Guest editorial: Migrant entrepreneurship and the roles of family beyond place and space: towards a family resourcefulness across borders perspective

Quang Vinh David Evansluong (Department of Business Administration, Umea University Umea School of Business, Umea, Sweden and Gothenburg Research Institute, University of Gothenburg School of Business Economics and Law, Göteborg, Sweden)
Marcela Ramirez-Pasillas (Center of Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO), Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden)
Allan Discua Cruz (Lancaster University Management School, Lancaster, UK)
Maria Elo (University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg, Denmark)
Natalia Vershinina (Business and Society, Audencia Business School, Nantes, France)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 6 February 2023

Issue publication date: 6 February 2023

804

Citation

Evansluong, Q.V.D., Ramirez-Pasillas, M., Discua Cruz, A., Elo, M. and Vershinina, N. (2023), "Guest editorial: Migrant entrepreneurship and the roles of family beyond place and space: towards a family resourcefulness across borders perspective", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-02-2023-223

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited


1. Introduction

The call for papers for this special issue aims to examine how migrant entrepreneurs and their families across borders rely on their places of origin and residence to promote migrant entrepreneurship and shape the entrepreneurial processes, contexts and outcomes for migrant entrepreneurs, their families and their communities. In doing so, this editorial and the articles of the special issue advance our knowledge of the role of the family in the countries of origin and residence for migrant entrepreneurship and propose a future research agenda on family resourcefulness across borders. We first discuss the research problem and positioning of this editorial, then briefly review the articles published in this special issue. As an outcome of the discussions, we introduce family resourcefulness across borders as a lens to gain future insights on migrant entrepreneurship. Finally, this editorial discussion presents future research directions.

For centuries, the relationship between migration, family and entrepreneurship has been a part of the human experience and existence for many people worldwide. It is known that migrants rely on their countries of origin and resources within those countries to establish and develop new ventures in the new country of residence (Drori et al., 2009). As migrants engage in entrepreneurship, their families get involved in the business voluntarily or get pulled into supporting the migrant entrepreneur on several occasions along the lifespan of the firm (Dabić et al., 2020); Elo et al., 2019a). Such a phenomenon provides a relevant research context to enhance our understanding of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is a key driver of a migrant’s upward mobility while also constituting a self-employment possibility in the new country of residence. Individuals moving across international borders are considered migrants irrespective of their legal status, whether the movement is voluntary or forced, what the length of the stay is or what the causes for the movement are (UN Migration Agency, 2019; Vershinina et al., 2019). The border-crossing can take place due to personal reasons, labour markets, environmental reasons, organized crime or even human trafficking. The term migrant can represent several sub-categories, such as immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and smuggled migrants. While internal migration takes place within regions of a country (Afreh et al., 2019), international migration takes place across international borders (UN Migration Agency, 2019). As a result of these international movements, migrant entrepreneurship emerges and disperses beyond the countries of origin and residence, involving families located across different countries (Sinkovics and Reuber, 2021; Elo et al., 2019a; Evansluong et al., 2019).

When living in the country of residence, migrants might establish ventures and embed them to existing ethnic communities (Elo et al., 2019b; Barrett and Vershinina, 2017; Dana, 2007; Light et al., 1994) to overcome the liability of foreignness (Vershinina and Discua Cruz, 2021). On the one hand, in some cases, the new venture is used to support the internationalization of a family business in the country of origin or country where they have family ties (Bagwell, 2015, 2018). In these circumstances, migrant entrepreneurs and their families often rely on transnational ties and diasporas for remittances (Elo et al., 2022; Ramadani et al., 2019). On the other hand, increasing globalization has also facilitated the return of many migrants to their countries of origin, where they establish ventures there as well as contribute to their local community development in the country of origin, a phenomenon termed in scholarly literature as return migration (Bai et al., 2018).

