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New study looks at the potential of the diaspora community in Austria for private sector development

28 October 2015

Keeping the link to their home countries: start-ups by migrant entrepreneurs have high potential - and contribute to the development of their countries of origin. ICMPD has hosted an expert event on the challenges and opportunities of diaspora entrepreneurship.

Diaspora investment is “emotionally-charged capital with the desire to make a change”, stated the founder of Homestrings, an investment platform that facilitates Diaspora and impact-investing to make a difference in the world at the international symposium on “Diaspora Entrepreneurship: Opportunities and Challenges” that took place on 19 October in Vienna, Austria. 

Unlike entrepreneurs without the emotional connection to another country, diaspora communities are inherently more inclined to venture into their home country’s markets, even if it means taking higher risks.

An ICMPD study that was presented in the realm of the symposium, showed that there are three main gaps within existing business-enabling structures in Austria linked to information, know-how and capital in order to fully unleash the potential of diaspora entrepreneurs.

Access to information, to relevant business training opportunities as well as to capital relate mainly to barriers within the ecosystem that affect persons with a migrant background more so than a native entrepreneur. Such obstacles are linked to cumbersome bureaucratic procedures to establish a business, language barriers, the issue of having foreign-earned higher education diplomas and skills recognised as well as accessing funds from the banking system or through public institutions to start a business.

The challenges, yet also the opportunities surrounding diaspora entrepreneurship were explored in the framework of the international symposium, which brought together diaspora entrepreneurs, impact investors and experts from the government, international organisations, academia, civil society and non-profit organisations.

Next to presenting the findings of the ICMPD feasibility study, the gathering helped to raise awareness of the positive contributions made by migrants in their countries of destination and origin and to find synergies and complementarities to existing diaspora entrepreneurship support programme in view of the Austrian Development Agency’s intention to continue its exploration in that field of work.


Read the press release and the media reports (in German) 

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