Immigration and entrepreneurship: the evidence

Do migrants soak up resources or contribute to the economy they arrive in? Does the traumatic experience of migration foster a naturally entrepreneurialism or make migrants likely to turn to welfare? In March 2014, a collaboration between DueDil and the Centre for Entrepreneurs produced ground-breaking research into the number of companies founded by migrant entrepreneurs in the UK.

To calculate migrant entrepreneurship levels, we investigated the number of active UK companies whose first registered director (not company secretaries) list their nationality as non-British. The results were astonishing:  are behind one in seven of all UK companies. Their entrepreneurial activity is near double that of UK-born individuals. They are on average, eight years younger than the typical UK-born entrepreneur and, among a number of nationalities, a greater proportion of migrant women start companies than among the UK population. The report gained worldwide media coverage.

In my role as Editor-in-chief at DueDil, I co-authored Migrant Entrepreneurs: Building our Businesses, Creating our Jobs with Matt Smith and Scott Craig from the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

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