Purpose – The aim of this paper is to review and synthesize an interdisciplinary literature on ethnic entrepreneurship studies from a spatial perspective. The major goal is to develop an analytical framework for understanding how place plays a role in ethnic entrepreneurship processes at different geographic scales.
Design/methodology/approach – The article starts with a review of perspectives on ethnic entrepreneurship from multiple disciplines in social sciences, mainly from a non-spatial approach. It then critically discusses the spatial inquiries on ethnic entrepreneurship, with a focus on identifying the gaps across disciplines. Based on these discussions, a comprehensive, multilevel spatial framework is finally conceptualized. Following that, the concluding remarks highlight future directions and public policy significance by implementing this suggested social-spatial approach.
Findings – As the central social actors, ethnic entrepreneurs weave through multiscaled geographic contexts in the process of creatively mobilizing and capitalizing entrepreneurial resources in the labor markets. The multiscaled geographic contexts provide a milieu of social, economic, political, cultural, and regulatory factors and forces. The interaction between the social actors and their social-spatial contexts further influences entrepreneurs’ values of entrepreneurship, perception of entrepreneurial opportunities, practical management strategies, and ultimately their business performances. Practical implications – This study provides significant policy implications for entrepreneurship related public policies on regional development, economic recovery, and neighborhood revitalization especially when race and ethnicity are concerned. Originality/value – By identifying gaps of knowledge in ethnic entrepreneurship and incorporating a multidisciplinary literature, this paper extends the discussion of “contextual effects” from spatial dimensions, explicitly brings race and ethnicity to the spatial framework of entrepreneurship.
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