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Building entrepreneurial potential abroad – exploring return migrant experience

Urban Pauli (Department of Human Capital Management, Cracow University of Economics, Cracow, Poland)
Renata Osowska (Department of Marketing, Sales and Entrepreneurship, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 5 December 2018

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to examine how entrepreneurial potential is built abroad during the periods of EU economic migration and how this affects the entrepreneurial behaviour of individuals after returning to their home country.


A mixed-methods approach was employed via developing a structured interview discussion guide with open and closed questions centred around the topic of migration, reasons for starting a business and capital (e.g. human, financial, relational) gained abroad. The study covered 54 Polish return entrepreneurs identified through random purposive sampling.


The findings suggest an important role of migration on the decision to start a business as almost half of the respondents formulated a business idea during the migration. The capital gains affecting entrepreneurial potential development were mostly observed in terms of financial and human capital with relational capital only applied to a business idea. This may explain individual preferences to setting up a business when returning to the home country. Overall, the findings confirm the important role of economic migration in building the entrepreneurial potential of returnee entrepreneurs.


The study explores an alternative to the mainstream assumptions on migration by investigating entrepreneurial individuals, processes and practices that happen during reverse migration. Furthermore, by applying the resource-based view of the firm theory, this research expands the understanding of the inter-relationship between processes of economic migration and entrepreneurial potential development.



Pauli, U. and Osowska, R. (2019), "Building entrepreneurial potential abroad – exploring return migrant experience", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 936-954.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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