European cities are increasingly faced with the challenge of integrating people from very diverse backgrounds. As migrant populations increase, so do the opportunities for new business, job creation and international competitiveness. This report shows that ethnic entrepreneurs, however small their venture, contribute to the economic growth of their local area, often rejuvenate neglected crafts and trades, and participate increasingly in the provision of higher value-added services. They can help to promote stronger trading links with their home countries and foster social cohesion in their host communities. The report examines what city authorities are doing to attract ethnic entrepreneurs into their established business communities, and to facilitate the business environment – from the purely financial to providing training and advice.
Although ethnic entrepreneurs from less-developed countries are common throughout Europe, they remain ‘unsung heroes’ according to some commentators. In socioeconomic terms, these immigrants were traditionally viewed largely as workers – specifically as suppliers of cheap, low-skilled labour to the more advanced economies. More recently, attention has shifted towards immigrants who start their own businesses.