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Über dieses Buch

Through a global series of case studies, this pioneering book delves into refugee entrepreneurship - a major economic, political and social issue emerging as a top priority. Stories from Australia, Germany, Pakistan and many other countries, highlight the obstacles facing refugees as they try to integrate and set up businesses in their new countries. Engaging contributions set the stage for a cross-analysis of the particularities and limitations faced by refugee entrepreneurs, culminating in an extended discussion about the future implications of refugee entrepreneurship for theory, policy and practice. This interdisciplinary book explores the motivations and drivers of refugee entrepreneurship, making it an insightful read not only for those engaged in entrepreneurship, but also for those interested in migration studies from a variety of academic disciplines.



1. Introduction

In the ever-growing entrepreneurial field of practice, refugee entrepreneurs—and their journeys from refuge to business-ownership in new countries of residence—have come to exemplify inventive and creative forms of entrepreneurship, claiming an important footing in global contexts. Surprisingly, however, their activities have largely remained unexamined. Lifting their stories out of the shadows, this book presents a rich collection of 16 cases from around the world that highlight the tensions and triumphs that refugee entrepreneurs experience. In the introductory chapter, we guide the reader through some of the distinctive features that characterize refugee entrepreneurship and we summarize the latest insights gathered from a review of scholarly works published to date. A framework that builds on refugee theory aspects is presented in order to explain the methodology and underpinnings of the case studies that make up the chapters, including the cross-case analysis presented in the concluding chapter.
Sibylle Heilbrunn, Rosa Lisa Iannone

2. Umayyad: A Syrian Refugee Business in Bremen, Germany

This case presents the entrepreneurial story of Muhannad and his business. Muhannad is a Syrian refugee who had established a successful life as a sales manager for an established firm before he decided to flee to Europe. Facing difficulties in finding suitable jobs with his qualifications in Germany, Muhannad decided to open a restaurant called “Umayyad” in Bremen, Germany. Thanks to his broad experience and friendly personality, as well as strong supports from local German friends, Muhannad managed to start his business in a very good location—in the middle of the city center of Bremen—only a year after his arrival in Germany. This case shows how an entrepreneurial refugee can overcome resource and institutional constraints within a short time through supports from different host country institutions.
Aki Harima, Manal Haimour, Jörg Freiling

3. Cham Saar: The First Syrian-German Cheese Manufacturer

This case study portrays Cham Saar GmbH, the first dairy producer in Germany to specialize in Arabic cheese. Abdul Saymoa, together with Anna and Matthias Riehm Jr, established the business in a rural area in Southern Germany. Abdul Saymoa produces three different types of cheese with milk from the Riehm’s farm. They are sold at local markets, through the farm trade and via online delivery. The acceptance of Cham Saar in the local community makes marketing redundant. The founding team had to struggle with restricted access to external funding for refugee entrepreneurs, bureaucratic burdens and regulations for cheese manufacturing.
Carina Hartmann, Katharina Schilling

4. “Our Table”: Between Activism and Business in Dublin, Ireland

The organizational dynamics of refugee entrepreneurship in restrictive asylum regimes are illustrated by the trajectory of Ellie Kisyombe, a Malawian entrepreneur, and her gastronomical pop-up venture in Dublin, Ireland. Both the organizational constraints and the resources in this case are traced to the specific legal, social and political situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Ireland, while Ellie’s pre-flight biographical experiences and early socialization may explain her prominence in both entrepreneurship and activism within this community and beyond. At a more general level, the case raises the question of how the success of entrepreneurial ventures should be assessed in light of the concurring metrics of non-profit community engagement, political activism, professionalism and entrepreneurship.
Joachim Kolb

5. The Story of an Adolescent Afghan Refugee Who Became an Entrepreneur in France

This chapter reports the story of Jamshed, a teenaged Afghan refugee, who fled from intensified insecurity in the last period of the war in Afghanistan. As the eldest son of his family, he managed to flee through the coordination of smugglers who forced him to leave with very short notice. In France, he managed to obtain a business license and has opened a grocery store, which he has financed with his own savings.
Crista Plak, Vincent Lagarde

