According to a finding by several members of Italian Catholic aid groups, the number of immigrant entrepreneurs is rapidly growing in Italy and making a significant contribution to the country’s growth and international development. Data from a dossier by Caritas-Migrantes cites that the number of immigrants who own a company is currently set at 165,000, and quickly rising.

While the number of immigrant-owned firms has tripled since 2003 and growing at a rate of around 20,000 per year, the number of Italian owned firms is on the decline. Using data from the Bank of Italy, Caritas-Migrantes coordinator Antonio Riccio said immigrants now contribute 9.2 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product and the remittances they send back to their countries reached 6 billion euros in 2007. Immigrant owned firms generate about 500,000 jobs – a major figure in the current economic recession. Immigrant-owned firms generate employment for a total 500,000 people, a significant figure in the current economic recession, where joblessness is predicted to reach 8.2 percent this year.

Between 2003 and 2008, the number of companies owned by Romanian immigrants increased the most (61.2 percent), followed by Albanians (48.5 percent), Tunisians and Bangladeshis (38.5 and 38.0 percent respectively), Egyptians (32.2 percent) and Moroccans (27.4 percent). The great majority of Moroccan entrepreneurs in Italy own trading companies, while Romanians and Albanians own building firms, and Chinese own manufacturing and trading businesses, according to the report.

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