How do I create
my ethnic business?


Arnaud Segla
How do I create
my ethnic business?
ISBN KDP: 9781790724161

Legal deposit
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 2017 Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, 2017

Book and cover design: ASSOUKA
Cover illustration: © Uber Images
Translation: ldoron –


Sommaire 3
Introduction 7
Before we begin 9
Conclusion 35
This series of handbooks introduces us to ethnic entrepreneurship, lays its foundation, and guides us to the crucial stage of market positioning with a major competitive advantage. It answers the following questions:
Why an ethnic business? Why choose to practice in ethnic and capitalize on this market without living it in marginalization in its Definition, role, vision, and usefulness?
How to create and position yourself? How to prepare to position yourself on the right foot with your ethnic business?
What are the attributes and tools of ethnic entrepreneurship? What are the parameters and stakes of an ethnic project?
This handbook serves to provide an initiation to the ethnic project.
“Each Human is
important to the eyes of God.”


Ethnic entrepreneurship is a growing phenomenon along with that of economic migration. The immigrant workforce transitioning toward entrepreneurship in order to adapt to its new community should ideally understand the basics of the business world. The objectives here are to:

• Understand ethnic entrepreneurship.

• Structure your project on the right foot to quickly take its place in the market.

• Acquire a simple but effective approach to structuring the project in 40 hours.

• Acquire the tools to start your business with speed and assurance and few resources.

• Know how to search for relevant resources to develop your project.

Thus, the key concepts to learn are ethnic entrepreneurship, the 5 essential steps, the process of reflection in 40 hours, and the project plan. At the core, we will need to answer the following question: What are the challenges of a performing ethnic business?

Before we begin

What are the elements that come to mind when we speak of ethnic and informal?

To answer this question, it is necessary to go through the following essential elements which will form the guiding principle of our presentation:

• What is an ethnic enterprise: its definition, role, vision and use?

• The challenges of an ethnic project and how to manage them successfully.

• The necessary research for your project.

• Learn how to best position yourself.

• Learn how to take inventory of your financial and logistical needs to start the project.

• A simple but effective proposal to start your project in 40 hours.

• Your project plan including your strategy, positioning, marketing plan, and revenue objectives.

• Create internal tools to manage your business.

• Create external promotional tools for your business.

• Test your ideas.

• How to generate interest in your community and social network to locate financial and strategic support.


My definitions:

2014: « Ethnic entrepreneurship is the whole of economic projects and initiatives undertaken by not yet integrated minority community members of a country welcoming migration. »

2015: « Ethnic entrepreneurship concerns business projects developed by new immigrants. It equally concerns resident entrepreneurs who enrich the local supply with products and services from their culture.»

2016: « An ethnic group = a common identity. Countries that have fostered strong peoples have generally abandoned the notion of ethnicity in their constitutions. In fact, the term “ethnic entrepreneurship” should not only apply to the phenomenon of an immigrant raised in a welcoming country but also to the local entrepreneurship in countries where ethnicity is preserved. The socio-political and cultural challenges often involve, in these, the same issues of economic integration for ethnic communities comprising the middle and popular classes versus the privileged minorities. This includes the countries of the south (Third World), namely Africa and its diversity. In this context, this entrepreneurship must acquire, in turn, its respectability from its competitiveness, sustainability of its performance and the quality of its output. »

There are many criteria which reveal if one belongs within the ethnic entrepreneurship framework.

It’s a simple matter of definition which should not distract you from the following essential elements which characterize you the most:

• You sell a product or service destined for a public ethnic group or held by an ethnic.

• You belong to or use members of an ethnic group.

• The role of the informal is very important in managing your business.

• You evolve in a critical financial environment with little access to resources for your social class.

Whatever the case may be, you are an entrepreneur who wants to create value and wealth with your project regardless of the label given to you.

The adjective “ethnic” reflects on the policies that will be applied to you and on the dynamics of this economic sector and not on how you manage.


There are two main reasons for the creation of an ethnic business:

• The answer to the problem of social integration through access to a source of income (usually the job market).

• The desire to offer products from our community to the local market (to locals or diasporas).

The major issues are:

• Financial independence and adequacy of income for economic operators and the impact on unemployment and job insecurity.

• An additional source of income for the state (taxes) from the dynamism of this sector when commercial operation is lawful.

• The power of decision of immigrant social strata within the host society.

• The social stability of countries hosting migratory flows and economic equity.


This step consists of collecting, developing and defining the operation of elements which will constitute the business. We lay out in a coherent fashion the physical parts of the project and the philosophy which will guide them.

This step consists of taking the measures to orient yourself toward a strategic direction or a sector of the market in which your business will operate. This is a crucial step since future actions and business operations will need to align with what is officially declared.

This step will entail getting your service or product known while using special attention to communication of the project and its promoter : profile, message, mission, cause and statement.

