chapter  6
24 Pages

Breaking out of survival businesses: Managing labour, growth and development in the South Asian restaurant trade


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Despite the statistical problems of cross-national comparison, it is safe to say that the rise of ethnic minority business ownership is an international trend, being especially strong in relatively deregulated Anglo-Saxon economies (see Light and Rosenstein, 1995, on the USA; Ram and Jones, 1998, on Britain; Razin and Langlois, 1996, on Canada), but also discernible in some mainland European nations such as the Netherlands (Rath and Kloosterman, 2000) and France (Ma Mung, 1999). Much of the recent literature endeavours to explain the presence of ethnic minority enterprise in particular sectors, localities and communities. For example, Werbner (1984, 1990), has demonstrated how Pakistani clothing manufacturers in Manchester (UK) draw on an array of ‘ethnic resources’ to initiate and sustain their businesses. These include: a supply of willing, flexible and cheap labour from the family and co-ethnic community; interest-free credit offered on trust by fellow Pakistani suppliers; and preferential outlets among co-ethnic wholesalers and retailers. From a radically different ‘mixed embeddedness’ perspective, Kloosterman et al. (1999) and Rath and Kloosterman (2000) locate immigrant entrepreneurship in its social, economic and institutional context rather than reducing it to a pure ‘ethno-cultural’ phenomenon.