Cambodian returnees’ entrepreneurial ventures: the opportunities and constraints of mixed embeddedness
Purpose - The aim is to identify the potential for establishing successful businesses operations or institutions emanating from returnees' mixed embeddedness in post-conflict Cambodia. Design/methodology/approach - This explorative study of the two largest groups of returnees, the Cambodian French and the Cambodian Americans, compares these two categories through a review of literature on Cambodians in the USA and France and primary fieldwork data obtained through open interviews with Cambodian returnees in Cambodia. Findings - Cambodian French and Cambodian American returnees show different entrepreneurial dispositions and hence play different roles in the Cambodian economy. While the all-embracing welfare system in France incapacitated both the self-sufficiency and community building among Cambodian diaspora, the market-driven model of social services in the USA induced the Cambodian diaspora with a commercial orientation. While both categories initiate institutional and business ventures, their contribution to social change in Cambodia is modest. Among the returnee entrepreneurs, the Chinese Cambodians seem to be most successful in their business ventures irrespective of their diasporic background. Originality/value - The emerging scholarly interest in "immigrant transnationalism" tends to focus in particular on identity issues. Contrastingly, this article focuses on economic aspects of "immigrant transnationalism" in terms of its "mixed embeddedness" in both home and host country economies.
Journal of Enterprising Communities. People and Places in the Global Economy