However, migration does not always take place voluntarily; many migrants are forced to flee their countries as large groups of people under threat to their livelihoods in war-torn countries, while others may fall victim to organized crime and, thus, seek formal asylum or live with or without a formal status in another country (UNHCR, 2018). Some refugees become entrepreneurs through establishing ventures in the country of residence (Christensen et al., 2020) while some migrants who are impeded by their lack of formal status may start informal business activities. In short, when migrants cross borders, they connect people, places and markets within and/or beyond one country, leading to diverse forms of value creation (Jones et al., 2019; Elo et al., 2019a).

Therefore, extant literature may be limited in explaining how migrants and their families engage in entrepreneurship across borders and contexts (Sinkovics and Reuber, 2021; Elo and Servais, 2018) as family is often treated as a single unit without specifying which family members and why, how and under which conditions they influence migrant businesses. Thus, investigating how and under which circumstances family shapes businesses and contexts for migrant entrepreneurship alongside the entrepreneur’s integration into the new country of residence, a direct result of their migration, can help broaden our understanding of family roles across borders for migrant entrepreneurship.

2. The role of families across borders for entrepreneurship

The interconnectedness between family and migrant entrepreneurship was acknowledged in the academic literature early on (Sanders and Nee, 1996; Dana, 1995; Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993). Family is significantly present in both migration and subsequent entrepreneurial endeavours (Elo et al., 2022; Dabić et al., 2020; Dana et al., 2020; Vershinina and Rodgers, 2020; Ram et al., 2017). As a global phenomenon, migration is related to the movements of individuals and families. Today, family migration includes forming a new family with a foreign person, reunifying with family members, and accompanying the main migrant in a new country of residence. From 2014 until 2018, family migration increased in most of the OECD countries. In 2018, family migration included 1.9 million migrants moving to a new country because of family (OECD, 2020). This signals that the interconnectedness between family and migration is an important aspect that still requires scholarly attention in order to discover novel social and economic insights.

Recent studies reveal that migrant entrepreneurs frequently rely on ties with family members in their places of origin and residence (Chavan et al., 2022; Selcuk et al., 2020; Evansluong and Ramirez-Pasillas, 2019). Ethnic boundaries are key as a bridge to the broader society (Verver et al., 2019, 2020). Some migrants keep strong connections in their countries of origin due to the presence of family members there while these migrants endure family responsibilities and integrate into their new country of residence (Centeno-Caffarena and Discua Cruz, 2021; Azmat and Fujimoto, 2016). In contrast, other migrants might choose to minimize interaction or cease connections with their country of origin forcibly or voluntarily and choose to settle down in the new country of residence (Park and Waldinger, 2017; Evansluong, 2016).

When starting a new business, even if migrants rely on their families, the specific family configurations vary in many forms and can include inter-ethnic/intra ethnic couples, single parents, stepparents, long-term co-habitation, voluntary kin and adoption, family friends, extended family members or members of tribes. Yet, there is little research on the composition and role of the family configurations in the case of migrant entrepreneurship, despite critical questions on the confirmation of families now becoming more prominent in family business research (Randerson et al., 2020, 2015). Members in family configurations of migrant firms might be involved in business development at different moments of the business formation (Chavan et al., 2022; Selcuk et al., 2020; Evansluong and Ramirez-Pasillas, 2019). Such family configurations illuminate various influences on entrepreneurial activities and processes, but these complexities are scarcely explored closely (Aldrich and Cliff, 2003).

Prior studies show that the interplay between a migrant’s family across borders and migrant entrepreneurship has been examined in family and ethnic capital (Vershinina and Rodgers, 2020; Rodgers et al., 2019; Dana et al., 2020; Cruz et al., 2018; Vershinina et al., 2011), family financial support (Jones et al., 2010; Ram et al., 2008), voluntary work or lower-cost family labour force (Ram et al., 2008; Sanders and Nee, 1996), exit from entrepreneurship (Bird and Wennberg, 2016), religious belonginess and traditions (Elo and Dana, 2019; Elo and Volovelsky, 2016; Dana, 2010) and internationalization of the family business (Chavan et al., 2022; Vershinina et al., 2019; Tata and Prasad, 2015).

