Study and work paving the way for Moroccan migrants: the entrepreneurial path to transnational and domestic business activities

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In this article we look at the various paths taken by transnational and domestic entrepreneurs based on their education and work experience. These act as catalysts for skills that allow migrant entrepreneurs to better position themselves in different markets. Differences in migrant entrepreneurs allow us to better understand the strategies employed and the consequences for society and the economy at both domestic and transnational levels. Earlier research has extensively analysed individual characteristics of migrant entrepreneurs and, to a much lesser extent, the geographical nature of their business activities.

This article addresses this gap by looking at the geographical orientation of migrant entrepreneurs’ businesses. The research question is as follows: In what ways are transnational or domestic activities of Moroccan migrant entrepreneurs in the Netherlands and Italy influenced by skills acquired in earlier experiences? We provide empirical evidence on the different paths leading to domestic and transnational activities using a micro-level perspective of the experiences collected in the narratives of first-generation Moroccan migrant entrepreneurs who have migrated to Milan or Amsterdam (N=70).

Four different paths combining these two life experiences emerged from the interviews: #1 Job-based, #2 Education-driven, #3 Job-education merger, and #4 By chance (neither education nor work experience). The most relevant paths for migrant entrepreneurs seem to be the first (#1) and third (#3) paths. Furthermore, our findings show that transnationally oriented entrepreneurs have an extended business-oriented education and rely on skills learned, in contrast to domestically oriented entrepreneurs who become entrepreneurs ‘by chance’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-184
JournalZFW – Advances in Economic Geography
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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