Nola Andaya-Milani is a Filipina entrepreneur based in France and founder of the Migrentrepreneur Woman Blog. She has an MA in Comparative Local Development and a masters in Cultural Management.
Connect with Nola via Twitter: @nola24.
More than any other time, we are now seeing an environment conducive to the growth of immigrant women entrepreneurship. A growing demand for globally sourced products, the proliferation of internet commerce and increasing resources targeting immigrant woman are all helping us start a business.
One of the things I find so exciting about being an immigrant woman entrepreneur is having more of what I call, “cultural capital” (No, it has nothing to do with Bourdieu’s definition!). For me, cultural capital means that our diversity offers us a unique selling proposition.
Trends have shown that demand and acceptance of multicultural products are on the rise. Mainstream brands are incorporating world culture in their designs, upcoming designers of diverse cultural background are making waves, and a growing number of online shops are offering products sourced from all over the world. Even Walmart is getting into the game. The market is constantly on the search for new products and new perspectives.
Beyond Barriers & Borders
The internet has opened up a new market for immigrants to participate that is accessible, allows us to use our qualifications, communicate in our language of choice, and in general, is free of prejudice. Starting up has been made feasible through microfinance institutions, easier business registration processes, openness to new business models such as pop up stores, mobile businesses, virtual services, home-based businesses and more.
Whether as women or as immigrant entrepreneurs, support and assistance are available locally or online. Search out networks and mentors to find help. Research and explore local entrepreneurship assistance centers. The support system is out there. We just need to seek them out. Check out Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit in the US for example.
The arrows are all pointing to the possibility that we can create our own opportunities. Let’s seize them. Our time is now.