An Exploration of The Characteristics of Late Emergent Immigrant Entrepreneurs in South Korean
Immigrant entrepreneurs are a common feature in the business environments of many countries and can greatly contribute to host economies. In South Korea, many foreigners arrive with the intention of establishing small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs). However, others are not immigrating to start companies and their entrepreneurial inclinations only emerge later during their stay. These business people can be identified as late emergent immigrant entrepreneurs. As the extant literature does not allow for the delineation of this type of entrepreneur from those who arrive with the specific purpose of doing business, it is necessary to identify the characteristics of these SME owners so as to better understand their motivations, success factors and potential impact on the local business community. The concept and characteristics of late emergent immigrant entrepreneurs, a new sub-field of study in entrepreneurship, is explored using the results of a study of 98 foreign SME owners doing business in South Korea. The preliminary findings of this research identify some distinctive demographic, motivational and perceptional characteristics belonging to this sub-field and are applicable to academics and policy makers interested in encouraging foreigners, especially those who are not currently in business, to open firms. The findings are also particularly valuable as there is no prior literature specifically targeting this research area.
Keywords: Late emergent immigrant entrepreneurs, immigrant entrepreneurship, South Korea