“Don’t Call Me Small”: The Contribution of Ethnic Enterprises to the Economic and Social Well-Being of America



The source of U.S. entrepreneurs and their contributions to the economic and social well-being of American society are issues that are being addressed in many quarters today. One approach emphasizes the role that immigrant and minority entrepreneurs play in this process. The stereotypical enterprises created by ethnic immigrants evoke certain images: the corner retail establishment, predominately coethnic employees and customers, and a geographically bounded and identifiable section of town. Additional assumptions are also often made that the businesses are tied to the ethnic community and benefit from resources distributed through community ties. In fact, these businesses share many of the same characteristics of small enterprises in general. However, some also do share conditions, perceived as advantageous, that are related to the structure of specific ethnic communities. For these groups business enterprise is an important tool that contributes to the incorporation of ethnic immigrants into American society.


Small Business Small Firm Business Owner Entrepreneurial Behavior Ethnic Enclave 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Becker, H. (1940). “Constructive Typology in the Social Sciences.” In H.D. Barnes, H. Becker, and F.B. Becker (eds.), Contemporary Social Theory. New York: Applegate-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  2. Bonacich, E., and J. Modell. (1981). The Economic Basis of Ethnic Solidarity: Small Business in the Japanese American Community. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. Boyd. W.K. (1927). The Story of Durham: City of the New South. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Butler, J.S. (1991). Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans: A Reconstruction of Race and Economics. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, J.S., and K.L. Wilson. (1988). “Entrepreneurial Enclaves in the African American Experience.” National Journal of Sociology, 2, 128–166.Google Scholar
  6. Dubois, W.E.B. (1911). The College Bred Negro. Atlanta: Atlanta University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Fallers, L.A. (1967). Immigrants and Associations. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  8. Frazier, E.F. (1925). “Durham: Capital of the Black Middle Class.” In W. Reiss (ed.), The New Negro. New York: Boni.Google Scholar
  9. Gilder, G. (1984). The Spirit of Enterprise. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  10. Granovetter, M.S. (1985). “Economic Action and Social Structure:The Problem of Embeddedness.” American Journal of Sociology, 91, 481–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Greene, P. (1996). “A Call for Conceptual Unity.” National Journal of Sociology, 10(2), 49–56.Google Scholar
  12. Greene, P.G., and J.S. Butler. (1996). “The Ethnic Community as a Natural Business Incubator.” Journal of Business Research, 36, 51–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hamilton, G. (1978). “Pariah Capitalism: A Paradox of Power and Dependence.” Ethnic Groups, 2, 1–15.Google Scholar
  14. Harrell. W. (1995). For Entrepreneurs Only. Career Press.Google Scholar
  15. Johnson, C. (1938). The Negro College Graduate. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kirchhoff, B. (1994). Entrepreneurship and Dynamic Capitalism. Boston: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  17. Kotkin, J. (1992). Tribes: How Race, Religion, and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  18. Levenstein, M. (1995). “African American Entrepreneurship: The View from the 1910 Census.” Business and Economic History, 24, 106–121.Google Scholar
  19. Levine, G.N., and C. Levine. (1981). The Japanese American Community: A Three-Generation Study. New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  20. Light, I. (1972). Ethnic Enterprise in America: Business Welfare Among Chinese, Japanese, and Blacks. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Min, P.G. (1988). Ethnic Business Enterprise: Korean Small Business in Atlanta. New York: Center for Migration Studies.Google Scholar
  22. Muller, T. (1993). Immigrants and the American City. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Portes, A., and R.L. Bach. (1985). Latin Journey. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Portes, A., and J. Sensenbrenner. (1993). “Embeddedness and Immigration: Notes on the Social Determinants of Economic Action.” American Journal of Sociology, 98, 1320–1350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sombart, W. (1982). The Jews and Modern Capitalism. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  26. U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1996). Survey of Minority-Owixed Business Enterprises: Summary. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  27. U.S. Small Business Administration. (1994). Handbook of Small Business Data. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  28. Waldinger, R., H. Aldrich, R. Ward, et al. (1990). Ethnic Entrepreneurs. Newburg Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Washington, B.T. (1911). “Durham North Carolina: A City of Enterprises”. Independent 70, 642–651.Google Scholar
  30. Waterbury, J. (1972). North for the Trade: The Life and Times of a Berber Merchant. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  31. Weare, W.B. (1973). Black Business in the New South: A Social History of the North Carolina Mutual Life insurance Company. Chicage: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  32. Weber, M. (1930, 1904).The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  33. Wilson, K.L., and W.A. Martin. (1982). “Ethnic Enclaves: A Comparison of the Cuban and Black Economies in Miami.” American Journal of Sociology, 86, 295–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhou, M. (1992). Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Zhou, M. (1995). “Low Wage Employment and Social Mobility: The Experience of Immigrant Chinese Women in New York City. National Journal of Sociology, 9, 1–30.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.University of MissouriKansas CityUSA

Personalised recommendations