Migrant business owners help drive economy

Most migrants haven't run businesses before coming to Australia, but they now own almost a third of the small enterprises, a survey shows.

Migrants run one third of all small businesses in Australia and most had no entrepreneurial experience before setting up successful enterprises here, a new survey suggests.

The CGU Migrant Small Business Report, released on Monday, challenges perceptions that migrants can be a drain on the national economy.

The report, based on a survey of more than 900 business owners, shows migrant owners are more highly educated than their non-migrant counterparts.

It also shows they are determined to create jobs for themselves if they can't find one.

While the main motivator for migrants starting up their own businesses was greater independence, they were also more likely to because they could not find other work - 16 per cent compared to 10 per cent for non-migrants.

More than 1.4 million Australians currently work for migrant employers but that could climb by a further 200,000 over the next five to 10 years, with a third of migrant-owned businesses planning to hire more people as their businesses expand.

"The significant contribution migrant small business owners make to our country is largely an untold story," says CGU Insurances's small business spokeswoman Kate Wellard.

"Our research helps challenge perceptions that our migrants are taking more than they're giving ... and the positive impact they have on our business community."


* 51% have a bachelor degree or higher, compared to 38% of non-migrant owners.

* 83% did not own a business before coming to Australia

* 52% said they went into business to become more independent

* Annual revenue for migrant-owned businesses is 53% higher than non-migrants

* 13% of migrant-owned businesses surveyed earned more than $3 million per year,

compared to 8% of non-migrant businesses.

* Migrants are most likely to go into property and business services (22%), retail and hospitality (15%), and community services and education (14%)

* 25% are training young people, compared to 19% for non-migrant owners

SOURCE: CGU Migrant Small Business Report, based on EY Sweeney research involving more than 900 business owners.

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