Forms of capital, mixed embeddedness and Somali enterprise

Monder Ram, Nicholas Theodorakopoulos, Trevor Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


What form is small business activity taking among new migrants in the UK? This question is addressed by examining the case of Somalis in the English city of Leicester.We apply a novel synthesis of the Nee and Sanders' (2001) `forms of capital' model with the `mixed embeddedness' approach (Rath, 2000) to enterprises established by newly arrived immigrant communities, combining agency and structure perspectives. Data are drawn from business-owners (and workers) themselves, rather than community representatives. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were held with 25 business owners and 25 employees/`helpers', supplemented by 3 focus group encounters with different segments of the Somali business population.The findings indicate that a reliance solely on social capital explanations is not sufficient. An adequate understanding of business dynamics requires an appreciation of how Somalis mobilize different forms of capital within a given political, social and economic context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-446
Number of pages20
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2008


  • forms of capital
  • mixed embeddedness
  • Somali enterprise


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