4th Mar 2014
One in seven UK businesses are started by migrant entrepreneurs, who make a 'huge' contribution to the UK economy, new research has shown.
There are currently 456,073 migrant entrepreneurs in the UK, representing 155 nationalities, according to a report by think-tank the Centre for Entrepreneurs and business data firm DueDil.
The study found that entrepreneurial activity amongst the migrant community is nearly double that of their UK counterparts, with 17.2% of migrant workers having started their own business, compared to 10.4% of UK-born individuals.
In addition, 14% of all jobs created are within migrant-founded small firms, with migrant entrepreneurs employing 1.16 million people. They are also, on average, eight years younger than UK entrepreneurs.
A poll commissioned as part of the report also revealed that 44% of the public believe migrant entrepreneurs make a positive contribution to the UK, with half supporting the government’s attempts to attract new migrant entrepreneurs. However, 68% also support a reduction in net immigration.
Serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson, chairman of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said that whilst the majority of the public appreciate the value of migrant entrepreneurs, politicians and media send out negative signals that risk alienating them.
"Given the huge contribution of migrant entrepreneurs, we are calling upon the media and politicians to join us in celebrating those who come to our country and launch businesses."
Separate research commissioned by the Centre for Entrepreneurs found that new migrant businesses provide safeguards against unemployment and economic exclusion, and facilitate social integration.
"The contribution of migrant entrepreneurs is, to be frank, breath-taking," remarked Matt Smith, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs.
"Presented with such irrefutable evidence, it is now the responsibility of politicians of all parties to celebrate migrant entrepreneurs’ contributions and restate their commitment to maintaining pro-entrepreneurship immigration policies."
Whilst almost every country is represented by the UK’s migrant entrepreneurs, the report found that the 10 nationalities with the most migrant entrepreneurs are:
Irish 48,854 founders
The top 10 locations for migrant-founded companies are:
London 187,899 companies
Belfast 16,889 (15,814 of which were Irish nationals)
Kingston upon Thames 5,986
About Lucie Mitchell
I'm a contributing editor of BusinessZone.co.uk, published by Sift Media. I worked for Sift for years in a number of roles including editor of HRzone.co.uk and health & education editor of PublicTechnology.net and am now working as a freelance.