This is the guarantee to the sustainability of the business. There are many strategies that may be used depending on the environment of the project. We favour adaptability and limiting the importance of planning.

Attitude is the link between the other four aspects. It’s a cross-sectional step which stresses the importance of the interior disposition used to develop the business and the leadership behaviour of the promoter.


The Definition and Idea
The creative process in 40 hours begins with one step so do not hesitate and waste time. This is the heart of the entire Method. It is to know yourself and to reconcile this with the personal project that we cherish. Our approach is promoting, among others, the model: A Man, a project, a philosophy.

The idea is nothing but the result of the definition; once we know who we are, we know what we want to do on Earth. The idea fuses these two concerns in a project that will follow a certain philosophy.

The Market and Positioning
The market is virtual or real space where exchanges take place. This implies that we use a space for sales (shop, e-commerce sites, etc.), where we wish to capture financial flows (potential revenue by clients in our space for sales) with a trading capacity corresponding to our efforts applied to this space to attain our profit objectives.

Once our market is defined, we declare, in a sentence which commits us and which we share with our stakeholders, the action we will undertake on the market to develop the project according to the basic and first elements of our structure.

Logistics and Implementation
Logistics (resources) is an important part of strategy. It is therefore important to know your needs and to take inventory of what you already have in order to find what you need and be ready to execute at the appropriate time. You can solicit members of your entourage who would like to invest by helping. Be convincing in your capacity to manage and, above all, reimburse money lent to you even if it’s from somebody close to you. Don’t hesitate to start by working in order to save the necessary funds for your project instead of accumulating debt from the start.

Once the logistical needs are satisfied in part or in major part, it’s necessary to start planning the deployment of their implementation by following a logical sequence (without a precise timetable) but nevertheless determining an objective or a launch date. The implementation progress should be executed logically by starting by the attained objective and by asking ourselves « to reach this goal, what should I have done?»

Promotion and Launch
Before the official launch and if the law permits it, you can operate your activities in an informal manner in order to make operational adjustments and conduct tests. This is also your opportunity to start promoting your project as part of the launch. It’s possible to announce the project and capitalize on this opportunity to promote what you already sell or what you will be selling. You will no doubt need to define the messages you wish to share with your clientele.

The launch is a great occasion to make some noise about your project. Don’t miss it. Dedicate a budget amount and invite everyone near or far who would potentially become a client or a promoter for your products. You can still conduct tests after this launch.

The Handbook
The vade mecum brings together some tips to help your business go far. Generally, you should pay careful attention to some essential elements of our model:

• Development by projects and not by exercises.

• Monitoring of operations for creation of a knowledge base.

• Ongoing research on quality of our product or service.

• Information monitoring.

• Quality of relationship with clients.

• Ambition and desire to develop and last.

• Creativity and innovation to distinguish our company from others.

Our online library has numerous works which go further in their informal approach in the management of an ethnic business.

It is time to declare yourself to the authorities in order to participate in the economy and further the ethnic sector in the welcoming society.


The project plan is a presentation document outlining pertinent information regarding the company. It is used with more flexibility and less standardized than a business plan. Generally, the technical aspects are less driven given the relative simplicity of the projects outlined in the document. Its structure is therefore left to the discretion of the editor ; however, the following parts are deemed necessary for the appreciation of an ethnic or informal project:

I.Brief Introduction
This is the equivalent of the executive summary of a business plan and can therefore be called by the same term. However, in the case of the informal, it consists of qualitative information regarding the type of project in question rather than pure financial analysis information. What we’re looking for is the vision of the executor, his/her capacity to manage (efforts), and his/her motivation (pride) to succeed.

II. Mission and Project Summary
Like any project, we define the its mission as the goal pursued by the promoter. Then, in a one-page profile, the key elements of the project are presented, ie. Its definition, idea, positioning, expected income, and logistical needs (if the plan is to fulfill them).

In this regard, a project plan should ideally be used to create partnerships and opportunities (more useful in the long term) than to search for sources of short-term credit for launch. Our philosophy is to emphasize self-financing or financing through an involved stakeholder.

III. Observation and Study of a Simple Market
The observation and study of a simple market should first permit for the segmentation of the market, and then to understand the profile of the target clientele, to define the context and challenges of the project, and lastly to present the offered services.

IV. Strategy
The strategy is also an important aspect of the project plan, but its explanation is found in another document which notably contains the marketing policy and plan of action which will be undertaken. This document is reserved for close stakeholders. It simply presents the steps or the list of phases of our strategy in the form of a strategic backlog, which is to imply there’s no specific timetable.

V. Financial Analysis
The financial analysis is important for analysts but it remains succinct. We have chosen to talk about ‘typical year’ since the operations are those of a project mode, and not an exercise mode. If the project acquisition period for attaining objectives is longer than one year, we must adapt the presentation to reflect the expected income for the period. We then provide a financial statement for the typical period having previously defined revenue, costs, and budget as in any preparation of a financial statement.

