The Stepping Stones to Small Business programme in Australia is appreciated by participants but has shown that entrepreneurship is a problematic concept in the context of women from refugee backgrounds. Starting a small business in Australia is often discussed alongside the risk-taking attributes of entrepreneurs. This characterisation casts entrepreneurship as positive and adventurous, with the promise of rewards. However, some groups in Australia have no choice but to pursue self-employment due to their constrained opportunities in the labour market. Refugee women, in particular, face barriers to being part of the workforce that relate to language, culture, gender and family, and employer attitudes and practices. There are also pull factors that attract refugees to entrepreneurship, such as the allure of financial security and independence, or previous small business experience in their home country. Self-employment may offer the possibility of enhanced professional standing and higher earnings than waged employment, given that migrants work predominantly in lower paid, precarious jobs.

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van Kooy, J. (2016). Refugee women as entrepreneurs in Australia. Forced Migration Review, (53), 71.

About This Study:

Outcome(s): Employment attainment
Intervention Duration: Not specified
Relevant ORR Program: Child Care Microenterprise Development, Home-based Child Care, Microenterprise Development, Preferred Communities, Refugee Career Pathways
Study Type: Suggestive evidence
Full Text Availability: Free
Direction of Evidence: No impact
Strength of Evidence: Suggestive
Gender(s) of Participants: Female
Age(s) of Participants: Adults

Relevant Evidence Summaries:

The evidence was reviewed and included in the following summaries: