MIGRANT DIGITAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Migrants’ startups as drivers for innovative regional development


Current economic and societal transitions reveal new challenges as well as new opportunities for the development of regional, national, and metanational socioeconomic systems. Digital transformation and migration trends are significant and inevitable elements of modern societies. Here, the understanding of the role of entrepreneurial activities based on startups by migrants – including the required competence basis – is of high academic and practical relevance. Startup activities by migrants are therefore not decoupled from those of the native population, but are interlinked. Consequently, these system mechanisms need to be considered as a driving force within the innovation system/superordinate societal system, which includes stimulating effects on regional development. Despite its relevance, the peculiarities and cultural characteristics of migrant digital entrepreneurial activities are neither sufficiently analyzed nor understood. Therefore, the overall aim of the project is to develop a socially robust understanding of the potential impact of migrant digital entrepreneurship on the regional socioeconomic system/the underlying innovation capacities. Here, we distinguish three vertical dimensions – individual, organization, and region – and three horizontal dimensions – society and culture, economics and finance, and human and knowledge. A transdisciplinary mutual learning process will be applied in collaboration between agents from science and practice (e.g., incl. experts of tecnet/accent but also migrant entrepreneurs) in order to specify the relevant guiding questions and to develop a comprehensive system model. Furthermore, we distinguish two specific objectives: (i) To conduct a comparative analysis of selected countries and/or regions (the selection will be based on a transdisciplinary discourse) in the field of migrant digital entrepreneurship embedded within superordinate digital /technological and sociocultural trends; here, national/international benchmarks will be identified and implications will be derived as a specific outcome. (ii) To identify potential leverage points for policy interventions at various levels within the innovation system through data-driven analytics. This will allow us to define the economic prospects as well as the impact on social cohesion and the knowledge potential of a region. In particular, the understanding of (dis)advantages, potential problems and prospects will provide the evidential basis for policy implications. The distinctiveness of the project refers to the systematic character of the research by understanding migrants’ individual characteristics and their decision-making processes concerning digital entrepreneurship within the multi-layered innovation system. The transdisciplinary discourse of the research allows us to integrate the state-of-the-art knowledge with the practical experience of involved stakeholders through a mutual learning process that will result in socially robust knowledge.


Duration 01/02/2019 - 01/02/2021
Funding Bundesländer (inkl. deren Stiftungen und Einrichtungen)
Program nfb

Department for Knowledge and Communication Management

Principle investigator for the project (Danube University Krems) Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Gerald Steiner
Project members Dr. Liliya Satalkina Ass. Prof. Mag. Dr. Lukas Zenk
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