This project investigates the spatial dimensions of entrepreneurial success of immigrants and ethnic minorities in several US cities. Entrepreneurship plays an important role in stimulating economic development and growth, and research to-date indicates that entrepreneurship could provide ethnic minorities with a springboard for economic progress as well as further social and political advancement in the cities they inhabit. The proliferation of small businesses can also help neighborhood revitalization in some low income, ethnic communities. However, the rate of business start-up and survival differs by race/ethnicity, gender, foreign-born status, and place. Through a comparative framework this project seeks to analyze the spatial patterns of ethnic minority-owned-enterprises (EMEs) at multiple scales and examines how spatial embeddedness influences their formation and performance. Using a geographic perspective that links place, ethnicity, gender, and entrepreneurship, two research questions will be addressed in this project: (1) How are EMEs socially and spatially embedded in different places? (2) What is the role of place in the performance and development of EMEs? Facilitated by the use of a micro-level census dataset, the spatial pattern and performances of EMEs will be analyzed using advanced spatial analytical techniques and multilevel regression across all metropolitan areas in the U.S. Detailed analyses at the local scale will be conducted in a selection of different immigration gateways. "Vertical" (one ethnic group across multiple places) and "horizontal" (multiple groups within one place) comparisons will be made to permit a high degree of flexibility when comparing and representing different types of US metropolitan areas by simultaneously considering socioeconomic forces at both local and macro levels.

This project will promote an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing ethnic minorities and women in their economic integration through entrepreneurship. This is important, especially given the current national push for economic recovery, to the ethnic minority labor force, economic development practitioners, the immigrant support community, and urban policy makers. The project will promote education of the public, students, and the next generation of entrepreneurs through developing entrepreneurship-centered curricula, directly mentoring and supporting students, launching an interdisciplinary research group on ethnic entrepreneurship and immigration, and reaching out to ethnic minority entrepreneurs, local communities, and government agencies.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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Daniel Hammel
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University of North Carolina at Charlotte
United States
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