EXPRESS Europe -Webinar (LTTA) on Support to Migrant Entrepreneurship
EXPRESS Europe is an initiative promoting exchange of best practices allowing for the integration of young migrants through (self-)entrepreneurship.
During a webinar (LTTA) organized on 8 and 9 September 2021 by REVES aisbl EXPRESS partners and their local networks (local authorities, social economy, entrepreneurship support organisations, civil society and academics from 6 EU Member States) deepened their exchange on key elements for successful support services dedicated to migrants/refugees willing to become entrepreneurs.
In this framework participants were given the possibility to:
– learn and discuss more in depth about local/national and European practices;
– take a specific insight into practices from Belgium;
– receive inputs from EU-level experts;
– encounter EU policy-makers to better situate their own actions at local level in a European policy perspective;
– jointly work on and define a model facilitating the creation and/or strengthening of local networks of actors supporting the integration of migrants/refugees through (self-)entrepreneurship.
Giuseppe Guerini, President of CECOP-CICOPA and rapporteur of the European Economic and Social Committee on “Social Economy Enterprises as a driver for migrant integration” opened the seminar with a keynote contribution. He highlighted the important contribution, in Europe, of social economy and civil society in promoting the integration of persons with a migration background. Referring in particular to the current crisis in Afghanistan Guerini urged EU policy-makers and national governments to overcome often contradictory behaviour, find common European approaches, develop a true welcoming culture and therewith the humanitarian face of the European Union.
Virtual study visits took participants to
- the association Le Monde des Possibles in Liège which launched and accompanies, amongst others, Univerbal, a unique project developing collective entrepreneurship of migrants in the field of social interpretation;
- Microstart, a cooperative offering support to (migrant) entrepreneurs not only through specific financial instruments, but also tailored coaching and mentoring, including through profiles such as that of a Community Officer.
In breakout sessions on both days participants had the occasion to deepen discussions on policies, instruments and methods to support migrant entrepreneurship. Starting with the presentation of a good practice case identified by EXPRESS partners, they discussed opportunities and challenges linked to key themes such as competence assessment, self-entrepreneurship, mentoring, information/awareness-raising, networking and support to financing. Best practice examples presented included the competence assessment practices of Demetra Formazione (IT), the French ACME programme developed by Grdr Migration-Citizenship-Development, Hotel Giardino created by K-Pax Cooperative (IT), the Berlin Newcomer StartUp Award (DE) presented by SINGA, the Investor Pitch Event organised by Forward Incubator (NL) or the micro-credit organization Mikrofonden (SE).
Ursula Hoenich, European Commission, Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, provided participants with more detailed information on current EU integration policies, in particular with regard to the European Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027, related funding measures and results of ongoing/past projects on migrant entrepreneurship supported in the framework of programmes such as AMIF.
A final work session at the end of the seminar gave participants the opportunity to reflect on strengths and weaknesses of their own local eco-systems and networks, possibilities to improve existing cooperation as well as on related capacity-building needs and initiatives in the framework also of transnational exchange.
The full report of the event will be published shortly on the EXPRESS website: http://expresseurope.eu/