Are we truly competitive?

As winter is ending, so is the term for several community organizations working with cultural diversity Montreal groups. It is now time for balance sheets and reports on the action plans developed in response to the received mandates.

In the case of entrepreneurship, the year was very tumultuous, on the one hand because of the imposing reform undertaken by the Government to clean up the budget and redeploy accompanying actors. On the other hand, ethnic entrepreneurs themselves had to demonstrate more imagination to fetch already scarce financing. Indeed, facing an apparent economic gloom and an inadequate labour market, entrepreneurship was the path chosen by many brave full-timers and many cautious part-timers. The fact remains that in this exercise of self-employment or trade, often initiated in the urgency of a drop in income, many elements come to tarnish the overall performance of the ethnic economy.

First, the choice of niches, physical enclaves and consumption communities implemented for identity purposes or restoration of a cultural reference for members of the diaspora too often becomes a refuge for reluctant entrepreneurs in their position or their expertise. So they choose to apply specifically to an audience who is ignorant of standards in their fields of activity and who overlook optimization as a result as long as low cost is provided to them. Then, many revel in the claim of ethnic specificity (which can be sometimes justified) in global market which asks only to be seized by the most powerful and daring. The competition is to be considered one day or another for a development of its economic structure and a strengthening of its position. Finally, the attitude itself is not at the rendezvous when nicks experts do not recognize their wrongs or their shortcomings knowing that they have a cost for the client finally out of the cave and who must often start afresh. A simple investment in a continuous recycling and training would be more appropriate to the client. The glass prison that restricts the ethnic entrepreneur therefore also results of his own difficulty to break free of a legacy of marginalization and negatively conditioned mindset.

In my previous articles I called for more openness to the world, especially after my experience in New York. It is regrettable, indeed, that the ethnic ‘entrepreneurship’ label is associated with prejudices, while many belong and give the best of them in what they do to succeed. While a larger number of models could create a change in the perception of another part of the business that I would describe as corporate, formal or normative. There is a force to develop members of diasporas from various identities. That some “Freedmen” of the economies in transition what is ethnic entrepreneurship, wants more be associated once they enter the formal world is a sign of contempt or a reality of integration? I do not know, my desire is to belong to this ethnic identity, to open myself to the rest of the market while participating in the strong competition of this specificity.

So what to do for more competitiveness?

Invest in the quality of services or products as well as your own professional expertise. If you are recognized for what you made, there is no reason for anyone to point the finger towards your ethnicity (“money is color blind”). Still you need to invest honestly to build this competitive advantage and not to assume its capital or capacity. Everyone has its hour of truth and to each the choice of obstinacy in error or strategic questioning. Ethnic entrepreneurship has the potential to establish itself as a valued economic reality and you are, without doubt, the actors of this change…

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