Immigrants and returning expats 'lead business start-ups'

Immigrants and returning expatriates are more likely to start their own business than people born in the UK and continuously resident in the country, according to a new report.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor UK Report, compiled by specialists from Aston Business School and the University of Strathclyde's Business School, analysed total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) as part of an in-depth study into entrepreneurial trends, attitudes and aspirations.Professor Mark Hart, of Aston Business School, said: "It's notable that immigrants, together with those who were born and live in the UK but who have lived abroad for some time, have a significantly higher TEA rate than people who have always lived here and this gap seems to have been wider in 2015 than in previous years."The wider experience and skills of many immigrants and returnee migrants may enable them to spot and exploit opportunities more readily. On the other hand, life-long residents of the UK may find it easier to obtain employment than immigrants."The research found that in 2015 the TEA rate for immigrants stood at 15.4 per cent and for returning UK expats at 10.5 per cent, both significantly higher than the 5.3 per cent rate for members of the indigenous population who had lived in the UK all their lives."Immigrants and returnee migrants are also engaged in more opportunity entrepreneurship than the resident population; there is no difference in the necessity rates," the report added.Comparing the UK's entrepreneurial activity, attitudes and aspirations with those in Germany and the US, the study found that while Britain is ahead of Germany for early-stage entrepreneurial activity, it still lags behind that of the US.The report also looked at entrepreneurial employee activity (EEA) – the role employees can play in developing and creating new business activities for their employers.The EEA rate in the UK in 2015 stood at 6.4 per cent, which was higher than that in Germany and on a par with the US. Unlike the TEA rate, which fell over the year, the UK's EEA rate in 2015 was up slightly from 6.2 per cent in 2014.Professor Jonathan Levie, of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde Business School, said, "When taken together, the EEA and TEA rates provide a fuller picture of the extent of entrepreneurial activity being undertaken in a nation."The UK continues to have a relatively high rate of entrepreneurship among employees by international standards. This is good news because resources for new business activities are often easier to access within established businesses."In its conclusion, the report said, "The recovery of UK economy and the resulting opportunities for employee roles may result in a lower inclination towards entrepreneurial activity on behalf of the individual. This scenario may explain the decline in TEA rates over the year in the UK, coupled with the increase in entrepreneurial employee activity [EEA]."However the stability of higher TEA rates since 2011, and strong attitudes in favour of entrepreneurship, suggest that starting a business is now more desirable and achievable than it was in previous decades, particularly amongst the older generation."

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