In the 21st century globalisation has contributed to the creation of the entrepreneurial society and city. The location of entrepreneurship has become an important factor in entrepreneurial studies and, moreover, for entrepreneurial success. Research has shown that the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam needs to be strengthened for businesses to grow, but solutions have not been found yet. In the region of Rotterdam immigrants make up a large part of the population and are very entrepreneurial. Immigrant entrepreneurs are considered as important agents for urban economic growth and competitiveness. Although studying immigrant entrepreneurs could be very informative to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam, this is not done before. Therefore, in the present study, we analyse the entrepreneurial habits and experiences, and challenges regarding infrastructure, culture, and media, of immigrant entrepreneurs to find out to what extent immigrant entrepreneurs could contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam. Hence, the following research question is posed: To what extent could immigrant entrepreneurship contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam? In order to answer this question, a strategy of Grounded Theory orientated qualitative research is undertaken and ten in-depth interviews are conducted with immigrant entrepreneurs located in Rotterdam-Zuid. Furthermore, the entrepreneurial ecosystem is applied to Rotterdam-Zuid. By understanding the environment of the city, we build a list of unique behaviours or attributes that define the entrepreneurial habits and experience of immigrant entrepreneurs in Rotterdam-Zuid. A thematic analysis on the outcome of the interviews revealed that cross-cultural entrepreneurship is an important characteristic of immigrant-entrepreneurship in Rotterdam-Zuid. It can be considered as a hidden economic potential, as it can strengthen: 1. The immigrant businesses regarding business development and growth; 2. The communities and networks of businesses and entrepreneurs; and, 3. The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam-Zuid. Nonetheless, the entrepreneurial habits of the immigrant entrepreneurs also caused some limitations for business development and collaborations, such as the lack of creativity within ethnic communities and the importance of self-representation. Furthermore, the immigrant entrepreneurs face challenges regarding infrastructure and communication with third parties, resulting in a more negative entrepreneurial experience.

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Spence, J
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Pijpstra, A. (2017, June 20). The hidden economic potential of Rotterdam:. Media & Business. Retrieved from