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International Journal of Entrepreneurship


This paper explores the strategies that enable ethnic minority immigrant entrepreneurs to 'break out' of local ethnic markets and 'break through' into more promising markets with greater opportunities. It analyzes the contextual and personal characteristics of the entrepreneurs that implement those strategies, based on a primary survey of South Asian entrepreneurs in the UK. The analysis suggests that breaking out of co-ethnic customer markets is neither necessary nor sufficient for entrepreneurial expansion. The critical factor is the entrepreneur's ability to break through into customer markets that are larger, by geographical reach or profit margins and value added. Many successful immigrant entrepreneurs leverage market knowledge of their home countries. At the same time, the more successful entrepreneurs break out of ethnic labor markets by hiring non-ethnic employees. The capacity to 'break out' and 'break through' into larger, global markets, is strengthened by the entrepreneur's education, experience, access and ability to leverage international business networks, and agility to move into more promising markets.


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