The annex allows for the addition of pertinent information allowing for a greater understanding of the project: team profile, history, testimonials, etc.


An ethnic business’ management tools are the same, by trade, as those of a classic business. As such, we need an accountant, a lawyer, and suppliers as support, but also an internal IT solution, and software for billing and managing diverse documentation.

Here we would like to focus on specifics in the form of components essential for good management. These are the 4 E’s of the ethnic business mix:

• Employment: It’s the primary sourse of revenue of the business, which, even if it doesn’t correspond to our profile, permits us to express our ethnic entreprise.

• E-Commerce: It’s a complementary source of revenue which supports the ethnic structure and allows us to create sales, even when we sleep.

• Entreprise: It’s the physical structure which we commit to, at first, on a part-time basis, and in which we transfer more and more hours as the global structure approaches consolidation and expansion. Employment is always a necessity, even if it’s humble at times.

• Expertise (or personal branding) : This is the profile, essentially virtual, developped in the sales space and the community serving as intermediary in the promotion.


Promotion is one aspect of Marketing which consists essentially in communication campaigns relating to products and services or on the company and its leader.

The overall approach consists of 5 steps:

• Create and promote a profile in the sales space.

• Pass the message on the basis of credibility or popularity of the virtual profile.

• Generate income from the Message (content or services fees) of the company’s mission.

• Promote the cause linked to the mission and wait for membership.

• Transfer the responsibilities of the operations and its promotion: new profile, mission… in the same trajectory.

We must define the aspects of the profile to highlight its messages for the community in order to obtain support and the purchase of the goods or services.

The tools used are generally online and traditional media capable of reaching our target clientele in an effective manner. This is an important dimension for the development of the project. The ideal model is a viral dissemination of information to the target public to create a community around the project and to execute a simple Marketing for the preparation for the sale of the products or services via these community links.


Don’t wait until your absolutely ready to launch your project. Don’t hesitate to start small, even in an information manner, which is to say with little means to gain experience and make an impact on the market. It may take a certain time before you can have the ideal configuration to realize the full potential of the company, but by starting small with those of your entourage, you are able to test your initial intuitions regarding your project.

The test may consist of free or deeply discounted products or services which will enable you conduct your test and gain self-confidence. Raise your rates to the desired price as business increases. Once over, you should be able to offer your services or products at the catalog or market price without batting an eyelid.

Give yourself an official launch date for your activities and before this date, practice your craft in an informal manner or on a part-time basis (para-entrepreneurship), if possible.


Entrepreneurship is a full-time job which is an addition to your expertise or body of work to which your belong.

It is therefore important to train yourself not only to excel in your expertise but also to develop your entrepreneurial skills.

It’s as if you have two legs of equal length and flexibility.

It is essential to master management methods, including Marketing, sales, client service, strategy, management of human resources, etc., all while remaining an expert in your domain.

Even if you choose to sub-contract certain management tasks, you need a minimum of knowledge to understand and follow the work of your collaborators and sub-contractors.

A project needs a minimum of support to develop properly. This support is what we call the ‘community’.

Ideally, this community should be committed to the project in a certain manner, as regular clients (source of income) or market ambassadors (conveyers of information).

It’s generally through these virtual channels that the leader of the company can promote his/her project while using traditional media as levers.

Community awareness to what we’re doing allows us to, in one way, maintain enthusiasm around the activities of the company, and to remain committed to it with regards to the usefulness we want to provide it in a durable way to allow it to overcome a challenge or problematic situation. For example:

« The Wiseman Council provides a method of informal management (utility) as part of an alternative economic model which seeks ethnic and informal entrepreneurs (community) to invite them to perform better with regards to Time (Wealth), and to find ways to increase Quality in their products and services for a better impact in the market (Frequentation).»


The creation of an ethnic business responds to the challenge of socio-economic integration in countries that host migration. This handbook has given us the opportunity to become familiar with an alternative method for starting a business by focusing on strategic thinking in the market, the company and the stakeholders, as opposed to simply writing a financial research paper. It is for each player to work to acquire a sufficient level of income for life while having performance at heart vis-à-vis the Time through: price, quality and Attitude. These are, in my opinion, three major criteria for development of intercultural business projects.

Photo: Awa Lake Diop

Arnaud Segla M. Sc., M. Sc. Admin., CAPM. Consultant, Manager and coach in ethnic, informal and corporate entrepreneurship. I organize and animate learning activities and accompany many entrepreneurs in the attaining of the objectives of their business project.

Since 2009 I offer consulting services for ethnic and informal entrepreneurship projects within the economic and identity development for migrant workforces. I associated myself with every helping stakeholder to realize my vision with the business The Wisemen Council.


“Making informal economy a quality alternative to the liberal system.”



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