For instance, embeddedness and social capital are among the most commonly used perspectives to study the features and roles of family across borders (Chavan et al., 2022; Selcuk and Suwala, 2020). Embeddedness suggests that family plays a vital role both as an institution and as a resource base for business creation; hence, the family unit needs a closer examination due to changing demographics (Aldrich and Cliff, 2003). Because family units have different configurations in the country of origin and residence, their roles and significance vary in the business development. From a social capital perspective, the family is acknowledged as a vital resource. The values, reciprocity exchanges, solidarity and enforceable trust vary across countries, influencing the role of family in supporting or hindering entrepreneurship (Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993).

Hence, literature on entrepreneurship argues that contextualized research is important to better understand this interplay between migrant entrepreneurs and their families across borders in terms of processes and outcomes (Ramirez-Pasillas et al., 2017; Welter, 2011). Calls for research invite “more contextual heterogeneity” (Verver et al., 2019, p. 968) in migrant entrepreneurship studies to increase our understanding of the “diversification of diversity” (Jones et al., 2010, p. 565). Since migrant entrepreneurs might be embedded in the country of residence and origin (Drori et al., 2009), entrepreneurs, their families and contexts are shaped by inducing processes, practices and outcomes of migrant entrepreneurship (Verver et al., 2019). It is, therefore, vital not to overlook the interplay between the multiple aspects of a migrant’s spatial and family embeddedness and migrant entrepreneurship (Centeno-Caffarena and Discua Cruz, 2021). Family members are embedded primarily in their extended family and kin constellations that may be diasporic, multi-layered and highly globally dispersed (Elo and Dana, 2019). In addition, as migrants they are also experiencing mixed embeddedness linking both the countries of residence and origin and their respective resources, which offers special potential for business and cultural bridging and bonding, particularly through their diaspora networks (Elo and Minto-Coy, 2018; Bagwell, 2018; Kloosterman, 2010). Basco (2017) brought up the concept of multiple embeddedness that covers a plethora of layers from social, relational, emotional, cultural, economic and other nuances, even from history. Hence, a migrant faces a multifaceted and largely idiographic family and contextual embeddedness that has multiple layers to be addressed in analysis and research, especially as these layers influence the resource configurations of the migrant in question.

Family provides values and trust (Barrett and Vershinina, 2017), and it also supports collective actions, builds a sense of community (Jack and Anderson, 2002) and carries entrepreneurial traditions (Elo and Dana, 2019). Furthermore, individuals develop and maintain contacts with their family members when they migrate to a new region or country and often use the new business to sustain the contact (Evansluong and Ramirez-Pasillas, 2019; Evansluong, 2016). We know that internationalization of a family firm may in fact offer emancipatory space within which the family can reduce its constraining influence, particularly on migrant entrepreneurial women, who, as daughters and spouses, may feel patriarchal pressure placed upon them in their countries of origin (Vershinina et al., 2019).

Thus, because of migration, the diversity of families and roles of family members in life and in business change both in country of origin and residence (Kothari et al., 2022). The migrant family’s ethnicity, gender ascribed roles and household responsibilities, generation and background have significant impact on migrant entrepreneurship (Villares-Varela, 2017; Ram et al., 2017; Beckers and Blumberg, 2013).

