Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

How Does Start-Up Assistance Capture the Challenges, Barriers, and Successes for Refugee Entrepreneurs in Austria
by Bristol-Faulhammer, Michaela, Ph.D., Saybrook University, 2017, 201; 10607833
Abstract (Summary)

In countries around the world, refugees have started to create economic identity through entrepreneurial activities. In doing so, they boost new business formation, innovation, and job creation. Acknowledging this potential, the Austrian Federal Government passed a comprehensive program in 2015 to support start-up businesses. This program targets Austrian and foreign-born entrepreneurs alike. Recent estimates are that between 3,000 and 14,700 refugees could begin businesses in Austria. Beyond the examination of the success factors and barriers of refugee entrepreneurs, this case study sought to explore how the start-up programs capture the needs of refugee entrepreneurs.

The target population consisted of 12 recognized refugees who were about to start, or have started, a business within the past 5 years in Austria. Using online surveys and narrative interviews, the aim of this study was to yield insight into the successes and barriers refugee entrepreneurs encountered in becoming business owners in Austria. Further, a survey with five service providers of start-up programs aimed to support documentation of the offered services and how their activities mitigate the barriers to meet entrepreneur’s needs to become successful.

Findings show that the biggest barriers for refugee entrepreneurs lie within the institutional environment (e.g., tax and social security regulations), lack of human capital (e.g., lack of German language skills), and access to resources (e.g., access to financial capital). The presence or absence of German language skills is a particularly significant factor. Combined with business administration skills, it offered a great advantage. Other success factors included knowing one’s start-up reasons and having favorable market conditions.

From the clients’ viewpoint, start-up service providers appear to offer appropriate services for refugee entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, data suggest that agencies could improve delivery of service on the program level and in regard to coordination among and beyond service providers. Some reasons why refugee entrepreneurs’ needs are not fully met include lack of cultural contextualization of knowledge or demands that exceed supply. Based on expressed barriers and needs, this study provides recommendations for how start-up service providers could improve their services on both the program and the systems level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Metcalf, Gary
Commitee: Becker, Kent, Piazza, Charles
School: Saybrook University
Department: Organizational Systems
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Entrepreneurship, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Austria, Ethnic entrepreneurship, Refugees, Start-up services
Publication Number: 10607833
ISBN: 978-0-355-30920-1
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