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Chapter 8 - Extreme Entrepreneurs

from Part II - Spark

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2022

Andrew Leon Hanna
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
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Summary

Chapter 8 describes the extraordinary obstacles facing refugee entrepreneurs and explains why – despite these challenges – refugees excel as entrepreneurs. Refugees face the steepest of uphill climbs, dealing with everything from trauma to a lack of access to credit to discrimination to limited networks. Still, they are much more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born citizens. Refugees’ sparks are not accidental; they have unique qualities based on their experiences that make them more likely to come up with, and successfully see through, startup ideas. First, many refugees innovate because it is their only way to survive, and are thus immensely committed. For Yasmina, innovating was a requirement to feed her children. Second, refugees benefit from exposure to other cultures' ideas and markets. One appeal of Malak's work is her ability to infuse Syrian flair. Third, refugees, far from home, are often intensely motivated to meet the needs of their new neighbors and find innovations to do just that – as Asma did for Za'atari. Fourth, they are often pushed to entrepreneurship by employment discrimination. Fifth, they have an unmatched level of resilience.

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Chapter
Information
25 Million Sparks
The Untold Story of Refugee Entrepreneurs
, pp. 93 - 112
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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