Studies of businesses established by migrants to the UK traditionally stressed co-ethnic relationships as economic resources. More recent work identifies a new ethnic economy characterized by migrants’ common experiences, with ethnicity playing less of a role. The present study complements this newer perspective through investigation of the experiences of forty-nine business owners and sixty of their workers in the West Midlands. Economic relationships were central to the operation of migrant firms, and a minority of firms escaped from sectors traditionally dominated by migrant firms. Yet substantial continuity was also evident, including exclusion from the mainstream on ethnic lines and relations with workers characterized by informality. Migrant business is evolving but it retains many of its features; this pattern can be explained by combining the mixed embeddedness theory of the enterprise with labour process analysis.