3. The articles in this special issue

The articles in this special issue draw attention to the significance and diversity of aspects illuminating the role of the family in migrant literature, reflecting the efforts of researchers to challenge current conceptualizations and add to our understanding. The articles rely on family embeddedness, family social capital and family networks to examine family configurations and dynamics influencing the migrant’s or refugee’s entrepreneurial processes, contexts and outcomes. The articles cover literature reviews, quantitative and qualitative approaches and rigorous methodologies to depict different roles of migrant families across borders. As follows, we briefly present the articles:

The first article, “How kinship resources alleviate structural disadvantage: self-employment duration among refugees and labour migrants” by Kazlou and Wennberg (2021) explores how kinship resources alleviate structural disadvantages among refugees and labour migrants in the context of Sweden, using longitudinal data of self-employment in the period between 2006 and 2012. The authors show that in comparison to labour migrant groups, refugees are at a disadvantage in self-employment duration. However, refugees have a higher level of family embeddedness than labour migrants, which helps them overcome such disadvantages. Interestingly, a higher level of family human capital increases the likelihood that self-employed refugees will exit self-employment.

The second article, “Family across borders social capital and diaspora entrepreneurial preparedness” by Karayianni et al. (2021), studies the influences of family ties on the entrepreneurial preparedness of the Cypriot diaspora family business owners in Australia, South Africa, the UK and the USA. Their results show that family ties across borders play an important role in diaspora family business owners’ entrepreneurial preparedness. Specifically, being influenced by urgency and esteem derived from the interpersonal relationships within the family across borders, the diaspora family business owners learn upon self-reflection and become entrepreneurially prepared.

The third article, “Examining network characteristic dynamics of kinship-based families on performance within Indonesian SMEs” by Manik et al. (2021), examines the effect of network characteristics on the firm performance of Javanese and Minang ethnic enterprises in Indonesia. Manik et al. (2021) show that network centrality, network density and tie strength have a significant effect on firm performance and that Javanese ethnic enterprises have identity-based networks, while Minang ethnic enterprises use calculative-based networks.

The fourth article, “Does family involvement help small migrant businesses survive? A closer examination of family in migrant entrepreneurship” by Li and Johansen (2021), examines how family involvement in migrant businesses contributes to distinctive resources which help these businesses survive in the USA. Li and Johansen (2021) suggest that small businesses founded by migrant entrepreneurs are less likely to survive and that family involvement weakens the negative relationship between founder migrant status and business survivability. In addition, the positive moderating effect associated with family involvement is further strengthened by the use of external/borrowing startup capital; thus, migrant families who founded small businesses with access to external capital have the highest probability of survival.

The fifth article, “Entrepreneurship, family, and migration: a systematic literature review on Vietnamese migrant entrepreneurship” by Nguyen Quoc et al. (2021), conducts a systematic literature review on the interplay between family, migration and entrepreneurship in Vietnam. Their results suggest that Vietnamese migrant families mobilize and use various kinds of cultural, social, human and financial capital for entrepreneurship. The families generate resources key for the development of the Vietnamese family-owned enterprises that are expected to continue over generations.

The sixth article, “Not without family: refugee family entrepreneurship and economic integration process” by Zehra and Usmani (2021), investigates the influences of family social capital on the economic integration process among Afghan refugee entrepreneurs in Pakistan, suggesting refugee family entrepreneurship as an important framework. The findings suggest that Afghan refugee entrepreneurs use horizontal and vertical family social capital during the economic integration process. A key form of additional capital is the bridging ties across generations that increase the pace of local acculturation.

The seventh article, “Expanding understanding of family social capital in crowdfunding of migrant entrepreneurial ventures” by Arshad and Berndt (2021), studies the role of migrant family social capital in the success of crowdfunding ventures using a single case study of a Chinese migrant entrepreneur in the USA. The study shows that the migrant entrepreneur’s family network contributes to the success of the migrant’s crowdfunding ventures by providing the entrepreneurs operand and operant resources from both the country of residence and country of origin. Specifically, the family network in both countries makes the crowdfunding immigrant entrepreneur’s family more resourceful, providing additional benefits to the crowdfunding migrant entrepreneurs.

