Online seminar: Covid-19 Pandemic and Immigrant Entrepreneurship



Before the covid-19 pandemic and the following economic crisis, immigrant entrepreneurship has been presented as the most beneficial effect of migration in major destination countries. Migrants were found more likely than natives to start business activities, thus contributing to investment, employment creation and GDP growth in host economies.

The situation of immigrants in major host economies has changed for worse, as usually foreigner workers are last to be hired and first to get fired. Yet, it is unknown how the pandemic and economic crises affects immigrant businesses. In previous economic downturns, firms owned by migrants were usually more flexible and resilient to negative shocks than those directed by autochthons. But the current crisis changes the economic rules of the game, so it is unknown how foreign-own businesses will cope with this new challenge.

The webinar “Covid-19 Pandemic and Immigrant Entrepreneurship” aims to hypothesise about the possible outcomes of the crisis for immigrant entrepreneurs in selected host countries of the EU. Moreover, we would like to ask the participants – all of them experienced migration scholars – about possible development scenarios for immigrant business activities in Europe.

Below is the list of potential questions that might be addressed:

  • What was the situation of immigrant entrepreneurs just before covid-19 pandemic?
  • How the security regulations have influenced immigrant enterprises? Have they been particularly hit due to concentration in specific sectors? Or maybe they were able to respond quicker to a new challenge (for instance going online, or offering deliveries of their products or services directly to a client)?
  • To what extent immigrant businesses have relied on ethnic enclave economy? How this niche of the economy has been affected by the pandemic? Has it resulted in some panic mobility among any diasporic community and return to their home country?
  • How governmental aid programs for entrepreneurs could help immigrant entrepreneurs? Are they eligible for public support? Are these measures effective? Do immigrant entrepreneurs take advantage of them?


  • Aki Harima (Chair in Small Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Bremen)
  • Daniela Bolzani (Department of Management, University of Bologna
  • Ružica Šimić Banović (Department of Economics, University of Zagreb
  • Katarzyna Andrejuk (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences)

Seminar moderators: Konrad Pędziwiatr & Jan Brzozowski (CASPAR, Cracow University of Economics)

Recording of the seminar is available here: