Placing Identity and Entrepreneurship: Resource Mobilization and Business Strategies of Bangladeshi Women Entrepreneurs in Toronto

Authors: Marshia Akbar*, York University
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Business Geography, Women
Keywords: Identity, Entrepreneurship, Resource mobilization, Co-ethnic and non-co-ethnic markets, Bangladeshi women
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Grand Ballroom A, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The study investigates the links between identity, place and immigrant entrepreneurship. Based on a comparative case study of Bangladeshi immigrant women who operate home-based businesses and non-home-based businesses in a Bangladeshi neighbourhood in Toronto, the research illustrates that ‘business location’ is a crucial factor in shaping Bangladeshi women’s business experiences and strategies. Focusing on the socio-spatial settings of businesses, I suggest, would allow for a better understanding of how identities and social processes in differentially constructed places create distinct opportunities and constraints for immigrant women that shape their resource mobilization and business strategies. The narratives of twenty eight Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs indicate that they rely on ‘ethnic specific’ resources. However, while home-based business operators depend on non-family ethnic networks and institutions, non-home-based business operators depend on family resources: financial capital and male family members’ business expertise to start and operate their businesses. Two groups of women adopt diverse business strategies to target co-ethnic and non-co-ethnic consumer markets.

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