Call for Master Thesis: “Refugee Entrepreneurship” – apply until 28th October

Refugee Entrepreneurship – Startup Intention and Behavior of Syrian Far East Refugees

The target of this research initiative is to understand entrepreneurship and innovation among refugees across Europe. For that we collect interview data from Syrian refugees who came to Europe during 2015 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, may 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 behavior 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.

The results of this research initiative will 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.

For your master thesis you will be equipped with a questionnaire in English language and a computed aided data collection tool. With this questionnaire you will approach Syrian refugees that have come to Austria during 2015. You will identify at least 50 individuals who indicate to have intentions to start up a new venture within the next three years and walk them through the short questionnaire. This data collection will be done by up to five master students in parallel. For your thesis you will focus on a specific aspect of the total project. This way you will be able to base you analysis on the total sample to which each of you will contribute 50+ observations. That way a series of individual theses will emerge that each are based on a rich empirical bases.

To apply for this research initiative, please send your CV with the reference “MA Refugee Entrepreneurship” to matthias.fink@jku.at until 28th October.

Key contributions that we have published on similar topics:

  • van Gelderen, M., Kautonen, T. and Fink, M. (2015): From entrepreneurial intentions to actions: self-control and action-related doubt, fear, and aversion. Journal of Business Venturing (accepted for publication)
  • Kautonen, T., M. van Gelderen & M. Fink (2014): Robustness of the theory of planned behaviour in predicting entrepreneurial intentions and actions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, DOI: 10.1111/etap.12056.