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Migrant Companies in Hamburg

The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce set up a new division to support migrant entrepreneurs. Founders with foreign roots characterise Hamburg's economy

A Turkish vegetable shop, a Chinese take-awy, and, just around the corner, a Polish garage – in Hamburg, streets are dominated by a large number of migrant businesses. According to the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, the share of foreign companies is the highest at Hammerbrook, Billstedt, and Wilhelmsburg, three neightbourhoods in the district of Hamburg-Mitte. An evidence not surprising to Dr. Toufic El Masri, who works at the new division “Migrant Companies”, set up by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce in early August.

“On average, migrants more easily venture into self-employment and have less hesitations about starting a new company”, Dr. Toufic El Masri says. His evaluation is confirmed by a survey recently commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. According to the new study, every sixth new business in Germany is set up by migrants

Counseling for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Hamburg is home to approximately 550,000 people with an immigrant background, which corresponds to a 30 per cent share of the population (population register 2013). The multi-ethnic mix in the Hanseatic city well is thus well above the national average of 20,3 per cent (Federal Statistical Office 2014). “Here lies a great economic potential,” says El Masri, Ph.D. in Economics. Thus, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce set up a new department afor entrepreneurs with foreign roots on 1 August 2015. The new department “Migrant Companies” centrally bundles competencies from different fields to address specifically the need for consultation of entrepreneurs with a migration background. Next to free consultancy for member companies and the chamber’s integration programmes, the support of migrants who are planning to start a business are a key objective.

Language Competence

The department was set up by Dr. Toufic El Masri. He himself, and his two employees have an immigrant background. Thus, they will not only help entrepreneurs in technical, administrative and financial matters, but will also be able to solve issues linked to cultural clashes, language problems or other challenges by their cultural competence. In addition to English, Spanish and French, Dr. El-Masri and his colleagues are also able to communicate in Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, and Dari.

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Migrant Companies – the new department of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce

The department “Migrant Companies” was founded on 1 August 2015 to provide business support to migrant companies and to pool expertise for immigrant entrepreneurs. In addition to advising young entrepreneurs, the department focuses on the dialogue with member companies to advance the integration of young migrants into the labour market. Nex to Dr. Toufic El Masri, who was born in Afghan Bahram Habib, Ayhan Saka, a local Hamburg citizen with Turkish roots is working in the department, which is legally supported by the expertise of the fully qualified lawyer Aylin Jacob.

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