Transmission of entrepreneurial
spirit from ﬁrst to second
generation ethnic minorities
Opening paths for further researches
Department of Management, HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Purpose – Very little research has been conducted on the speciﬁc topic of intergenerational
transmission of the entrepreneurial spirit. The current study aims to elucidate the concept of
entrepreneurial spirit. The purpose of this paper is to identify the main factors that inﬂuence sons and
daughters of immigrant entrepreneurs in their decisions to take over from their parents or start new
Design/methodology/approach – Semi-directed interviews with the children of immigrants
(aged 18 to 35) have been conducted in the area of Montreal. Their parents are or were entrepreneurs
and the interviews focused on how interviewees perceive entrepreneurship.
Findings – Ethno-cultural background does not play a signiﬁcant role in this transmission. Parents
do not have a direct inﬂuence on the development of an entrepreneurial spirit among their offspring.
Interviewees identify more with an “open culture” rather than with a speciﬁc ethnic identity.
Research limitations/implications – The data must be subjected to other types of analysis and
methodologies. Studies in other contexts must also be conducted in order to compare the ﬁndings.
Practical implications – The paper raises the importance of working on opening existing
institutions to these second generation entrepreneurs, rather than to favour the creation of speciﬁc
institutions based on ethnic identity. Entrepreneurship empowerment among second-generation
immigrants should focus on new possibilities rather than on perpetuating traditional niches occupied
by ethnic minority entrepreneurs.
Originality/value – The paper focuses on the manner in which an entrepreneurial spirit is
transmitted to the second generation. This study is grounded in the social processes that trigger
business creation and the transmission of an entrepreneurial spirit among ethnic minority groups.
Keywords Canada, Entrepreneurialism, Immigrants, Family, Entrepreneurship,
Ethno-cultural minorities, Entrepreneurial spirit
Paper type Research paper
Being in business constitutes an everyday challenge and while many are called, few
can boast of being chosen. But really, what does it mean to succeed in business? Is it
making your company grow in size and numbers? Is it a way to ensure a degree of
economic and emotional stability for oneself and one’s family over a number of years?
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The author wants to thank the Fond que
cois de la recherche
sur la socie
et la culture (FQRSC)
for its support.
Received 14 December 2010
Revised 6 May 2011,
11 July 2011,
25 October 2011
Accepted 31 October 2011
Journal of Enterprising Communities:
People and Places in the Global
Vol. 6 No. 1, 2012
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited