Immigration and (social) entrepreneurship

A Nation Built on Immigrant Genes is an article by John Gartner in the Washington Post which argues that (in the case of the US, and beyond)  immigrants are far more than simply a source of cheap, unskilled labour. Rather, they are natural entrepreneurs and, as Gartner puts it, "the original venture capitalists, risking their human
capital — their lives — on a dangerous and arduous voyage into the

He goes on to discuss how immigrants are, as a result of this entrepreneurial spirit, self-employed at a higher rate than native-born people (though the difficulty of breaking into traditional job markets must also play a part here?). And, most interestingly perhaps, says that "the rate of entrepreneurial activity in a nation is correlated with the number of immigrants it absorbs". He then extrapolates from that (via new business creation as a predictor of GDP) to the mighty claim that "Immigrants equal national wealth".

It served as a reminder to me of conversations we have had at SSE about the number of refugees/immigrants who have the drive and initiative to set up social enterprises against significant odds. People like Luljeta Nuzi and Rahma Abdalla, whose stories (and journeys) demonstrate their entrepreneurial characteristics (risk-taking, courage, prone to action) from the start, and how these entrepreneurial traits can then be blended effectively with a social conscience, or a commitment to helping others.

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