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"The relentless increase of immigrant businesses"


New "Immigration and Entrepreneurship Report" presented in Rome

The European Union, with 37.5 million foreign residents, confirms itself as a destination for international migrants, holders of a wide range of talents and skills on which interesting entrepreneurial aspirations often rely.
Over the 2011-2022 period, while businesses run by Italians experienced a 5.0 percent decline, those led by migrants increased by as much as 42.7 percent.
This is what emerged last March 12th from the presentation at the European Parliament Representation in Rome of the new "Immigration and Entrepreneurship Report" edited by the IDOS Study and Research Center, in collaboration with CNA.

Businesses run by foreigners," stressed Luca Di Sciullo, president of the IDOS Study and Research Center, "not only make a significant contribution to the EU's economic increase but also enrich the European continent's social and cultural tissue, serving in many cases as "transnational bridges" between countries of arrival and origin, thus enabling fruitful exchanges and intercultural entanglements.
However, despite the considerable entrepreneurial potential present in the EU's diversified immigrant population, the absence of targeted support measures and the consequent persistence of legal, cultural and linguistic obstacles hold back the full development of foreign-origin entrepreneurship. Indeed, their steady increase, which has never been interrupted even in years of global crisis, is interwoven with a persistent structural fragility, which calls for greater attention from policymakers.

Although immigrant-run businesses are present throughout Italy, influencing the economy across the board, their greatest concentration is observed in the central and northern regions (77.3 percent), with Lombardia and Lazio emerging as the main epicenters of these entrepreneurial structures, counting 124 thousand and 81 thousand businesses, respectively.
Of the immigrant business owners, 79.1 percent are of non-EU origin, with a marked predominance of Moroccans (60 thousand), Romanians (52 thousand) and Chinese (51 thousand), and the average age of immigrant entrepreneurs is less than 50 years for 75.8 percent, compared to 55.4 percent of Italians.
However, immigrant women, whose prominence among foreign entrepreneurs appears to be increasing, still account for 24.6 percent of the total and the activities they conduct are mainly concentrated in services, showing a trend toward diversification of economic sectors even among national immigrant groups.  
Individual businesses dominate the entrepreneurial landscape among immigrants, making up almost three-quarters (480 thousand, or 74.1 percent) of all the businesses they manage. 
However, a continuous consolidation of the allochthon-led entrepreneurial structure has been noted over the years, with a gradual increase in Individual businesses (119 thousand, or 18.4 percent).

In agreement with what emerges from the Report's socio-statistical analysis, CNA National Vice President Marco Vicentini stressed that it is essential to speed up the existing regulatory framework to facilitate immigrants' access to work visas in Italy and throughout Europe by removing bureaucratic obstacles and simplifying procedures; he also highlighted the need to establish an entity, both public and private, specifically dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial investment by immigrants. This entity will have the aim of facilitating the entry and expansion of immigrant businesses into the market, ensuring a favorable environment for them.


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Published: Wednesday 13 March 2024 - Last modify: Thursday 14 March 2024

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