Centre for Economic Transformation| CET

Business Connections of Migrant Entrepreneurs: Finding a Niche in the Diverse City of Amsterdam


Amsterdam is known to be a cosmopolitan and multicultural city where newly arrived migrants find opportunities to test business ideas. Behind every business idea, there are people supporting the entrepreneurs’ initiatives and providing feedback.

This chapter examines the role of those people in the process of refining business ideas being implemented in the city. The literature about the role of connections in business highlights the value of networks’ diversity for creativity and innovation. I argue that both diverse and similar business connections have their specific role in the adaptation of a business idea to Amsterdam’s context.

The specific role was analyzed from 509 business connections in 41 businesses. Qualitative information and ego network maps were collected to measure similarity indexes in: place of residence, nationality, and level of education of entrepreneurs.

The results show that migrant businesses in the multicultural market of Amsterdam rely on diverse and similar connections acting together: similar ones as a safety net where ideas develop and diverse ones where ideas are quickly tested. Migrant entrepreneurs actively use their business connections to carve a niche, whether strengthening relations with migrant-based markets or moving toward the high-end segments of the local market.

Reference Alvarado Valenzuela, J. F. (2021). Business Connections of Migrant Entrepreneurs: Finding a Niche in the Diverse City of Amsterdam. In C. Y. Liu (Ed.), Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Cities: Global Perspectives (pp. 175-193). (The Urban Book Series). Springer Publishing Company. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-50363-5_8

Publication date

Jan 2021

Research database