Small Grant Scheme on Pandemics, Cities, Regions & Industry: Ethnic Food Entrepreneurship and Migrant Inclusion in the UK: the Impact of the Pandemic
Ethnic food businesses are often the first point of interaction of all migrants with their local communities, and thus capture in numerous subtle ways the cultural intersections between the local and the foreign. They are a novel and unique site for understanding migrant inclusion.
Beyond migration, however, ethnic food shops are essential businesses in the high street and are indicative of the receptive health of a community, as well as of the economic recovery capacity of the region.
This project aims to explore comparatively the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on small food businesses run by migrants in the UK (across the South, North and Greater London) in order to take account of regional differences and gain broader insights into local policy gaps, business environments and community inclusion.
The purpose of the project is threefold:
- To identify ethnic food entrepreneurs’ pandemic-adaptation strategies.
- To identify policy gaps in the support local authorities provide for ethnic food entrepreneurs while they navigate the post-Covid-19 challenges.
- To understand how ethnic food businesses (can) contribute to community inclusion, given that migrant populations (and especially women migrants), as well as BME groups (often second and third-generation migrants) have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of food security, labour market inclusion, and marginalisation in their communities.
In collaboration with migrant organisations, local authorities and local chambers of commerce, the project will conduct interviews and focus groups (remotely and in person, public health permitting) with migrant food entrepreneurs and their employees, and will put stakeholders together in a policy lab to address gaps and co-create solutions to identified problems.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Regional Studies Association’s vibrant community of experts! I am looking forward to engaging in dialogue with fellow researchers, and to communicating my research findings to a wider audience. This grant will allow me to extend my network and build up my project comparatively.”