3.1 Contributions and implications – what do we learn from this special issue?

The papers included in this special issue shed light on a multitude of aspects regarding family, entrepreneurship and resourcefulness, as well as on multiple layers of theoretical interest. The key contributions are compiled per paper in Table 1.

4. Towards an elaborated understanding of family across borders: a resourcefulness perspective

Based on the multiple aspects of family resources predominantly discussed in the articles in this special issue, we argue that it is important to investigate the micro-level influence of family across borders on multiple levels (Honig, 2018). We suggest that resourcefulness is a conceptual framework that allows us to gain insights into how family resources are used and co-created for migrant entrepreneurship. Resourcefulness explains how entrepreneurs find ways to bring, gather and deploy resources in a smart manner (Williams et al., 2020). The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines resourcefulness as “the quality of being good at finding ways of doing things and solving problems” (Oxford University Press, 2022). Resourcefulness is recognized as a quality that allows individuals to “get more from less” (Williams et al., 2020, p. 1). In addition to this, resourcefulness is also related to entrepreneurs finding ways to innovate or be frugal, using constrained resources (Williams and Shepherd, 2016; Baker and Nelson, 2005).

Literature approaches resourcefulness from an individual or community view (Hertel et al., 2021). From an individual view, literature investigates entrepreneurial resourcefulness by examining bricolage, effectuation and bootstrapping as forms of resourceful endeavour. Bricolage implies that entrepreneurs act in resource-constrained environments using resources in a creative manner (Baker et al., 2003). In turn, effectuation discusses how entrepreneurs innately create opportunities and act based on available resources (Sarasvathy, 2001). Then, bootstrapping comprises how entrepreneurs obtain resources, often from family and friends (Ebben and Johnson, 2006). In these studies, entrepreneurial resourcefulness implies that entrepreneurs get more resources from their broader environments by engaging in resourceful activities as a response to resource constraints (Welter et al., 2018; Williams and Shepherd, 2016; Powell and Baker, 2011). For instance, Welter et al. (2018) illustrated how entrepreneurs obtain cultural, human, physical or social resources from their local communities, and Di Domenico et al. (2010) found that bricolage is featured by social entrepreneurs’ community participation. Entrepreneurs engage in resourceful activities regardless of individual and/or environmental resource constraints, positing a stronger emphasis on human agency rather than resource constraints (Michaelis et al., 2020). In these studies, family is one of those prevalent environments; hence, family is not investigated systematically, leaving aside the questions of why, how and under which circumstances family plays a role in resourceful endeavours.

From a community view, entrepreneurs engage in resourceful endeavours to get “more from many” (Hertel et al., 2021, p. 1). According to Hertel et al. (2021), resourcefulness can be expanded from the individual’s ability to respond to environmental constraints to the ability to recognize and capture resources through community-based enterprises (but still exercised through the entrepreneur’s agency). Communities share an identity, concerns and history in a place triggering entrepreneurial processes (Bacq et al., 2020; Murphy et al., 2020; Lumpkin and Bacq, 2019). Communities influence resource access and leverage obtained through networks, such as financial, physical and organizational resources (Barraket et al., 2019). As a result, recent studies suggest examining processes at the community level. For example, Murphy et al.’s (2020) study propose collective effectuation as an extension of effectuation theory, showing that collective effectuation is iterative and cyclical; the collective effectuation helps reclaim disposed resources and updates goals in the pursuit of community-based entrepreneurial opportunities. Furthermore, Hertel et al. (2021) investigate entrepreneurs’ activities to combine, mobilize and deploy social, human, financial or physical resources of the community. These authors found that community resourcefulness is a capability developed over time through different combinations of activities. Community resourcefulness allows entrepreneurs to increase combinations of financial, human, physical and social resources, reduce external financial resources and keep a resource inflow in pursuit of new venture creation. Hertel et al.’s (2021) study is relevant as it focuses on the activity level and hints at the importance of closely exploring environments like a community or a family.

