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The Other Entrepreneurs - Migrant Economies as Spaces for Social Innovation?

Claudia Lintner

Abstract

This article analyses the relationship between migrant entrepreneurship, marginalisation and social innovation. It does so, by looking how their ‘otherness’ is used on the one hand to reproduce their marginalised situation in society and on the other to develop new living and working arrangements promoting social innovation in society. The paper is based on a qualitative study, which was carried out from March 2014- 2016. In this period, twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted with migrant entrepreneurs and experts. As the results show, migrant entrepreneurs are characterised by a false dichotomy of “native weakness” in economic self-organisation against the “classical strength” of majority entrepreneurs. It is shown that new possibilities of acting in the context of migrant entrepreneurship are mostly organised in close relation to the lifeworlds and specific needs deriving from this sphere. Social innovation processes initiated by migrant entrepreneurs through their economic activities thus develop on a micro level and are hence less apparent. Supportive networks are missing on a structural level, so it becomes difficult for single innovative initiatives to be long-lasting.

Keywords

migrant entrepreneurship; social innovation; otherness; marginalisation

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