Understanding the Context of Resiliency of Older Immigrant Entrepreneurs

What is the objective of this project?

The proposed research will examine the characteristics of resiliency of older immigrants who are entrepreneurs or entrepreneurial team members.  The research will build on the growing management literature focused on immigrant/migrant entrepreneurship and the less-developed research devoted to older entrepreneurs.  This project is the first to examine older immigrant entrepreneurs and will explore the nature of their resiliency and impact on other migrants and the host community.

What is our approach?

Given the undeveloped state of the literature, the proposed research will employ qualitative methods in a mixed embedded approach (Kloosterman, 2010; Kloosterman and Rath, 2003; Rusinovic, 2006) to complete an exploration of relationship between resiliency and older entrepreneurship exhibited by immigrants to Canada. Windsor-Essex, Ontario is an ideal setting for the proposed pilot study because of its size and profile. The region is mid-sized, with an approximate population of 400,000 people (Windsor-Essex Economic Development, 2018), allowing for a more targeted research effort than can often be undertaken in much larger jurisdictions. Despite its size, Windsor is the fourth-most diverse community in Canada (Ontario Immigration, 2016). Windsor is a border community, an integral part of a larger economic ecosystem centered in Michigan as well as the one in Southern Ontario. Windsor is also a recognized manufacturing and innovation nexus for the country. Therefore, Windsor’s distinct profile combines a manageable size for an exploratory study with high levels of diversity, migrant movement, and economic activity.

How will this project be implemented?

Specifically, the project will be composed of two parts, one to develop a history of the Windsor-Essex Region examining the entrepreneurial activities of recent immigrants, and the second to develop a rich examination of venture development by older immigrant entrepreneurs and/or older members of the management team based in the region.  The first part of the project provides the context for the second part of the project. Simple research questions guide both parts.  The question guiding the first phase of the project is, ‘What is the nature of the entrepreneurial activities of recent immigrants to Canada (within the past 20 years) who settled in Windsor-Essex County?’  Specifically, what are the personal profiles of the immigrant entrepreneurs, the nature of the business opportunities that were pursued, and the institutional and social context of their activities?

The second part of the research uses the supporting data and the completed history to respond to the question, ‘In older immigrants to Windsor-Essex County, what is the relationship between entrepreneurship and resiliency?’ Rich interview data will be collected that allows for analysis across the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels—simultaneous assessment of entrepreneurs, opportunity and business venture, and institutions, to ascertain the effects of older entrepreneurship on immigrant resiliency, whether positive, negative, or mixed.

What are the phases of this project?

January 31, 2019: Interview and secure two Masters-level Research Assistants. Complete Research Ethics Board approval at University of Windsor

March 15, 2019: Identify and begin assembling data and interviewees for the history project. Line up interviews with older immigrant entrepreneurs/members of the management team

June 30, 2019: Complete first draft of history project

August 15, 2019: Complete interviews with older immigrant entrepreneurs/members of the management team. Complete history project.

October 1, 2019: Complete all interviews of older immigrant entrepreneurs/members of the management team. Continue transcription and analysis of interview data.

November 30, 2019: Complete first draft of interview analysis paper/report.

January 31, 2020: Complete interview analysis paper/report. Host the Local Conference on Immigrant Entrepreneurship and Resilience. Communicate main findings via presentations/conferences (funding to be requested later)

Knowledge Mobilization:

-We will share BMRC-IMRU research findings to academic, NGO, government and public audiences through the BMRC-IMRU website, newsletters, and research digests, and the websites and newsletters of the NCCE and the University of Windsor (UW) EPI Centre.

-We will present our research to academic audiences, such as the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada and the U.S. Association of Small Business Annual Conferences.

-We will organize a regional conference that will discuss immigrant entrepreneurship and resiliency and include participation of public policy makers and local support organizations.

-We will provide immigrants who participate with a summary report of our research and findings.

Who is involved in this project?

Project Director:

Gerry Kerr, Odette School of Business, University of Windsor, gkerr@uwindsor.ca



Francine Schlosser, Odette School of Business, University of Windsor


Community Partners:

Reza Shahbazi, Executive Director, New Canadians’ Centre of Excellence Inc. (NCCE Inc.)