The 2004 EU enlargement brought an unprecedented number of Polish economic migrants to the UK. The vast majority of sources labeled these migrants as job takers or wage depreciators who settled in the UK temporarily for financial gain. This paper seeks to distort this image of Polish migrants, particularly during these difficult economic times, through their work as migrant entrepreneurs who create employment opportunities and strengthen social ties within the community. The topic of migrant entrepreneurship is widely discussed in terms of longer established communities and is a rarity for migrants who have recently settled. This paper is based on qualitative research conducted as part of a larger study from March 2007 to January 2009, examining Polish migrant entrepreneurs in Cardiff, Wales. Using interviews with Polish entrepreneurs and elite policymakers, this paper seeks to address the cultural, economic and social issues currently faced by migrant entrepreneurs. A comparison will be drawn between the migrant entrepreneurs’ and the indigenous entrepreneurs’ incentives for starting a business. Finally, the potential emergence of a completed ethnic economy for the Poles of Cardiff will be highlighted, including a map of the ‘Polish areas’ of the city.
|Keywords:||Migration, Entrepreneurship, Economic Sociology, Social Capital, Ethnic Economy|
PhD Candidate, Researcher, Centre for Advanced Studies, Department of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
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