Entrepreneurs from generation to generation?



Many immigrants choose to start their own business in their host country. Some are following their desire to become a business owner, but for many, this decision represents a solution to the challenge of integration into the job market of their new country. The children of these immigrants grow up witnessing the entrepreneurial adventure of their parents. HEC Montréal research professor Sébastien Arcand wondered whether this family climate could lead these young people to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

Arcand investigated the interest shown by the children of immigrant entrepreneurs to take over the family business or start a business of their own as adults. To avoid any cultural bias, the study was conducted using a population that included representatives from many ethnocultural minorities. The objective was to determine the socio-historical and material conditions that encourage or discourage the transmission of entrepreneurial practices from first- to second-generation immigrants.

The longevity of the parents' business and the sector of activity have a significant impact on the children's entrepreneurial ambitions.

First observation: as a general rule, second-generation immigrant entrepreneurs reject the very notion of ethnic entrepreneurship. They consider themselves to be Quebec entrepreneurs. Second observation: the longevity of the parents' business and the sector of activity have a significant impact on the children's entrepreneurial ambitions. Arcand also observed that differences may exist within a single family. Thus, one child may develop a strong entrepreneurial ambition, while the other siblings may not. Which goes to show that the entrepreneurial spirit is a highly personal affair, whatever your ethnic background!