For economic success, look to communities that are cohesive and open to newcomers

Hot on the heels of the recent Ipsos Mori research that showed a shift to more positive views on the impact of immigration over the last two years, a new report from independent trust Power to Change reveals that the role of migrant communities is indeed one to celebrate; for their positive influence on business start-up rates.

The new report Neighbourhood Economic Models finds that start-up rates for small businesses are higher than average in areas where:

  • recent immigration from inside and outside the EU is higher
  • income and education standards among residents are higher
  • levels of opportunity within a community is higher, even where income is relatively low (measured by the number of children on free school meals going on to higher education)

Neighbourhood Economic Models concludes that migration rates, along with the social class mix and equality of opportunity for local people, can help generate jobs and opportunities in areas where there is too little of both.

Genevieve Maitland Hudson, Head of Evaluation and Impact Assessment at Power to Change, said:
This research can help us answer questions which have long dogged government, about making sure local economies really thrive.

If we follow the evidence we can see that entrepreneurial ideas are more likely to emerge in places where migrants have chosen to settle, and where there are already skilled people and a sense of opportunity. These start-up businesses have the potential to help generate local jobs and create income for that community. We need to think hard about how to sustain that entrepreneurial buzz and maintain a healthier local economy.”
 

Neil Reeder, author of the report and Director of Head and Heart Economics, said:

“Enterprise is at its strongest when there is co-operation in the community. Help and advice from those nearby when their business is fragile and under pressure, and openness to ideas and inspiration from around the world generate local jobs.

“The Brexit vote, and reactions to that vote, have shown that neither aspect of co-operation can be taken for granted.  But the recent opinion polls show views can change. There is a huge amount to do, not least in devising and implementing new ways for enterprises of all sizes to access global relationships and insights.”


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Power to Change is an independent trust, whose funding is used to strengthen community businesses across England. At a time when many parts of the UK face cuts, neglect and social problems, we are helping local people come together to take control, and make sure their local areas survive and stay vibrant.