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Transnational entrepreneurship in emerging markets: The Colombian case

Sandra Milena Santamaria-Alvarez (International Business Department, Universidad EAFIT, Medellín, Colombia)
Martyna Śliwa (Essex Business School, University of Essex, Colchester, UK)

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

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 9 May 2016



The purpose of this paper is to discuss the transnational entrepreneurial activities of Colombian emigrants to the USA in the context of the Colombian government’s policies and initiatives aimed at encouraging and facilitating emigrants’ transnational entrepreneurship. It examines the profile of Colombian emigrants, the entrepreneurial transnational activities they pursue and the actual and potential role of the government in instigating and shaping these activities.


The paper analyzes data obtained from focus groups with migrant families and interviews with governmental officials and an expert researcher. It also evaluates secondary data sources relevant to the subject of the paper.


The impact of transnational activities of Colombian migrants upon Colombian economy and society is much lower compared with the activities of migrants in other countries and with the potential these activities could have for contributing to the economic development of Colombia. Possible causes of this include: the specific characteristics of the Colombian emigrant and entrepreneur profile, the fragmentation of transnational networks of the migrants and the lack of governmental strategies to support the development of transnational activities of migrants.


The paper contributes to the debates on emigrant–state relation through offering an analysis of migrant entrepreneurship, technology and knowledge transfer and investment activities of Colombian emigrants in the home country. It also provides recommendations for policy action and concrete government programs that might encourage greater involvement of Colombian migrants in high value-adding activities that could benefit the country’s development.



This article would not have been possible without the important support of the Universidad EAFIT and Colciencias, who have provided funding for Sandra’s study and research.


Santamaria-Alvarez, S.M. and Śliwa, M. (2016), "Transnational entrepreneurship in emerging markets: The Colombian case", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 203-223.



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