Informal Refugee Entrepreneurship: Narratives of Economic Empowerment



Jordan hosts a total of 1.4 million Syrian refugees. This exploratory, qualitative study presents the narratives of five Syrian refugees engaged in informal entrepreneurship in Jordan. It aims to provide a better understanding of their motives and the challenges they faced as they tried to create home-based business in a patriarchal and conservative context. Purposeful sampling was employed to recruit participants. A semi structured interview guide was used to interview the refugees. Content analysis was used to identify recurring themes present in the data and amongst refugee narratives. Refugee motivations were a combination of push and pull factors whereas, finding start-up capital, hostility from locals and work-life balance were cited as the major challenges faced. The study highlights how entrepreneurship can be used as a means of survival and economic empowerment under dire circumstances. It also draws attention to how these types of activities may help relieve the economic burden of host communities.


Informal entrepreneurship Women entrepreneurs Refugee entrepreneurship Syrian refugees Middle East 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University of KuwaitSafatKuwait
  2. 2.Princess Sumaya University for TechnologyAmmanJordan

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