This paper makes the case for using purchasing power to promote the economic integration of immigrants. In the first section, it is argues that despite the different goals of procurement professionals and human rights proponents, they share values of equal treatment and anti-discrimination. This offers opportunities for fruitful dialogue and cooperation. The second section turns to diversity and the promotion of entrepreneurship. It describes the two-pronged approach of supporting immigrant entrepreneurs to start and grow their business while also engaging them as business partners. In this way, their incorporation into the mainstream economy is promoted. It also helps to avoid that they become trapped in a non-profitable niche industry or ghettoised by serving only their community. The third section expands on the two preceding sections and describes how quality management standards can be developed and used. Many of the activities involved to promote integration and entrepreneurship are taking place at the local level.
The paper is a reflection on the work undertaken in the Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration project (also known as DELI). This project focuses on the inclusion of persons with an immigrant background in the local economy with an emphasis on immigrant entrepreneurship. It is led by the Council of Europe together with the Migration Policy Group, in cooperation with ten European Cities. It received financial support from the European Commission . The ten cities are: Bucharest (Romania), Cartagena (Spain), Dublin (Ireland), Gexto (Spain), Lewisham (a borough of London), Lisbon (Portugal), Munich (Germany), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Vienna (Austria).
Robust policies and the use of quality management standards for their implementation have the potential to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of socially responsible public and private sector procurement. Local initiatives may increase the social return on investment of municipalities and corporations and enhance the impact of procurement on the socio-economic integration of immigrants. Obstacles for entrepreneurs will be steadily removed and, with their growing success, specific measures for immigrant entrepreneurs will become less necessary. Over time, they will be seen as entrepreneurs and no longer as immigrant entrepreneurs. They will become part of the mainstream economy and contribute to the prosperity and well-being of the society.
This paper is a revised version of the paper that was presented and distributed at a symposium on human rights in the city, organised by the city of Vienna and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute (Vienna, December 2014). This version benefited greatly from the discussions at the symposium. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the project partners.