Thwarted or Facilitated? The Entrepreneurial Aspirations and Capabilities of New Migrants in the UK


This article draws on biographical interviews with migrants to assess their aspirations and capabilities to become entrepreneurs. By augmenting mixed embeddedness emphasis on contextual factors with Sen’s capabilities framework, we contribute to extant sociological debates on the interaction of structure and agency, the conceptualisation of aspirations, the non-pecuniary aspects of entrepreneurship and the role of institutions in neoliberal Britain. We argue that structural barriers drive the formation of aspirations to become entrepreneurs while at the same time limit their capabilities to do so. Entrepreneurial agency must be seen as relative autonomy, effective in strategic decision making but limited to the weak financial position in which migrant entrepreneurs operate.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Aston India Centre for Applied Research
Additional Information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( Funding Information: The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: the project ‘The aspirations and capabilities of migrant and refugee entrepreneurs’ (2015–2017) was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Account (University of Birmingham), and the social enterprise Ashley Community & Housing (ACH) Ltd.
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK,agency,aspirations,capabilities,entrepreneurship,migration,refugees,structure,Sociology and Political Science
Publication ISSN: 1469-8684
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 17:05
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2022 10:16
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Related URLs: https://journal ... 380385221083865 (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2022-12
Published Online Date: 2022-05-12
Accepted Date: 2022-05-01
Authors: Villares-Varela, María
Ram, Monder (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-1901-6654)
Jones, Trevor



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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