Innovation Policies for the Inclusion of Minorities

Several countries have implemented innovation policy programmes to promote the participation of minority groups in research, entrepreneurship and innovation activities. This page presents a range of relevant examples. Additional interesting facts and figures can be found here.

Please click on the images to find the full policy cases.

Initiative for start-ups and business transfer – Germany (Federal State of Baden-Württemberg)


Objective: Foster immigrants’ entrepreneurship and their business success.

Target: Immigrant population (actual and potential entrepreneurs).

Instrument: Public awareness campaigns, including through information web pages and seminars; financial support for training and counselling initiatives for immigrant entrepreneurs provided by business chambers and other organisations.

Support programmes for companies from the ultra-Orthodox community and from minority communities– Israel



Objective: Encourage and support entrepreneurship by the ultra-Orthodox community and the Arab minorities.

Target: Minority groups (ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs and Arab entrepreneurs – including Druze, Bedouin and Circassians).

Instrument: Grants covering 85% of the approved budget, up to NIS 2 million (EUR 478 000), notably for start-ups’ product development.

Programme to support the research activities of female researchers – Japan


Objective: Increase the number of women in leading positions in research, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Target: Women researchers.

Instrument: Funds to research organisations to develop and implement measures aimed at improving the research environment for women researchers; awareness-raising activities in high schools and colleges to encourage women to take up careers in STEM disciplines.

Maori Innovation Fund (Te Pūnaha Hiringa) – New Zealand


Objective: Help Maori collectives to increase their skills, knowledge and networks so they can realise the economic potential of their assets.

Target: Maori collectives.

Instrument: Financial support to contract a commercial advisor to provide professional business advice and mentoring; training in governance, management, strategic planning and other business skills

Kiút programme – Hungary


Objective: Enable poor people to establish their own business, with the objective of integrating them in local production systems.

Target: People around or below official poverty line, with a specific focus on the Roma minority, people living in lagging regions and women.

Instrument: Micro-loans and non-financial support (e.g. administrative help, training on financial and business issues).

Did you know...?

In many OECD countries, entrepreneurship is slightly higher among immigrants than natives. Overall, businesses created by immigrants  generate substantial economic activity and employment. For example, in the United States, immigrants start 28% of all new businesses in the country. They are also twice as likely to file a patent, and employ one out of every ten employees (Small Business Administration, 2016).

Ethnic minority and immigrant entrepreneurs, however, often face additional barriers to those already faced by many start-ups and SMEs; that may explain why the survival rates of immigrant businesses tend to be lower than those of their native counterparts (OECD, 2010). For instance, data for Germany show that while around 30% of native start-ups close three years after their establishment, the share rises to 39% for start-ups created by migrants (Metzger, 2016).

Many of the barriers faced by immigrant entrepreneurs are directly related to skill levels, particularly entrepreneurship skills. Research in Ireland found that entrepreneurs from ethnic minority groups have difficulties in building business networks and have low levels of management skills (Cooney and Flynn, 2008). Poor language skills and belonging to a racial or ethnic minority may be additional constraints to obtaining capital in traditional credit markets (Oliveira and Rath, 2008).

Regulatory impediments on market entry and contract enforcement can also be particularly burdensome for immigrants (OECD, 2010).



Cooney, T. and A. Flynn (2008), Mapping Ethnic Entrepreneurship in Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, Dublin.

OECD (2010), “Entrepreneurship and Migrants”, Report by the OECD Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, OECD.

Oliveira, R.C. and J. Rath, (eds.) (2008), “Immigrant Entrepreneurship”, Migrações Journal, Special Issue, No. 3, ACIDI, Lisbon, October.

Small Business Administration (2016), “Made It in America”, 15 November 2016).