Promotion of Migrant Entrepreneurship: The Portuguese Case Study

Promotion of Migrant Entrepreneurship: The Portuguese Case Study

Pedro Calado (High Commission for Migration (ACM), Portugal) and Ana Couteiro (High Commission for Migration (ACM), Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2925-6.ch014
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Abstract

Migration is a dynamic reality in today's global and modern societies, representing challenges and opportunities. Studies show that migrants and refugees are resilient and more likely than non-migrants to start new businesses, although they still encounter obstacles mainly associated with their legal status. The High Commission for Migration (ACM) is a public institute in Portugal responsible for the implementation of public policies for the reception and integration of migrants. Through its Migrant Entrepreneur Support Office (GAEM), ACM promotes a range of initiatives to support migrants and refugees wishing to develop micro-business in Portugal, based primarily on skills development, capacity building, networking, and institutional referral. From the Portuguese experience, this chapter will describe the investment in public measures in this area, demonstrating how the promotion of entrepreneurship is a fundamental dimension for the integration of migrants and how ACM supports migrants and refugees in the development of their entrepreneurial projects.
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Introduction

Migration is now a global phenomenon and people’s mobility can happen for a variety of reasons. Thus, host countries may face challenges arising from migratory flows and the different migrant profiles received. However, these countries can also turn into opportunities those which, according to Oliveira (2004, p. 65), are the resources that immigrants bring to host societies, such as their qualifications or their professional and business experiences, allowing to determine their choices with regard to their economic insertion. This chapter will therefore focus on the dimension of integration related to labour market insertion through business creation.

With a methodology based in a qualitative approach, characterized as exploratory research, we opted for a case study (PEI), plus bibliographic and documentary analysis to support the investigations about the question:

How initiatives with person-centred and competency-based methodologies can influence the integration of migrants through the creation of a business?

Undoubtedly, alongside the positive aspects of migrants in host societies, are the difficulties that migrants experience in their integration, which are specific to their legal status. According to Oliveira (2004, p. 65), one can point out as obstacles to achieving the economic objectives of migrants the constraints determined by immigration policies, hostile public opinion, ignorance of the language, lack of knowledge in the process of looking for work or discrimination in the access to the labour market.

In the first part of this chapter, the authors will briefly characterize the migratory flows in Portugal, signalling out which political measures have been developed, particularly on the support of business creation, while referring, in a broader perspective, to those which are the European Commission's guidelines to support the creation of business by migrants. The positive impacts that business creation has on host countries will also be mentioned, as well as the difficulties of migrants in the business creation process, as referred in several sources and also by the services of the High Commission for Migration (ACM).

Based on the recognition of the potential of immigrants, the intention to remove the barriers faced by migrants, as well as the fostering of immigrant entrepreneurship, ACM has developed initiatives to support migrants who want to start a business in Portugal, which will be explained below, mostly by highlighting the Project for the Promotion of Immigrant Entrepreneurship (PEI). The presentation of these initiatives aims to highlight how dynamic, practical, person-centred and competency-based methodologies can influence the integration of migrants through the creation of a business and how relevant is the identification and interaction with other resources.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Migrant: A person who moves from his/her country to another as a result of different situations. It is a comprehensive concept, encompassing the definition of emigrant, immigrant and refugee.

PEI: Refers to the Project called Promotion of Immigrant Entrepreneurship, created by ACM, a training response and support for migrants wishing to develop and implement a business in Portugal.

Entrepreneurship: The ability and willingness to develop, implement and run a business.

Refugee: A person who was forced to leave his/her country due to armed conflict, persecution, violence, among other situations that undermine his/her integrity.

Migrant Entrepreneur: A migrant who wants to develop a business or already has experience in the area.

Immigrant: A person who moves from one country to another and lives there.

ACM: A public institute in Portugal responsible for the implementation of public policies for the reception and integration of migrants.

GAEM: It refers to the Migrant Entrepreneur Support Office of the High Commission for Migration, which stimulates actions that foster the creation of businesses implemented by migrants.

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