Title: Ethnic minority entrepreneurs in the international carpet trade: an empirical study

Authors: Ivan Light; Shahamak Rezaei; Léo-Paul Dana

Addresses: Department of Sociology, University of California, 264 Haines Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1551, USA ' Department of Society and Globalisation, Roskilde University, Building 25.3, P.O. Box 260, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark ' Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School, Montpellier Research in Management, 2300 avenue des Moulins, Montpellier, France

Abstract: Persian carpets have long been an important commodity in the world market, largely controlled by the Tehran Carpet Bazaar and the Hamburg Free Harbour. Interviews were conducted amongst Persian carpet traders in European centres, providing a historical overview and allowing us to identify trends. The paper discusses the pre-modern bazaar and the authors observe changes in the sector as Persian carpets can now be sourced from new entrants competing with traditional manufacturers. We identify two important issues: 1) the existence of a time-lag from the date of arrival of new migrant groups before the group is able to establish some weak business ties and transform those to strong ones; 2) the key to the success of new immigrant groups in business can be found in their multicultural and multi-linguistic competencies that lead to a higher level of mutual understanding and mutual trust relations which in turn lead to a strengthening of what were initially weak ties.

Keywords: Azari traders; bazaars; Persian carpets; ethnic solidarity; ethnicity; guilds; Tehran; Hamburg; Jews; immigrant groups; multicultural competencies; linguistic competencies; mutual understanding; mutual trust; weak ties; ethnic minority entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; international trade.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2013.052055

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2013 Vol.18 No.2, pp.125 - 153

Published online: 30 Sep 2013 *

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