Cultural diversity and entrepreneurship: Policy responses to immigrant entrepreneurs in Australia

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Journal Article
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 2003, 15 (2), pp. 137 - 149
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Australia, one of the most cosmopolitan of contemporary western societies, has a long history of immigrant entrepreneurship, with many ethnic groups significantly over-represented in entrepreneurial activities, particularly in the small business sector of the Australian economy. This paper addresses the changing policy context that shapes the rate of formation of - and the growth and expansion of - ethnic enterprises in Australia. At a macro level, changes to Australian immigration and settlement policy and taxation policy indirectly impact on rates of immigrant minority entrepreneurship formation and survival. At the micro level, policy development that impacts directly on minority immigrant enterprises in Australia is very recent and largely undeveloped. This paper looks at immigrant entrepeneurship in Australia, including spatial dimensions, and at the impact of changing macro policy. It then reviews three key areas of micro policy responses to immigrant entrepreneurship: the education and training needs of ethnic entrepreneurs; policies designed to encourage unemployed immigrants to become entrepreneurs; and policy related to government strategies to improve communication with ethnic entrepreneurs. This paper concludes that there are few direct policy initiatives to promote immigrant entrepreneurship in Australia.
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