The conceptualization of resourcefulness denotes the activities and endeavours of entrepreneurs to advance their ideas into new businesses (or successful businesses); thus, we propose to link the concept of resourcefulness to family across borders and migrant entrepreneurship. Family resourcefulness across borders can help to understand the increasing complexities of migration and entrepreneurship at multiple levels suggested by Honig (2018) and Kloosterman (2010). “Family resourcefulness across borders” accounts for the activities and processes to get more from the migrant’s family across borders and includes activities to give back to the family and community across borders. Family – and who is family – varies across borders due to ethnicity, values, norms, composition and life cycle, creating differences in duties, expectations and entitlements in the country of origin and residence. Migrant family configurations can adopt varied forms in more than one place, including inter-ethnic/intra ethnic couples, single parents, stepparents, long-term co-habitation, voluntary kin and adoption, family friends or tribe members. In line with Williams et al. (2020), family resourcefulness across borders not only denotes the processes of bringing, assembling and deploying resources of the migrant’s family beyond the country of residence and origin, but also includes activities to provide to the family and the community. In the context of migration, this includes the individual and collective activities of the migrant’s family members for the migrant’s development of an idea into a business matter. The family and its available resources across borders are activated to form the resulting new business according to these influences (Evansluong and Ramirez Pasillas, 2021).

5. Discussion and conclusion

Building on the updated understanding, we develop the theorizing and distinguish the family resourcefulness considering the family across borders, given the potential of multiple geographic locations (see Figure 1). The theoretical implications suggest that there are multiple geographic locations relevant for families, which are represented with arrowed boxes corresponding to the country of origin and the countries of residence of the family and the migrant entrepreneur in Figure 1. A migrant entrepreneur can have more than one country of residence as well as a family across borders. For instance, a migrant entrepreneur’s country of entry can be Mexico, which can be a temporary residence since the migrant intends to move to the USA. The migrant’s family might already have family presence and resources available in Mexico or the USA, which is relevant for initiating entrepreneurial endeavours. These dynamics illustrate the need to rethink managerial implications. Managerial implications for migrants and their family businesses have distinct features from those of non-migrant or non-family businesses. Thus, the processes of bringing, assembling and deploying family resources, as well as providing for the family by the migrant entrepreneur are exercised as needed once the business idea is developed. Their formal identities and entrepreneurial conditions change with each consecutive migration, and family members may have divergent status creating family problems (Elo et al., 2022). The policymaking implications are largely transnational, national or regional and need particular contextual attention as institutional settings across different geographical locations and their associated political, social, institutional and regulatory structures may or may not foster family entrepreneurship and resourcefulness.

As follows, we elaborate on family resourcefulness across borders as linked to the migrant entrepreneurship literature and present suggestions for future research. The capability of bringing resources from family refers to activities carried out by migrants to acquire financial, human, educational, emotional, physical, cultural and religious resources from their family in different geographical locations. The multiple geographical locations might allow migrants to live, work and obtain necessary resources from and through family (Bagwell, 2015) and pursue business opportunities sequentially or even in parallel (Elo et al., 2019; Drori et al., 2009). The migrant’s family plays a role in granting migrant entrepreneurs access to these resources, not only in the country of residence and origin (Karayianni et al., 2021; Li and Johansen, 2021) but also in other countries where migrants have kinship connections (Bagwell, 2015; Bagwell, 2018).

Through family members, migrant entrepreneurs are able to bring different types of resources that support different aspects of their businesses. Examples are low-interest loans or donations to finance the business during the start-up phase (Jones, et al., 2010; Ram, et al., 2008; Vershinina, et al., 2019), low-cost labour force whenever needed for the business (Sanders and Nee, 1996) and emotional support throughout the entrepreneurial journey (Evansluong, 2016). Although the capability of bringing resources from family across borders is acknowledged in the literature, we currently lack an understanding of the activities performed by migrants to obtain resources. It is relevant to examine why some family resources are more important than others for migrant businesses in order to understand how migrants succeed or fail in bringing those resources across borders. Duties and expectations are generated when bringing resources from the family across borders (Portes and Sensenbrenner, 1993). Thus, investigating how these influences affect the new business is important in understanding the effects of gender, socio-economic class and education of the migrant and their family across borders in this process.

