The best of both worlds or wavering between two worlds?
: Understanding migrant entrepreneurs and their journey to belonging in the UK

  • Hira Younas

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research aims to help Migrant Entrepreneurs (MEs) understand themselves by examining their journey from early post-migration stages, into their working careers, and onto their current endeavours as MEs/entrepreneurs. In the UK, are MEs capable of becoming British entrepreneurs if they cross the localisation threshold?

As such, liminality is incorporated as a lens to provide processual guidance. While doing so, the relevance of effectuation principles is reviewed to determine whether it can offer a plausible explanation of ME's decision-making process when creating business ventures in the host country.

This research opted for a qualitative approach using an interpretive constructivist analysis to produce a transferrable qualitative study. Interestingly, it was confirmed that establishing oneself as an entrepreneur is not limited to business criteria and that the entrepreneurial development process begins immediately after migration. Through identity development, unconventional learning opportunities, market awareness, and stakeholder engagement, entrepreneurialism was evident in all these aspects.

Additionally, after examining the prevalent entrepreneurship literature, it became apparent that there is a need to provide adequate exposure to the darker side of becoming an entrepreneur as readily as it does to success stories. As some participants perceived becoming an entrepreneur as a double-edged sword, some juxtaposed their entrepreneurial journeys with their everyday lives.

A transition from migrant to MEs to entrepreneur requires a commitment that exposes participants to the realities of life in the host country that is more concerned with conformity than entrepreneurial diversity. Since the MEs are first-generation migrants, some could not commit to the UK in the long run and were left in flux despite their longstanding entrepreneurial careers. It caught the author’s attention that some participants still dreamed of returning home. With these in-between liminal situations and other potential liminal states in mind, this research proposes a single conceptualisation of entrepreneurial identity development that is transferable across different MEs.
Date of Award28 Jul 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJohn Nicholson (Main Supervisor) & Lianghui Lei (Co-Supervisor)

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