Ethnic Minority Enterprise in its Urban Context: South Asian Restuarants in Birmingham


The embeddedness of ethnic minority business activity is widely accepted, as researchers increasingly eschew ethno‐culturalist explanations of the phenomenon. However, despite the importance of urban processes, studies of ethnic minority enterprise are often ‘spaceless’. This article uses Rekers and van Kempen’s urban spatial framework to assess the experiences of South Asian owners in Birmingham’s restaurant industry. One taken‐for‐granted but evidently important element to which this article draws attention is location, which emerges as one of the key points of differentiation within the ethnic business community. Location is seen to influence individual access to market potential, an unevenly distributed resource largely shaped by local social geography. At the same time, entry into more lucrative market niches is heavily dependent on the possession of other resources such as capital, information and in some instances management skills.