University of Oulu

Understanding the motivation, survival, and growth of immigrant businesses in Finland

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Author: Sambou, Anna1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Pages: 91
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Sambou, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-06-25
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Mainela, Tuija
Reviewer: Mainela, Tuija
Arslan, Ahmad


This thesis presents the phenomena of immigrant entrepreneurship as recent studies on the subject in Finland are scarce. For many immigrants, Finland has become a preferred destination, and immigrant entrepreneurship is increasing. The study is motivated by previous scientific research on this topic and the researcher’s interest in entrepreneurship. This research aims to bridge the gap between earlier studies as it concentrated on the country’s specific entrepreneurs.

The research explores the experience of ten immigrants and their entrepreneurial journey. To understand why they create companies in Finland, the challenges they encounter, and how they survive to overcome these challenges and grow successful businesses. This thesis employs a qualitative research method, and the research design is a case study. Through a semi-structured interview, the researcher interviewed ten immigrant entrepreneurs from different cities in Finland. Thematic analysis was used to analyze and interpret the interview data.

The empirical finding shows that most of the immigrants were motivated to become entrepreneurs because they are underprivileged in the Finnish labor market. They are motivated by a lack of job opportunities, limited opportunity to advance their career, opportunities in the market, and to gain financial independence. Secondly, the challenges immigrants face are high tax rates, inadequate financial assistance, lack of cultural awareness, language barriers, barriers in the labor market, and getting access to business information in English.

The immigrant entrepreneurs survive in Finland by social networks and support from family and friends, and educational qualifications. Further, they also rely on previous entrepreneurial experience, doing a part-time job to get extra cash, not limiting their business to Finland, self-motivation, building their brand reputation and commitment, and hard work. The factors affecting the growth of the immigrant business in Finland are Finnish language skills, lack of openness, employee acquisition and good employee retention, human capital, lack of financial capital to execute projects, and social and cultural integration.

The study found that whiles the thesis finding is similar to past research results. It has also brought some unique elements, such as immigrants having limited opportunities to advance their careers. Doing part-time jobs to get extra cash, not liming their business to Finland, self-motivation, and building their brand reputation to attract the mainstream population. The researcher, therefore, considers this thesis to be a contribution to the existing literature.

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