The Italian Market as an Incubator
The Italian Market is the oldest outdoor market in the US. In the late 1800s, immigrant communities settled here to sell fresh fruits and vegetables out of handcarts. That tradition continues to this day. This study shows how the market functions as a business "incubator" for immigrant businesses. Much like start-up incubators for technology firms, the market provides low cost entry, existing social networks, shared resources, opportunities to learn on the job and make mistakes, and a wide range of productive types of "inefficiency". On the other hand, there are few opportunities for growth for these firms beyond the "incubation" stage. Few immigrant business owners expect to grow their businesses beyond basic subsistence and to pursue the "American Dream". Rather immigrant business owners envision "growth" in terms of better opportunities for their children, through education which will enable them to access to professional careers away from small business.