Migrant entrepreneurs create 14% of jobs in the SME sector

Research findings published this month highlight how migrant entrepreneurs are behind one in seven UK companies and have created around 1.16 million jobs – notably 14% of jobs in the SME sector.

The report, launched by think tank Centre for Entrepreneurs and financial technology company DueDil, shows how nearly half a million people from 155 countries have started businesses after settling in the UK. Despite the extra financial, cultural and language barriers migrants face, their entrepreneurial activity is nearly double that of UK-born people (17.2% compared to 10.4%).

This data was released a few days before the government published a report into the impact of migration on UK native employment – a report the Centre for Entrepreneurs believes neglected to focus on how migration can actually help create businesses and jobs.

Risk of ‘alienating’ job creators

Centre for Entrepreneurs chairman and entrepreneur Luke Johnson said: “The majority of the public appreciate the value of migrant entrepreneurs, yet our politicians and media send out negative signals that risk alienating this vital group of job creators.

“Given the huge contribution of migrant entrepreneurs, we are calling upon the media and politicians to join us in celebrating those who come to our country and launch businesses.”

DueDil founder and CEO Damian Kimmelman, himself an American migrant entrepreneur, stressed how immigration is one of the UK’s most controversial topics.

He said: “Sadly, opinions are rarely informed by evidence. This game-changing research proves that migrant entrepreneurs are hyper-productive, net contributors to the UK economy.

“History tells us that the most productive states always encourage intellectual and technological ferment; that’s what we’re seeing in Britain right now, and we must celebrate it.”

Where are these business-minded migrants from?

Migrant entrepreneurs come from virtually all countries, but the majority are from Ireland, India, Germany, China and the US. London has 20 times the number of migrant-led businesses (188,000) than Birmingham, the second most popular location with 19,000.