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Yvonne Witter

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  1. YPW

    Young Women, Ethnic Minority and Co-Entrepreneurs


    Ethnic minority businesses (EMBs) have been the subject of growing interest from a
    variety of sources in recent years for a number of reasons. From an economic
    standpoint, it can be argued that the ability of European economies to be enterprise
    based depends on their ability to encourage and support entrepreneurship in all
    sections of society, including ethnic minorities.
    Entrepreneurship in ethnic minority communities can also contribute to reducing social
    exclusion and contributing to raising living standards in groups that can be often
    among the more disadvantaged in society. Moreover, because of a tendency for ethnic
    minorities to concentrate in particular localities, the development of some local
    economies, and the standard of living within them, may be heavily influenced by the
    nature and extent of ethnic minority business development.
    At the same time, not all ethnic minorities are under-represented in terms of self
    employment and small business ownership. This is illustrated by the case of South
    Asian communities in the UK whose involvement in entrepreneurship is above that of
    the white population (Bank of England, 1999). The point to stress is that there are
    variations in the levels of entrepreneurship between ethnic groups, suggesting that
    there may be unfulfilled potential for business ownership when viewed at the macro
    Previous research on ethnic minority enterprises has drawn attention to the similarities
    and differences with other types of small firm, as well as to certain conceptual issues
    concerning what constitutes an ethnic minority business (EMB). Whilst the convention
    is to define an EMB on the basis of the ethnicity of the main owner, the extent to
    which a firm demonstrates distinctive behavioural attitudes and experiences distinctive
    ‘support needs’ is likely to vary according to the length of time a particular ethnic
    group has been resident in the host country, the circumstances in which their migration
    occurred and the degree of ethnic solidarity or assimilation into mainstream society. It
    is also likely to be affected by the generation (in migrant terms) of the business owner,
    since other things being equal, one would expect a second or third generation migrant
    to have been influenced more by the social, economic and cultural environment in the
    host country than a first generation migrant.
    As a consequence, it might be expected that the distinctiveness of EMBs, and the
    support issues that stem from this, might be sharpest in the case of firms owned by
    first generation migrants. In some of the new accession countries (e.g. Estonia), the
    position of ethnic minorities has an additional dimension because of the particular
    circumstances in which Russian speaking minorities entered these countries during the
    Soviet period.




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