Promoting ethnic entrepreneurship in European cities

Ethnic Entrepreneurship neglected policy area in urban economic and migrant integration strategies. This comparative overview report draws the findings from 28 city case study reports together. It 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. The report makes a number of recommendations to policymakers at EU, national and local levels.

Contributing network: European network of Cities for Local Integration Policies for Migrants - Eurofound
Covering cities: 28 European cities
Publication date: 2011

Document type: research

Background information: Cities for local integration policies (CLIP)

Cities for local integration policies (CLIP) is a network established in 2006 to support mutual learning between European cities on the subject of effective migrant integration policy. The CLIP network operates under the aegis of a number of European organisations, it comprises a network of 30 European cities and is supported by a group of European research centres. The unique character of the CLIP network is that it organises a shared learning process between the participating cities, between the cities and a group of European research centres as well as between policy makers on the local and European level. The four research modules examined issues relevant to local integration policies are: housing, equality and diversity, intercultural policies and ethnic entrepreneurship.

Methodology: a joint learning process

The research process was organised in a series of steps. Experts from the research group prepared a concept paper that was refined on the basis of discussion. Next, a standardised Common Reporting Scheme (CRS) was developed and filled in by city officials. After analysing the completed CRS documents, the research team organised field visits in each city. Based on the information reported by cities and additional information collected, the research teams produced a case study on each of the 28 participating cities. In this mixed-methods research study, researchers collaborated with civil servants of the cities as well as local experts. The comparative overview report draws the findings of the 28 case studies together and provides a set of policy recommendations.

Conclusions: migrant populations increase opportunities for new business, job creation and international competitiveness
  • The promotion of ethnic entrepreneurship is not self-evident for policymakers. 
  • Although many cities lack basic data, where information is available, it shows a growing presence of migrant entrepreneurship in cities.
  • Ethnic businesses play a diverse and often unique role, for instance: it helps to revitalise rundown city districts, provide new products and services,  and contribute to job creation.
  • Most common local measures to support ethnic entrepreneurs aim at improving their personal capabilities, for instance information services. Measures to improve the business environment are less prevalent; understandable, for competencies in this area often lie at a higher level of administration.
EU involvement: a number of European organisations

The CLIP network operates under the aegis of a number of European organisations: the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe and Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, together with the city of Stuttgart, established the network in 2006. The network is also supported by the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). The CLIP network has also formed a partnership with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

Researcher: Rath, Jan; Swagerman, Anna; Krieger, Hubert; Ludwinek, Anna; Pickering, Lisa
ISBN: 978-92-897-1038-1
Organisation: Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions
Contact person: Anna Ludwinek
Function: Research officer