RE-CENTRING MIGRANT ENTERPRISE GEOGRAPHIES: TRANSLOCAL GHANAIAN AND POLISH ENTERPRISE WITHIN AND THROUGH LONDON
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In the wake of financial crisis the UK Coalition government has emphasised an ‘enterprise for all’ agenda for economic growth that, paradoxically, marginalises migrant entrepreneurs within an ‘immigrant reduction’ agenda. While migrant entrepreneurs may be written off as ‘failing’ within economic theory and policy, my research shows instead that the value of migrant enterprise is far from marginal. Focusing on Ghanaian and Polish migrant enterprise within and through London, I recentre our understanding away from the spatially partial (trans)national frameworks used in previous studies, towards a spatially holistic translocal conceptualisation of migrant enterprise. I re-conceptualise the value of migrant enterprise as a continuum of economic and social value, created for multiple stakeholders who consume and simultaneously construct this value relationally across space. Further, I unpack migrant enterprise practices in relation to migrant entrepreneurs’ translocal capital mobilisations and personal mobilities that stretch across localities in the Global North and South. I argue that this translocal framework also provides a more useful basis for facilitating migrant enterprise in practice. I highlight key gaps in support provision between publicly-funded institutions that fail to engage with the specific yet heterogeneous needs of migrant entrepreneurs, combined with self-funded support provisions that are inaccessible to the most capital-poor migrant entrepreneurs. To address these gaps, I make the case for further development of and investment in community-based enterprise support as an appropriate and realistic approach for enabling migrant entrepreneurs to create value across space. My research also expands the intellectual trading zone within Geography by constructing a ‘hybrid’ Economic-Development Geography of translocal migrant enterprise. I argue that the continued expansion of this ‘hybrid’ inter-sub-disciplinary approach is crucial to Geographers’ capacity to theorise our increasingly globalised world and effect positive change within it.
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