Helping Refugees Become Entrepreneurs
Asylum application process can take years to complete which can inevitably be very frustrating for refugees. Enter, Startup Refugees, a network that want to harness the intellectual capital of refugees, combined with the Finnish entrepreneurship spirit to obtain an increase in Finland’s economy.
It started when Finnish entrepreneurs Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff made this idea public back in the fall of 2015. They had 250 companies and the Finnish Ministry of the Interior, Immigration, Employment and Economic Development Offices interested in the program within a week. Through this extensive network, and cooperation between the authorities they were able to run a pilot program that would improve the asylum seekers’ access to employment and entrepreneurship. Their initial idea was to make the refugee reception centers active and vibrant, by letting asylum seekers run it themselves where possible. They have now helped set up micro-businesses within the reception centers, such as restaurants, laundry and barber shops, carpet weaving mill (!) etc.
In the next phase, they plan to use their grant, mentorship, and business incubator programs to help refugees launch businesses in the outside world. Can we apply this model to help the underprivileged within our communities become successful entrepreneurs?
Spotted by: Bikram Palikhey