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Migrants ‘twice as entrepreneurial’ as UK-born individuals

A major new study, carried out by the Centre for Entrepreneurs and DueDil, claims that migrant business people are behind one in seven limited companies in the UK.

The report, which used ONS and Companies House data, as well as YouGov polling, paints a interesting picture of how migrant entrepreneurs contribute to the country’s economic life.

Some of the key findings from the study include:

  • Nearly 500,000 people, from 155 different nations, have settled in the UK and currently run businesses here.
  • Migrants have founded, or co-founded, around 14.5% of all live UK companies, according to the report’s authors.
  • Using employment data provided to Companies House (where available), these migrant companies employ over 1.1 million people.
  • Just over 17% of migrants have started their own businesses since arriving in the UK, compared to 10.4% of UK-born individuals.
  • The average ‘foreign-born’ entrepreneur is younger than his/her UK-born counterpart – 44.3 years old, compared to 52.1 years.

London is home to twenty times as many migrant entrepreneurs than Birmingham, the second most popular location (188,000 businesses, compared to 19,000 in the UK’s second-biggest city). The third most popular city for migrant entrepreneurs is Belfast (where 15,814 of the 16,889 companies were set up by Irish nationals).

Most entrepreneurial nationalities

The nationalities with the most migrant business people are:

  1. Irish 48,854 entrepreneurs
  2. Indian 32,593
  3. German 30,755
  4. American 29,933
  5. Chinese 24,972
  6. Polish 21,757

Public perception of migrant entrepreneurs

According to the YouGov survey which was carried out as part of the study, the British public is far more accepting of overseas-born entrepreneurs than it is of immigration in general.

Around 44% of respondents believe that migrant business owners make a ‘positive contribution’, and half support the Government’s measures to attract more entrepreneurs to the country.

These figures compare favourably to the 68% who believe that net immigration should be reduced.

Further Information

You can download a complete report on ‘Migrant Entrepreneurs’ here (PDF).

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