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Capturing a Niche

Capturing a Niche

The West African Enclave Economy

Chapter:
(p.115) 3 Capturing a Niche
Source:
African & American
Author(s):
Marilyn HalterViolet Showers Johnson
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814760581.003.0004

This chapter examines the rise of a West African enclave economy in America. In particular, it considers how entrepreneurship and self-employment became the most conspicuous marker of the West African diaspora in America. It explores how some of the new West African entrepreneurs moved from work in the wage economy to start and manage their own business ventures in order to capture opportunities that distinctly favored their West African backgrounds and American experiences. It also discusses the economic culture within which the West African immigrants function as entrepreneurs and its importance for the specific detour opportunity areas in which they have established their businesses, especially restaurants and clubs, hair braiding, health care staffing and pharmacy, grocery stores or African supermarkets, and fashion production and merchandising. Finally, the chapter explores some of the reasons for the weakening or demise of West African businesses in America.

Keywords:   enclave economy, entrepreneurship, self-employment, West African diaspora, West African entrepreneurs, business, West African immigrants, restaurants, hair braiding, fashion

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