Turkish ethnic entrepreneurship in Germany: the case of women in beauty sector

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2018
Kavuş, Helin Kardelen
The aim of this thesis is to examine the woman entrepreneurs with Turkish migration background in Cologne, Germany who own businesses in the beauty sector. Ethnic entrepreneurship is a phenomenon which is especially quite common among Turkish immigrants in Europe. However, studies on women ethnic entrepreneurs are relatively scarce in the literature. The main inquiry of this research is to understand how cultural and gender factors shape immigrant women’s entrepreneurial activities and create an ethnic niche market for specific services. Qualitative research methods were used in this study including a six-week field research and in-depth interviews with 11 participants. Results show that, cultural demands from co-ethnics in the migration context determine the nature of work and services provided in salons. Also, women transfer some cultural practices to their work, especially the ones which are expected to be performed by women like hospitality and this leads to changes in job definitions. Domestic chores – especially childcare – are still assumed women’s responsibility, so women in the sample try to find ways to balance work and home, and they even delay their careers as business owners. On the other hand, business ownership increases women’s self-confidence, and their economic and social status in the society improve in terms of their relations with family, ethnic networks and the host society