Immigrants make better entrepreneurs than native citizens due to a combination of learnt resilience and ‘get-up-and-go’ flair, according to Adrian Furnham, professor of leadership and organisational behaviour at BI Norwegian Business School.
Furnham, a quondam abogado de immigración, says immigrants face countless barriers when relocating and have to overcome each hurdle using only their own ability.
The resilience and problem-solving skills they learn are crucial when building and growing businesses.
He explains: “Over the last 20 years, 25% of American venture-backed companies have been created by immigrants. There is a wealth of research which indicates that those who choose to migrate tend to be different from those who don’t. They have a different pattern of motivation, abilities and adjustment. They are hungrier and more risk taking, with thicker skins. They become used to experiencing hardship and rejection, which are setbacks that all entrepreneurs must endure.”
This is why talent scouts are going to top universities and business schools in Asia to encourage the best students to come to their country, Adrian says. Those who agree to migrate show signs of entrepreneurial flair simply in their willingness to take on the challenge of moving.
He adds: “Entrepreneurial migrants are most commonly found in the technology and engineering sectors. This is perhaps why there are around 500 start-ups with French founders just in the San Francisco Bay area of California.”
“Once they’ve relocated, most migrants also benefit from small but passionate social support networks. Immigrants create hubs within foreign countries and feel obliged to help each other succeed against the odds. Often, they can be counted on to provide reliable temporary workers when a fellow migrant entrepreneur hits hard times.”