Are SMEs with Immigrant Owners Exceptional Exporters?

Do the knowledge, language skills, experience, and contacts of immigrant business owners constitute valuable resources when conducting business globally? Or do these attributes make them overconfident, and therefore less able to derive advantages from internationalizing? Immigrants are generally recognized for their strong entrepreneurial orientation. When they start businesses in Canada, they are more likely to engage in exporting than others. As exporters, immigrant owners are also more likely to target global markets. Their enhanced ability to do so is largely attributed to their first-hand knowledge of foreign markets, foreign language skills, international work or business experience, and foreign contacts. This could mean they are also better positioned than others to identify, evaluate, develop, and exploit opportunities in global markets. In sum, we expect immigrant owners to be experts when it comes to exporting activity — they should export more and earn more than comparable businesses with Canadian-born owners. Prior research has confirmed the first expectation, but has left us in the dark on the second. In our recently published Journal of Business Venturing article, we contribute by addressing this research gap.