Immigrant Entrepreneurs: The Identification of Foreign Market Opportunities

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Abstract

Building on the very few studies that examine how immigrant entrepreneurs identify opportunities to conduct business in foreign markets, this article explores how Italian immigrant entrepreneurs in Australia identify such opportunities. Relying on social network theory (Patel and Conklin, 2009), international business research indicates that social ties, including kinship and ethnic ties, facilitate the flow of information that enables entrepreneurs to identify opportunities (Ellis, 2011; Hayton, Chandler and DeTienne, 2011). This study finds that the Italian immigrant entrepreneurs prefer to receive information about business opportunities from trusting, social ties, particularly country of origin (Italy) regional based ethnic ties, rather kinship ties for fear of damaging the relationship. However both first and second generation immigrants do use kinship ties to gain knowledge about Italian market conditions. Implications for policy and practice, limitations of the study and ideas for future research are also presented.

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