Open for business

By Daniel Assaf

‘Australia – the land of opportunity’. This is how most migrants envisage their new homeland to be while making the long journey to this mysterious and faraway place. When they finally arrive; wide-eyed, anxious and fueled by a burning desire to make good on the dream of a ‘better-life’ they had longed for; they quickly get to work making it happen.

Australia’s business landscape is a colourful mosaic of cultures; 30% of small business owners are born overseas.

When you take into account the second and third generations, just over 62% of all SMEs are owned and operated by Australians that identify themselves as having non-Australian ancestry. These businesses are fuelling the domestic economy and research suggests that they have a survival rate 6.5 times higher than their mainstream counterparts.

Starting a business is always a challenge – finding a niche and up-front capital, creating a brand, building customers, paying bills. On top of all this, many migrants start behind the eight ball with the added challenges of English not being their first language and not having a solid understanding of domestic trade regulations and local customs.

However, as Ethnic Business Awards founder Joseph Assaf says, in most cases, the migrant struggle often leads to success. “It’s the ambition, the single minded determination, the dream,” he says. “Even refugees who come with an empty suitcase, come full of dreams. They work hard. They start with nothing, sometimes in a garage, but all the members of the family work together.”

Migrants have a unique advantage of being able to view things with a different perspective – most see their background as an opportunity rather than a challenge. Their approach to business is built on a philosophy of ‘no pain, no gain’. The dream is bigger than the risk of failure, the vision clearer than the very real obstacles. For those that don’t have any money, they can afford to fail, and they sometimes do; however, they never lose sight of their goal – a better future for themselves and their family.

So why do so many of these migrants with an entrepreneurial spirit choose Australia as their ‘passport to success’?

After New Zealand, the World Bank, ranks Australia second globally for ease of starting a business.

Our Immigration Department actively encourages business owners from around the world to set up shop on our shores.

And the biggest winner in the overall scheme of things? Australia itself. Apart from driving employment across all major sectors and injecting substantial investments into the domestic economy – these entrepreneurs become our best global ambassadors and our bridge to the world.

Enjoy some amazing and inspirational migrant success stories at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top