Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship

Promoting entrepreneurship among ethnic minority immigrants in Europe




The European Commission strongly advocates developing environments that are conducive to entrepreneurship, especially among the growing number of immigrants.


The Directorate General Enterprise and Industry commissioned the study to 1) identify and examine specific programmes to promote entrepreneurship amongst ethnic minorities and select good practices amongst them; and 2) identify professional organisations representing the economic interests of ethnic minority entrepreneurs. The study covered 32 European countries, including the 27 member states of the European Union, the EFTA member countries and candidate countries Turkey and Switzerland.



The study provides recommendations for policies and/or programmes being designed to promote ethnic entrepreneurship in Europe.

The twelve case studies that exemplify good practices can be found in the report which is available online: Entrepreneurial Diversity in a Unified Europe.

In the study, six types of policy measures or support schemes were identified:

  • Raise awareness among immigrants
  • Improve skills and competencies of individual entrepreneurs
  • Strengthen the social, cultural and financial resources of entrepreneurs
  • Improve market conditions
  • Implement favourable regulation at local, national and supranational level
  • Strengthen intermediary organisations such as training bureaus, consultancies, business associations.


Immigrant entrepreneurs often face unique impediments to starting and growing their own businesses. Identifying and expanding the most effective policies in promoting entrepreneurship among ethnic minorities may lead to higher numbers and success rates of their business start-ups, which in turn could lead to greater wealth creation and employment.


Identified 146 relevant policy measures from 32 European countries.

Selected 44 policy measures for further study using ten criteria which included critical mass, documented success, relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, inventiveness and replicability.

Conducted in-depth analyses of twelve policy measures.

Identified 103 professional organizations that promote immigrant entrepreneurship.

Partnered with the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies at the University of Amsterdam to conduct the assessments.


Most of the policy measures examined in this analysis were focused on strengthening the entrepreneur’s capabilities; fewer programs fostered social networking; and even less addressed access to finance. Only a few policies addressed the structural, societal and regulatory challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs. Immigrants who are the most difficult to reach or vulnerable seem to benefit most from personalized or tailored programs such as providing services in immigrant languages, intercultural mediators or outreach officers.