Integrating Syrian Refugee Entrepreneurs to Europe and North America: A Comparative Assessment of Institutional Support and Constraints

Project: Research

Project Details


Declining fertility and an aging population in Europe and Canada will reduce the working age population. This presents a challenge for maintaining economic growth. Immigration presents one solution, but few cities are prepared for multiple (im)migrant groups, what Vertovec (2007) terms “super-diversity.” Integration of minorities into smaller, often homogenous communities, presents both opportunities and challenges. Super-diversity is an important component of entrepreneurship expanding knowledge based industries – and a lack of adequate immigration is one reason for the ‘entrepreneurship crisis’ in Europe. We observe the ‘refugee migrant crisis’ affecting both Europe and Canada in the form of Syrian refugees. Approaching 5 million world-wide, over one million have made their way to Europe and 50,000 are now in Canada. Given the vastly different absorption regimes, regulations, and economic environments this crisis provides an important natural experiment to observe both labour market integration and entrepreneurship integration between various European countries (Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the UK) and Canada. Little research addresses the processes involved in the integration and resettlement of newcomers. We will examine both the regulatory environment and social capital in second- and third-tier cities where Syrian refugees have been relocated due to housing availability. We seek to examine how these processes differ globally and their implications for entrepreneurship. We will collect and analyze both primary and secondary data that will enable us to (1) assess the pattern of migration that has emerged in light of new situations and policy (e.g., refugees, temporary workers, conversion programs), (2) develop our understanding of the processes by which temporary or permanent refugees integrate into and transform the economy, and (3) identify best practices with which organizations and community groups can facilitate refugee labour market integration.

Layman's description

Effective start/end date29/08/201602/02/2017

Collaborative partners

  • University of Birmingham (Project partner)
  • Leibniz Universität Hannover (Project partner)
  • McMaster University (Project partner)
  • University of Southern Denmark (lead)