The target of this longitudinal project is to understand entrepreneurship among refugees across Europe.
For that we identify and follow Syrian refugees who came to Europe via social media and to assess their entrepreneurial intentions and actions. By fleeing their home country refugees have demonstrated a proactive and risk-taking attitude, both core characteristics of entrepreneurs and innovators. They increase diversity within the population which has been shown to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, and in turn, will help to develop economies. However, in the new context refugees are burdened by the liability of foreigners because they systematically lack access to financial and social resources.
Drawing on the theory of planned behaviour we strive to capture (1) the antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions among this specific group and (2) the factors that explain the transition of these intentions into action. Our findings will inform (migrant/refugee) entrepreneurship research by shedding light on a widely neglected group of individuals. In contrast to many similar studies, with our new sampling approach, we track intenders well before they unfold entrepreneurial activity within their host country, which enables us to directly study the intention-action gap.
By following the sampled individuals via social media we can keep contact with them as they move. For decision-makers we highlight a side to migration into Europe that is missing in the current debates: The entrepreneurial and innovation potential of refugees. Thus, our findings will contribute to a more evidence-based discourse on the economic effects of migration. For refugees with entrepreneurial intentions and innovation potential, the study will enhance the awareness and social legitimacy of the phenomenon of migrant/refugee entrepreneurship.