6. “FlüchtlingMagazin” (Refugee Magazine): A Syrian Social Business in Hamburg, Germany

Hussam, a Syrian journalist, decided to follow his passions for peace and journalism with the same dedication he had shown in Syria. He created a nonprofit online magazine for intercultural exchange to add the voices of refugees themselves to the public information about refugees. His vision is to reach people who have concerns about refugees, as well as to offer insights into Syrian culture to volunteers. Even though FlüchtlingMagazin started as a nonprofit organization, Hussam hopes to be able to make a living from his magazine one day.
Julia Freudenberg

7. The Story of Jonny, an Eritrean Entrepreneur in Tel Aviv, Israel

Jonny is an Eritrean refugee in his 30s, who lives with his wife and daughter in Tel Aviv, Israel. Jonny was forcefully recruited to the Eritrean army in 2007. On February 5 2009, when guarding the Ethiopian border at night, he crossed the border and simply walked away. Today, Jonny is the sole owner of a kindergarten and daycare center for children of the Eritrean community. Overcoming the many barriers resulting from an institutional void in Tel Aviv, Jonny has a powerful story—about an asylum seeker in Tel Aviv, who is also an entrepreneur and community leader, bricoleuring in an institutional void.
Sibylle Heilbrunn, Anna Rosenfeld

8. A Case Study of an Ethiopan Refugee in Germany

Kaficho is the youngest of three Ethiopians, from an outspoken family who were engaged in political clashes with the government. His journey to refuge is unique in the sense that he undertook postgraduate studies in Germany, returning to Ethiopia with the intention of starting a family there with his wife. As his tourism company grew, when he returned to it in 2010, he entered into partnership. He also held a position at a university near Addis Ababa, but soon started to face political pressure to join the ruling party or suffer the consequences. In 2013, this pressure led him to abandon the idea of staying in Ethiopia, and he fled the country, successfully immigrating into Germany. Not being able to find employment in Heidelberg, he established “Kaficho Trading” in 2015, which is a transnational business-to-business sole proprietorship for small machinery and coffee.
Bamrot Yekoye Abebe, Petra Moog

9. The Blessing African Boutique and City Market Food: A Congolese Refugee Business in Darwin, Australia

This chapter explains how some refugees have economically contributed to their host countries. It highlights the barriers faced when refugees start businesses, thereby deterring them from entering the business sector. This chapter describes how an individual left his home country and arrived in Australia as a refugee and later became an entrepreneur through the use of social capital. The methodology used in analyzing this case was based on the incorporation of the individual as a co-author of the paper to bring an insider perspective to the discussion, since outsiders will never be able to grasp the complexities faced by refugee entrepreneurs.
Jane Ruparanganda, Edouard Ndjamba Ndjoku, Ram Vemuri

10. Refuge to Centre Stage: The Story of Arash

This chapter presents the story of Arash Kamangir, a young Iranian refugee who came to Luxembourg to fulfil his musical dreams. A stronghold of peace and justice, his new country offered him both the freedom and the stage for creative expression. During the first few weeks of his settlement, Arash focused his efforts on building new relationships, navigating his way through Luxembourgish culture and networks. He started volunteering his talent at various community events in hopeful preparation of the day he would receive a residency. Ever since, he has been on a unique and rewarding journey of independence and emancipation through his artistic entrepreneurship.
Rosa Lisa Iannone

11. From Hell To … An Entrepreneurial Life: An Iranian Refugee in France

Job creation by refugees helps them in their process of social and economic integration. Social inclusion via entrepreneurship ensures equality between individuals, facilitates access to employment and helps the refugee to accept the new situation of “being in a new unfamiliar host country”. The refugee entrepreneurs could be the creator of economic and social value in France. This is the success story of Hamze, an Iranian refugee entrepreneur.
Adnane Maalaoui, Myriam Razgallah, Salomé Picard, Séverine Leloarne-Lemaire

12. From Refugee to Trader: In the Footsteps of Marco Polo

This chapter tells the story of Ali Dede, a 50-year-old Syrian refugee who is a former architect and who had to sell his home and business because of the outbreak of war. The circumstances of his flight to Turkey were both acute and anticipatory. Because of his familiarity with the Turkish language and since he had connections in his new country of origin, he has been able to help many of his friends who followed in his footsteps. His business is in the fabric and textile trade.
Dilek Zamantılı Nayır

13. Internally Displaced Entrepreneurs in Pakistan: The Case of Abdullah

Abdullah sells solar panels and items along with a few electric items. The local community uses his services in fixing their household electric items. Abdullah has been able to understand the needs of the local people since there is an increased demand for solar items due to the electricity shortage all over Pakistan. He has high personal motivation, courage, persistence, hope and faith in God, which he combines with his prior experience with this business. Lack of capital and lack of knowledge of the local market have been major constraints. Abdullah’s relatives and the local people supported him through charity (Zakat) and loans to start his business. His friends prefer to support him by purchasing from his shop. The wholesaler Abdullah uses has become a constraint, since they now refuse to do business with him on credit. The main institutional barrier that Abdullah faced is the lack of knowledge about getting financial assistance and his way around; but his friends educated him about the local market and how to do business.
Humera Manzoor, Mehboob ur Rashid, Cherry W. M. Cheung, Caleb Kwong

14. Refugee Entrepreneurship: A Case Study from the Sultanate of Oman

This chapter describes the life of a refugee from Iraq who had a difficult experience during the recent disasters in the Middle East. However, this experience made this refugee even stronger, and he started to use it as a business opportunity. He has succeeded and established a good business in Oman, a co-partnership with a local businessman. The chapter thus serves as a model for future entrepreneurs who face challenges and obstacles beyond normal life conditions, and encourage them to see these not as barriers for entrepreneurial activities but as possible opportunities.
Ramo Palalić, Léo-Paul Dana, Veland Ramadani

15. Entrepreneurship in Extreme Environments: Businesses in the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya

Refugee camps are designed to ensure humanitarian assistance and protection. As such, they are often governed by rules that prevent refugees from participating in the economic life of their host country. This chapter studies the Dadaab camp in Kenya, one of the largest refugee camps in the world, where refugees are neither allowed to leave the camp nor to run or own businesses. Nonetheless, a substantial informal economy has emerged. This chapter traces the story of Ahmed from Somalia, who runs an electronics repair shop in the camp, to showcase how individuals build businesses in unlikely places.
Marlen de la Chaux

16. From Cameroon to South Africa: From Refugee to Successful Businessman

Like any ambitious young man, Oliver dreamt of becoming successful. When it became apparent that the conditions in Cameroon would not allow him to realize his dreams, Oliver did what most Africans do today. He immigrated to South Africa, where he had to overcome a different set of challenges to achieve his goal. With a lot of hard work and the support of his family and ethnic network, today, Oliver is an affluent entrepreneur in his own right.
Robertson K. Tengeh

17. The Resilience of a Syrian Woman and Her Family Through Refugee Entrepreneurship in Jordan

This chapter highlights the refugee crisis that erupted in Syria in 2011 and continues to impact Syrian lives within that country and in neighboring countries. It does so by focusing on one Syrian refugee’s story of resilience and survival through entrepreneurship in Amman, Jordan. The chapter discusses her history in her hometown of Homs as a content housewife and mother and how the war led her to lose everything except what mattered most: her family. The chapter also walks us through her life after fleeing to Jordan and narrates her evolving role from wife and mother to breadwinner in a place where she was bounded by state and institutional regulations, yet felt empowered by a generous community.
Sophie Alkhaled

18. Refugee Entrepreneurship: Learning from Case Evidence

With a meta-perspective on the 16 rich cases of refugee entrepreneurs portrayed in this book, this concluding chapter discusses the following eight central themes to be considered in the future research on refugee entrepreneurship: (1) typical settings of refugee entrepreneurship and refugee entrepreneurship itself; (2) the sequence of events and its consequences; (3) refugees’ perspectives; (4) perceptions of their countries of residence; (5) types of businesses; (6) critical resources: enablers and constraints; (7) psychological factors; and (8) outcomes of refugee entrepreneurship. The overview and outlook, which observe diverse types of refugee entrepreneurs worldwide from different perspectives, are developed at the end of the chapter.
Jörg Freiling, Aki Harima


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