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Former Graduate Student

Nelson's MA research focused on the experiences of immigrant entrepreneurs in the City of St. John’s, along with the factors that act as barriers and opportunities to the success of immigrant entrepreneurship, integration, and retention.


Though there is extensive research investigating the

high rates of immigrant entrepreneurs in large cities, this is not the case for small- and medium-sized cities, St. John's specifically. With several different government policies designed to support immigration and immigrant entrepreneurs, it is necessary to understand how successful

these policies and approaches are. Asking immigrant entrepreneurs about their personal experiences with government policies and community resources will provide insight to what is working and what changes could be made to improve these policies.


This project is useful for the provincial and federal government, the city of St. John's, associations that work with immigrants in St. John's such as the Local Immigration Partnership and Refugee Immigrant Advisory Council, and immigrant entrepreneurs. It is hypothesized that this research will show reoccurring and significant barriers acting in the form of a lack of communication and understanding of

government programs and city resources. Adequate employment is seen as a “silver bullet” in the success of cities' economies.


Since immigrants have high rates of entrepreneurship, it is important to address the gap in literature surrounding immigrant entrepreneurship in small- and medium-sized cities, which will then assist current and future immigrant entrepreneurs in St. John's. The city of St. John's will rely on immigrant entrepreneurship to stimulate the city's economy; therefore, this research will be beneficial academically, socially, and economically.

Nelson graduated in 2019 and is now a PhD student at the  Balsillie School of International Affairs (UWaterloo and Laurier University)

Supervised by Dr. Yolande Pottie-Sherman.

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