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Under the microscope – an examination of the supports for ethnic entrepreneurs in Ireland

Naomi Birdthistle (Department of Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Australia) (Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 20 June 2019

Issue publication date: 19 July 2019




Because entrepreneurs operate in a world of uncertainty, the ability to analyse a situation, extract the important and ignore the superfluous, compare potential outcomes, and extrapolate from other experiences to the current one is vital. Researchers have identified several skills an entrepreneur requires to operate their business and the purpose of this paper is to examine if the training and support necessary for entrepreneurship to occur within ethnic communities exists in Ireland.


This study was carried out among established ethnic entrepreneurs and representatives from support agencies in Ireland. A quantitative research methods approach was adopted using online surveys. Responses from 36 ethnic entrepreneurs and eight support organisations were received.


Targeted programmes offered by service providers included programmes in foreign languages; providing literature in foreign languages; and specially designed seminars for ethnic entrepreneurs. Of the established ethnic entrepreneurs, the majority indicated that, although they have deficiencies in their skillset they did not avail of programmes because they were unaware of them.


Irish service providers need to provide additional services to ethnic entrepreneurs to be on par with their EU counterparts. Irish service providers need to provide general and targeted training programmes through minority languages. If Ireland wants to continue being known as the “land of a hundred thousand welcomes” and be able to support the much-anticipated asylum seekers who may choose entrepreneurship as a career option, it needs to consider the adoption of the recommendations of this study and provide better tailored services for the ethnic entrepreneur.



Birdthistle, N. (2019), "Under the microscope – an examination of the supports for ethnic entrepreneurs in Ireland", Education + Training, Vol. 61 No. 6, pp. 666-683.



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