Why More Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Needed in Ireland

It has been estimated that about 10% of businesses in Ireland have been founded by immigrants, although the exact number is difficult to estimate. The level of contribution that they make to the Irish economy is also unknown, but it has been argued recently that its value is increasing significantly on a yearly basis. There is incomplete information available regarding the diversity of countries of origin of immigrants that have stated new businesses in Ireland and the business sectors that they enter, although anecdotal evidence would point to restaurants, services, and retailing as the principal business sectors.

It has been established by past studies on immigrant entrepreneurs in Ireland that immigrants face additional and distinctive challenges when starting a business in Ireland that the native population do not experience. Immigrants have higher levels of difficulty in accessing finance and credit facilities due to a lack of collateral, limited credit history and discrimination. They have a poor knowledge of the enterprise supports available, and inadequate personal contacts and networks outside of their own community. This has resulted in enterprises being started in business sectors that have low barriers to entry and are highly competitive, and the enterprises being located in impoverished locations as many immigrant entrepreneurs can only afford to pay low cost rent. However, despite these challenges, numerous immigrant-owned businesses flourish and some have also increased international trade through business interactions with their home country.

In building a more inclusive society which benefits from multi-cultural activity, there is a need for policymakers to recognize the benefits of immigrant-owned businesses and to reconsider the business supports available to them. There is also a necessity to improve access to finance and to reduce the barriers that business permit policies create. However, there is a significant need to better understand the current challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs and TU Dublin has recently launched a research study to learn more about immigrant entrepreneurship in Ireland. They want to identify the main difficulties facing immigrant entrepreneurs and what supports could be introduced to improve the success of immigrant entrepreneurs in Ireland. If you wish to help, please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K6RSJL9 and complete the short survey. Your time spent answering these questions will help improve the business environment for immigrants across the country.

 

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