Doing business

Entrepreneurial spirit of the region’s immigrants

Aimee Bateas
May 5, 2011

The number of Tuscan-based businesses run by foreign residents continues to rise. From 1999 to 2008, the number of enterprises with foreign-born owners quadrupled, rising from 7,600 to more than 32,000, with an average of 111 companies owned by non-Italians in each of Tuscany's municipalities.


The numbers come from a survey conducted by the University of Florence and the Region of Tuscany, in collaboration with Arpat, the Chamber of Commerce of Florence, Florence Caritas, Confesercenti Florence, Tuscany Confindustria, Prefettura Utg in Florence and the Florence Police Headquarters.


The report notes that in 1999 more than one-third of Tuscany's foreign-owned companies were managed by citizens of the world's developed nations; 10 years later, the majority of the region's newest entrepreneurs are Chinese (7,029 businesses), followed by Albanians (5,114), Romanians (4,259) and Moroccans (3,489).


In the same period, the number of companies owned by Africans, especially those from Senegal, grew sevenfold, from 387 to 2745.


Approximately 85 percent of the businesses owned by foreign-born entrepreneurs operate in construction, trade and manufacturing. Trade is strong among Senegalese entrepreneurs, while for Albanians and Romanians, construction has been the strongest sector.


Dual specialization prevails in companies with Chinese owners (manufacturing and trade) and Moroccan owners (trade and construction). A variety of specialization is a feature of companies owned by entrepreneurs from Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt and Macedonia. 




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