Enterprise and Small Business Principles

Ethnicity and entrepreneurship

Monder Ram, Giles Barrett and Trevor Jones

10.1 Introduction

Ethnic minority-owned businesses are now an established and growing feature of many advanced industrial societies. In addition to fulfilling an important economic and social role for minority communities, ethnic minority-owned firms have become particularly conspicuous within the general small business population. This chapter reviews a num­ber of the often contentious themes that have characterised this emerging field of enquiry. These include: the myriad explanations of the formation of ethnic minority businesses (EMBs), which range from ‘culturalist’ accounts to more structurally oriented responses; factors behind different levels of self-employment activity; the material basis of ‘family’ labour; the nature of the market environment; financial experiences; and issues for business support agencies.

10.2 Learning objectives

There are four learning objectives in this chapter:

1 To account for different levels of self-employment among Britain’s ethnic minorities.

2 To understand the different explanations of the formation and development of ethnic minority firms.

3 To describe the dynamics of financing EMBs.

4 To identify the challenges facing policy makers in supporting ethnic minority firms. Key concepts

■ opportunity structure ■ culture ■ ethnicity ■ diversity ■ family

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