Flying Business Class: A Case of Russian Entrepreneurs in London
This paper’s objectives are to examine a new community, rarely explored in the literature in the context of the broader entrepreneurship literature. Moreover, the attempt is made to engage in theoretical development by extending the “forms of capital” framework (Ram et al, 2008, Vershinina, et.al. 2011) in light of transnational migration literature which is applied to a sample of Russian business owners operating in London. Russian entrepreneurship is examined in the extant literature in the context of Russian political and economic environment, and some studies look at entrepreneurial characteristics of such business owners and the ethical dimensions of running a small business in Russia. A largely undeveloped area of research on ethnic entrepreneurs is amongst Russian migrants who leave their country of birth in search of opportunities abroad. A conceptual framework has been developed based on “forms of capital” and transnational migration literature and tested empirically. Fourteen firms from different sectors were recruited for this study with Russian business owners as participants to undertake semi-structured interviews which lasted two hours. Themes were developed through iterations of the transcribed data with reference to broader theoretical contexts. This study examines the stories of fourteen Russian entrepreneurs, who set up their business in London, UK. This group of migrants access, use and convert economic, social and cultural capital in order to set and run their business in London. However, their businesses are not aimed at the enclave economy with reliance on co-ethnic migrant customers. Instead, their entrepreneurial activity in London is influenced by the transnational nature of their social and professional networks, which helped these migrants identify better and more stable business opportunities than those in the country of birth, as well as with much higher profit margins, than those achieved by other ethnic business ventures in UK. The main contribution of this paper is to argue that for Russian transnational entrepreneurs, unlike other ethnic groups, the unique combination of financial, social and cultural capitals aligned to fit the prevailing positive economic and regulatory environment of the UK, allows for development of successful businesses.
Citation : Vershinina, N. (2012) Flying Business Class: A Case of Russian Entrepreneurs in London. Conference paper presented at 35th ISBE Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 6-8th November 2012
Research Group : Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship
Peer Reviewed : Yes