Lived experiences of Black African Immigrant Entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire

MEKONNN, Tilahun (2018). Lived experiences of Black African Immigrant Entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The research investigates the lived experience of Black African Immigrant Entrepreneurs’ (BAIEs) and their challenges and opportunities in South Yorkshire within the region-specific history, economy, demography and cultural contexts. It also accounts for recent Black African Immigrants' entrepreneurship trends and challenges underpinned by the broader theoretical domain of entrepreneurship and sub-domains of ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship. Black African Immigrants are reported to be the least studied and most underrepresented social groups among visible ethnic minorities in the UK. Moreover, previous research has been limited to large inner cities and within wellestablished communities and thus has been unable to represent the experience of outer regions and recent migrants’ experience. Among researchers of ethnic and immigrant entrepreneurship, combining together two social groups, African and Caribbean immigrants as ‘Afro-Caribbean’, is a common mistake which arguably fails to recognise the distinctiveness in their pattern and history of migration, education and background and approaches to entrepreneurship. Furthermore, these studies lack methodological diversity, relying heavily on quantitative data and failing to capture the lived experience in greater depth and breadth. This research adopts a phenomenological approach of qualitative methodology recognised as effective in exploring lived experience. Sociological based theory on "othering" and "belonging" is used as a lens to critically explore the experiences of immigrant entrepreneurship from the perspective of BAIEs. The research findings suggest that BAIEs face disproportionately high barriers from the opportunity structure as external barriers, whilst internal challenges include the fact that BAIEs are predominantly restricted to ethnic niche markets whose core customers are small in size and transient, hampering growth potential and the ability to break into the mainstream and high-growth markets. These impediments may be observed to relate to the social and cultural identity of the BAIE as an "othered" social grouping in the UK business community context, often lacking a sense of belonging and facing structural exclusion. In spite of this, the research has observed new knowledge about how BAIEs have developed entrepreneurial attributes of resilience (high tolerance to risk, uncertainty and adaptability) and cultural predisposition (high propensity and v preparedness towards enterprise) as their response to overcoming challenges and maximising opportunities in the host country and region. The research is intended to impact on advancing knowledge of diversity in entrepreneurship and to assist policy makers, BAIE managers and practitioners to make more informed decisions that align with a need to promote inclusion and diversity in line with the region’s strategic vision.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Quine, Karen
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr Karen Quine
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2019 15:29
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:37

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