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Transnational migrant entrepreneur characteristics and the transnational business nexus: The Colombian case

Sandra Milena Santamaria-Alvarez (Department of International Business, Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia)
Maria Angélica Sarmiento-González (Department of International Business, Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia)
Luis Carlos Arango-Vieira (Department of International Business, Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 28 March 2019

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the characteristics of Colombian migrants’ transnational businesses (TBs) and their operations. To this end, the characteristics of the entrepreneurs, their businesses and the patterns of their international operations are discussed and compared.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses 14 cases developed from data from in-depth interviews with the same number of Colombian entrepreneurs who migrated to the USA. Similarly, the analysis includes secondary data sources.

Findings

TBs created by Colombian transnational entrepreneurs (TEs) aim to be successful through the best use of the resources of each market, allowing them to produce with lower costs and better quality in their country of origin while selling in more developed countries, such as the USA (their country of destination). The operations of those businesses are limited by their financial resources, small and fragmented networks, and their organic growth. The personal characteristics of the TE and their business comprise a nexus that helps to overcome business shortcomings.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to entrepreneurship, migration and international business literature by illuminating the nexus between the personal characteristics of the TE and the unique characteristics of their business, including the analysis of their international operations. Likewise, considering the characteristics of the context under study, the paper presents findings that are interesting for countries with similar social and economic difficulties.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge Universidad EAFIT for supporting this research by providing time, infrastructure and resources to conclude it. Also, the authors would like to thank all the reviewers for their insightful comments.

Citation

Santamaria-Alvarez, S.M., Sarmiento-González, M.A. and Arango-Vieira, L.C. (2019), "Transnational migrant entrepreneur characteristics and the transnational business nexus: The Colombian case", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 1014-1044. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-02-2018-0092

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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