Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Syrian Refugee Entrepreneurship in Turkey: Integration and the Use of Immigrant Capital in the Informal Economy

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Abstract:  This study focuses on small-scale entrepreneurship of Syrian refugees in Turkey. It analyses in a Bourdieusian way how they utilize cultural, social, economic and symbolic capital, and reveals their start-up and sustainability strategies. It is based on 24 in-depth interviews with Syrian small entrepreneurs who started up new businesses after 2011, in Istanbul, Gaziantep, and Hatay. It describes the entrepreneurial opportunity structure and the significance of the informal economy and analyses Syrians’ utilization of various forms of capital in small entrepreneurship and relations to integration. The main finding indicates that the informal economy—as the main site of such entrepreneurship—eases the start-up process but limits on-going business and integration.

Keywords:  entrepreneurship; informal economy; integration; refugees; social capital; Syrian refugees; Turkey



© Reyhan Atasü-Topcuoğlu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.