Are They Really Different: The Entrepreneurial Process from the Perspective of First and Second Generation Immigrant Entrepreneurs

There is limited research on similarities and differences in entrepreneurial experiences of first and second generation immigrant entrepreneurs. Using in-depth interviews with Lebanese entrepreneurs in two Canadian cities, we analyze how entrepreneurs belonging to two different generations of immigrants experience and enact opportunity identification and assessment, and business development and operation. The analysis shows that first and second generation immigrant entrepreneurs diverge in their views of macro-institutional structures (such as regulation), risk, trust, and the role of divine providence in the entrepreneurial venture. The findings highlight the importance of understanding how first generation immigrant entrepreneurs’ past frames — developed in the pre-migration context — interact with the environment in the country of settlement in shaping entrepreneurial undertaking. The study also highlights second generation immigrant entrepreneurs’ perceived similarities to and differences from mainstream entrepreneurs. Implications for research and policy are addressed.

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