THE ESSENTIAL STRUCTURE OF AFRO-CARIBBEAN IMMIGRANT ENTERPRISE VIABILITY: VIEWS FROM LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONERS & IMPLICATIONS
Vol. Volume 13, Number 4 December/2008
This paper explores the phenomenon of Afro-Caribbean immigrant enterprise viability in two US counties heavily populated by Afro-Caribbean immigrants: Kings (Brooklyn), New York and Miami-Dade, Florida. It aims to construct an understanding of enterprise viability as it is understood by local economic development agency (LEDA) directors by examining the meanings of their experiences and interactions with this particular group of immigrants. It posits that objectively studying empirical indicators of enterprise viability only from the scholar’s or entrepreneur’s perspective would not get at the essential structure of enterprise viability as experienced by providers of enterprise development services. Examining the meaning providers ascribe to their experiences lends to better understanding of how potentials and challenges to enterprise viability manifest on the ground. Opportunities, challenges, expectations and unmet needs are exposed. Progress can then be made to provide immigrant entrepreneurs with the quality of programs and policy that can make them viable. Findings suggest that understanding ‘the American system’ and learning and applying basic modern business functions are essential elements in enterprise development and viability. Professionalization, formalization, and systematization effectuate migration from periphery to mainstream.
enterprise viability, Afro-Caribbean immigrant entrepreneurship, immigrant entrepreneurs, local economic development practice