In the United States, immigrant entrepreneurs start almost one third of all new businesses. However, many immigrant entrepreneurs lack the knowledge or expertise to evolve their businesses beyond the ethnic enclave where their businesses are located. Jose Gonzalez, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, was recently interviewed on Panorama, a show from the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, to share findings of recent research regarding these realities.
This researched analyzed how Latino immigrant business owners (all located in Nashville, TN) successfully expanded their business beyond their ethnic enclave. Data were collected from interviews, company documents and observations of the operation of businesses and owners. Miles, Huberman and Saldana’s data analysis method was used to identify six themes that yielded three possible strategies to help Latino immigrant business owners expand outside of their enclave:
- Adopt a multicultural hybridism model changing the internal make-up of the employee base to include more inter-ethnic labor and managerial resources
- Achieve language and cultural proficiency of the host community
- Seek and nurture professional development and mentoring relationships to obtain access to advice, opportunities and financial resources.
Also noted was the importance of individual readiness to seize opportunities and tenacity in business efforts. The study findings may contribute to positive social change, because strategies that help immigrant entrepreneurs succeed have benefits that extend beyond their immediate family to the broader communities in which they operate by increasing job creation, wealth accumulation and the development of society.