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Voices of entrepreneurship and small business: immigrant enterprises in Kista, Stockholm
KTH, Superseded Departments, Microelectronics and Information Technology, IMIT.
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

Immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship is a subject that has received increased attention in recent years. Many immigrants or people with ethnic backgrounds different from the majority population run their own businesses, in Sweden as well as in most countries and contexts in the world. However, ambitious research shows that there are great differences in business activity, behaviour and performance between different ethnic groups. Besides, it is easy to argue that differences also occur at the individual level. Thus, a person is not predetermined just because he/she belongs to a definable ethnic group. Another important question is the fact that the industrial setting and the context of the individual firm also affect the activity of the firm and the entrepreneur. E.g. in high tech environments, innovative competences may be of greater importance compared to business activity in the restaurant or retail sectors, where one could imitate already successful concepts.

In this dissertation immigrant as well as ethnic enterprises (where ethnic entrepreneurs are those who have clear ethnic involvement in terms of accessing and utilising different forms of ethnic resources) in different industries are studied. The work hypothesis, or rather assumption, is that the industry of the individual business plays an important role for the access to and utilisation of different forms of resources (organisational, financial, cultural, social, human, ethnic). Further, the industry of a business is also assumed to have an effect on the access to and utilisation of ethnic resources and the own ethnicity as a resource. The purpose of this study is to through a number of case studies explore the influence of ethnic background for immigrant businesses in different industries. The focus is on how ethnic involvement, thus ethnic resources, and identity as immigrant and/or ethnic business influence firms in their resource bases and resource acquisition efforts. That is, if the objective ethnic background is important for the firms in their resource acquisition efforts.

Since I want to study individual firms in an open and complex way I use a qualitative methodology with a multi-method approach, including ethnographic elements, direct observations, participant observations and interviews. This way, the possibility exists to grasp individual personal and firm characteristics that pay attention to the complexity and variation of immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship, an issue that tends to be forgotten in broad descriptions of the subject. The Kista district hereby provides an interesting example with its high technology context, mixed with a considerable amount of immigrants living in the area.

The exploratory study of seven businesses shows that there are important differences between firms in different industries. However, apart from type of firm and kind of venture opportunity exploited, the action mode of the individual(s) involved and the degree of confirmation and legitimacy the businesses have experienced influence and affect the importance of ethnic background for these firms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, 2004. , 118 p.
Keyword [en]
Business and economics, immigrant and ethnic entrepreneurship, high tech/science-and technology-based firms, traditional/service-based firms
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-163OAI: diva2:7559
2004-12-01, Plan 8, LECS, Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista, 13:00

QC 20161026

Available from: 2005-04-12 Created: 2005-04-12 Last updated: 2016-10-26

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