Having accessed family resources, migrant entrepreneurs assemble them for different purposes. The capability of assembling resources involves activities conducted by migrant entrepreneurs to combine and integrate resources to launch a new business or take the business to the next level. Migrants assemble combinations or integrations of resources from the family across borders that are diverse, for instance, including combining low-interest loans from family members (Ram et al., 2008) with low-cost or volunteer labour force from family members (Sanders and Nee, 1996). They can combine business knowledge of family members with the business networks of the family business (Evansluong, 2016). Yet, research is scant in understanding the activities performed by migrants for assembling resources from family. We also do not know how migrants deal with the potential family resource variation and what trade-offs are associated with specific choices of the assembling resources. It will also be critical to examine the skills, knowledge, competencies and experiences of the migrant entrepreneurs and their families vital to assembling resources successfully.

The capability of deploying refers to organizing and using the combinations and integrations of resources for a specific purpose in pursuit of the migrant’s new businesses. At the start-up phase of the business, to deploy resources, migrants combine resources to gain financial support and cut costs (Evansluong and Ramirez-Pasillas, 2019). In the expansion phase, to offer a service for the local market in the country of residence, migrant entrepreneurs might outsource part of the service to their own family business in the country of origin and/or rely on the know-how of the family business’s network (Evansluong, 2016). During the internationalization process, migrant entrepreneurs use resources acquired and assembled from family ties, family’s knowledge of the country of residence, and transnational links beyond the country of origin and residence to support the business’s competitive advantage (Chavan et al., 2022; Vershinina et al., 2019).

Although the capability of deploying is present in the migrant entrepreneurship literature, studies focused on activities are scant. Investigating the process of deploying family resources in different socio-economic and institutional contexts is important to examine the influence of family resources on the migrant’s business creation and innovation. Such research can help obtain insights into the family dynamics across borders that are in play. It can also help understand activity configurations to succeed or fail in deploying resources. The process of deploying might hinder or enable a migrant’s business to internationalize. Thus, examining the influence of family values, traditions and preferences across borders is needed to understand if they trigger tensions and paradoxes in the resource deployment process.

The overall processes of bringing, assembling, deploying and providing resources among migrant entrepreneurs involve several family members of these entrepreneurs over time. For instance, as the entrepreneurs develop an idea, they might call for financial help in establishing the venture. Migrants rely on the contribution of their nuclear and extended families from both countries of residence and origin (Arshad and Berndt, 2021). Studies show that family is prominent and contributes to migrant entrepreneurship in different ways and at different moments of a venture (Evansluong and Ramirez Pasillas, 2021; Ram et al., 2008; Sanders and Nee, 1996). For instance, the migrant family shares risks through co-financing ventures (Aldén and Hammarstedt, 2016; Jones et al., 2010; Ram et al., 2008).

However, the majority of studies in migrant entrepreneurship refer to family as a single unit without specifying which roles of which family members play a part in the process of migrant entrepreneurs’ bringing, assembling and deploying resources. Future research can advance our knowledge of what a resourceful family across borders entails. Such research includes investigating the positions of different family members across borders and how gender, class and inequalities matter. This research will help understand the meaning and characteristics of families across borders and their impact on the venture creation.

