Why we need to foster immigrant entrepreneurship communities
Associate Professor Artemis Chang, 9 April, 2019
Immigrants are much more likely to engage in entrepreneurship out of either necessity or opportunity.
Approximately one in four Australian are migrants. More recently China and India have become key sources of suitably skilled migrants in addition to historical countries of origins such as England and New Zealand.
Many of the new migrants to Australia are either underemployed or unemployed. Entrepreneurship often becomes a good alternative. Entrepreneurial-minded migrants can be well-positioned to take advantage of the unique resources they bring from their country of origin and local communities. They contribute to both the local economy and in the long run, development of their home country.
Benefits of migrant entrepreneurship communities
The benefits of building an entrepreneurship culture in migrant communities mean that entrepreneurs are enabled and resourced.
Resources and connections in a community
Immigrants have access to unique resources within their community and they should leverage these resources when they face adversity. The local chamber of commerce is a good starting place to get to know the business owners within the community. Many established entrepreneurs are happy to share their business and local knowledge, and the common language and culture make it easier to establish trust and relationships which are crucial to successful business relationships. Accumulating experiences and local knowledge within such a community will speed up the process of establishing a new business.
Our research indicated that being embedded within one’s own ethnic community offers extra benefit for the entrepreneur’s well beings. While business performance may vary inside or outside the ethnic market depending on the level of demands and competitions, we found that business owners are happier when they are well embedded within the ethnic community. So there is something about being surrounded by those who speak the same language and share similar experiences with you, at least for the initial period of arrival.
Building the community
Building a visible community offers newcomers a local point to visit where they feel more at home. It’s the place to buy groceries one is familiar with to make a home country meal and the place to go if you miss your home town cuisine. Many skilled migrants also have elder parents who visit them regularly but do not have the language skills to be mobile in other local areas.
The Sunnybank area in Brisbane for example used to be an avocado farm until the migrants strategically developed the areas for commercial and residential properties. These regional development initiatives flourished the local economy and showcased the contributions of the migrant community.
The Brisbane Taiwanese entrepreneurship community
Taiwan is one of the top trading partners for Brisbane. In fact, Brisbane and Kaohsiung are sister cities. QUT Business School have partnered the Australian Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce (Queensland) as a corporate member. In this role, we actively support the development of young entrepreneurs and this year we are very proud to support the Queensland chapter with their launch of the Oceania Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge. Six local chapters form Australia and New Zealand will work together to develop local teams of entrepreneurs to compete for the final seeding price of $2000 US, and the endorsement to apply for up to $100,000 US dollars funding offered by the World Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce.
It’s communities like the Australian Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce (Queensland) who build a culture of innovation and enables entrepreneurship opportunities.