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From breaking-ice to breaking-out: integration as an opportunity creation process

Quang Evansluong (Sten K. Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship, Lund University, School of Economics and Management, Lund, Sweden) (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK) (Gothenburg Research Institute, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Marcela Ramirez Pasillas (Centre for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFeo), Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden)
Huong Nguyen Bergström (Immigrant-institutet, Gothenburg, Sweden)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 28 February 2019

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019




The purpose of this paper is to conduct an inductive case study to understand how the opportunity creation process leads to integration.


It examines four cases of immigrant entrepreneurs of Cameroonian, Lebanese, Mexican and Assyrian origins who founded their businesses in Sweden. The study relies on process-oriented theory building and develops an inductive model of integration as an opportunity creation process.


The suggested model shows immigrants’ acculturation into the host society via three successive phases: breaking-ice, breaking-in and breaking-out. In the breaking-ice phase, immigrants trigger entrepreneurial ideas to overcome the disadvantages that they face as immigrants in the host country. In the breaking-in phase, immigrants articulate their entrepreneurial ideas by bonding with the ethnic community. In the breaking-out phase, the immigrants reorient their entrepreneurial ideas by desegregating them locally. The paper concludes by elaborating theoretical and practical implications of the research.


Immigrants act when they are socially excluded and discriminated in the labor market by developing business ideas and becoming entrepreneurs. By practicing the new language and accommodating native customers’ preferences, immigrants reorient their entrepreneurial ideas. The immigrants tailor their ideas to suit their new customers by strengthening their sense of belonging to the local community.



Evansluong, Q., Ramirez Pasillas, M. and Nguyen Bergström, H. (2019), "From breaking-ice to breaking-out: integration as an opportunity creation process", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 880-899.



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