On the one hand, the family contributes significantly to a migrant’s businesses in several ways. On the other hand, migrant entrepreneurs provide for their families when needed through their business activities. Family members may help migrant entrepreneurs at the start of the venture, and at a later stage when the venture yields profit, these entrepreneurs might have the financial responsibility of paying back their family members, for instance, to retired parents or younger siblings (Evansluong and Ramirez-Pasillas, 2019). The business might act as a springboard to provide financial betterment for the children in the country of residence (Evansluong, 2016). Although the literature on migrant entrepreneurship has recognized the significance of the migrant’s role as the provider contributing to their family’s quality of life, little is known about when and how migrant entrepreneurs provide for their family and for which members of the family migrant entrepreneurs provide support. The way family concepts and societal changes develop in different parts of the world continues to offer contextually relevant concerns for future studies. Understanding how family obligations influence the procurement of resources as a way to give back to the family can help explain how migrants link the family and business across borders. It can also help understand how migrants deal and work in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.

Figures

Family resourcefulness across borders for migrant entrepreneurship

Figure 1.

Family resourcefulness across borders for migrant entrepreneurship

Contribution to the conceptualization of the roles of family across borders for migrant entrepreneurship

Authors Contribution
Kazlou and Wennberg (2021) Contributes to our understanding of how family embeddedness becomes more significant to refugees than to labour migrants in terms of self-employment duration. Refugees’ higher level of family embeddedness helps partially to overcome migrant disadvantages in the country of residence. The co-location of refugees in an ethnic enclave also lowers the risk of becoming unemployed
Karayianni et al. (2021) Contributes to our understanding of the significant role of family ties across borders for Cypriot diaspora family business owners’ entrepreneurial preparedness in the UK, USA, South Africa and Australia. Hidden values deriving from the family across borders drive the diaspora family business owners to learn from self-reflection and become entrepreneurially prepared
Manik et al. (2021) Contribution lies in the role of family and external partners in the running of ethnic enterprises at start-up and growth phases. The definition of “family” is based on a kinship perspective due to the specificity of Asian cultures, particularly in Indonesia, as found by examining the Javanese and Minang tribes in Indonesia that have unique cultural values
Li and Johansen (2021) Contribution shows that small businesses founded by migrant entrepreneurs are less likely to survive since family involvement weakens the negative relationship between founder migrant status and business survivability. The positive moderating effect associated with family involvement is further strengthened by the use of external/borrowing startup capital. Thus, migrant families who founded small businesses with access to external capital have the highest probability of survival
Nguyen Quoc et al. (2021) Contributes to our understanding of family migrant entrepreneurship in Vietnam, identifying family functions, network downsides, transnational and returnee entrepreneurs, gender and methodology as future research areas. The literature review reveals how Vietnamese migrant families mobilize and use various kinds of cultural, social, human, and financial capital for family entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs generate resources to develop Vietnamese family-owned enterprises that are expected to be passed on to the next generation
Zehra and Usmani (2021) Contributes to conceptualising the field of refugee family entrepreneurship anchored in horizontal and vertical family social capital. Relying on the case of Afghan refugee entrepreneurs in Pakistan, the article shows an economic integration process that occurs in three stages (entry in labour market, gradual integration and gradual submerging in country of residence’s society) by which entrepreneurs rely on and build family social capital
Arshad and Berndt (2021) Contribution opens a research agenda at the interface of family migrant entrepreneurship and crowdfunding. The study shows that the crowdfunding migrant entrepreneur’s family network provides operand and operant resources from both the country of residence (the USA) and country of origin (China). Besides having financial capacity, institutional knowledge and experience from both the countries of residence and origin, the family networks in both countries support the development of the campaign and crowdfunded venture

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the authors for sharing their important insights on migrant’s family and migrant entrepreneurship across different contexts. The authors also thank all the reviewers for their valuable contributions to this special issue. Finally, they also express their deepest gratitude to the editors of the journal, Prof Leo-Paul Dana and Prof Robert Anderson, and to Prof Veland Ramadani for their support throughout this special issue.

Fundings: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Broman Foundation for Research and Entrepreneurship (Grant Nos. GU 2019/809 and E 2018/181) and from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE) (Grant No. 2016-07205).

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