Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Alexander B. Averin


entrepreneur, immigrant, Nepali, Bhutanese, success, failure


Business | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) began the process of resettling Bhutanese refugees in U.S. cities in 2008 after many had spent up to 17 years in refugee camps in Nepal. At that time, Pittsburgh became home to 1,000 of these refugees and more than a decade later, their community has grown to an estimated 7,000-8,000 with many entrepreneurs among them (BCAP, 2021). The study included six cases of Nepali Bhutanese entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area which were compared to better grasp the operational links between decision making and business success or failure while considering how embeddedness in the ethnic community impacted the entrepreneur. The participants in this study were all first-generation entrepreneurs from the Nepali Bhutanese community who had established residency for at least two years or the spouse, employees, partners, or customers associated with the business. Eighteen virtual interviews were conducted and recorded with the participants on Microsoft Teams from January-April 2021. In all of the successful business cases, the entrepreneurs were exploiting an unmet need in their community, providing excellent customer service, and marketing the business using social media. Only one case from the study experienced business failure, which was attributed to not being able to provide the lowest rates to the immigrant population that comprised the majority of his customer base. The theories discovered in the findings included exploitation of social capital, understanding concentrated disadvantage theory, and attempting to break out into mainstream markets.