immigrants among micro borrowers tends to be fairly high, with rapidly increasing numbers of loans and enquiries.
- Good microlending practice as based on international microfinance experience and adapted to the European context enables to serve immigrants well, as shown by some of the older microlenders. Services should be efficient and relevant. For example, the smaller the loan, the simpler and faster the application process should be.
- Microcredit is ideally a bridge to mainstream banking services, through its close partnerships with banks. Microcredit funds often come from banks, and may be linked to the clients’ access to a bank account and range of financial services. If the business grows well, the first loan thro ugh the microcredit scheme should be a step towards subsequent credit directly from the bank. Microcredit and other business support practitioners can also play an active role in changing the banks’ perception of immigrant entrepreneurs to a positive direction.