With the support of Visa Foundation, SINGA, a global organization empowering people with refugee and migrant backgrounds (“newcomers”) through social and entrepreneurial connections, is strengthening the migration-led innovation in Europe through the launch of a European ecosystem called StartIN. SINGA is partnering with three major organizations specialized in inclusive entrepreneurship: TERN, Odyssea, and Delitelabs to boost incubation programs in 12 cities across Europe. Through incubation, ideation labs, and mentorship, this StartIN ecosystem aims to support newcomer entrepreneurs—especially women entrepreneurs, encourage the development of inclusive economies, and provide forward-thinking narratives in support of inclusion. 

Scaling Newcomer Entrepreneurship in Europe: A Major Accelerator for Inclusion  

Among the 25.3 million businesses in Europe, 21% were created by immigrants, including 1.7 million founders who are non-EU citizens*. So many more could realize their potential if efforts are made to lift systemic barriers and provide tailor-made support. SINGA, which is already present in France, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, is partnering with TERN (UK), Delitelabs (Netherlands), and Odyssea (Greece) to reinforce social cohesion across Europe by generating innovation from migration. This collaboration will enable us to collectively elevate more than 600 newcomer entrepreneurs in 2022, in 7 countries and 12 cities : London, Barcelona, Geneva, Zurich, Berlin, Stuttgart, Paris, Nantes, Lyon, Lille, Amsterdam and Athens. 

As Graham Macmillan, President of Visa Foundation, shares: “We are proud to support SINGA and its work to build an ecosystem designed to leverage the potential of underrepresented migrant and refugee populations, especially women entrepreneurs and businesses.”    

Providing Custom Support for Newcomer Entrepreneurs  

Over the last decade, new refugee entrepreneurship initiatives have emerged in Europe, delivering tailored business support with the backing of foundations such as FAIRE or large corporate foundations such as The Human Safety Net, Generali’s initiative for the communities. Despite significant achievements, these relatively new social enterprises still need more dedicated resources to scale direct social impact across Europe. As Fatemeh Jailani, COO of SINGA Global, states: “SINGA was founded in Europe. It is only natural that we reinforce our presence in a European ecosystem that will need to cope with an increase in migration in the coming years. Working with trusted partners like Visa Foundation and The Human Safety Net allows us to develop impact on a topic that is crucial for Europe, and its stability.”  

The Paris-based SINGA Global team will provide stewardship to the ecosystem and support Chapters with the resources needed to reinforce their operational capacity to better respond to the specific needs of newcomers, and scale their support to entrepreneurs from the ideation and incubation phase (conceptualizing and developing, registering businesses, getting their first customers, generating income, and reaching proof of concept) to the acceleration phase (scaling products or services, and accessing investment opportunities).  

As Charlie Fraser, Founder of TERN, shares: “We believe that recognizing and supporting the entrepreneurial talents of newcomers is essential to building more inclusive societies. Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to ensure that this talent becomes a permanent part of Europe’s business ecosystem.” 

Hanna Wieten, Delitelabs’s Managing Director, concludes: “The importance of joining forces to increase the impact is one of the key elements we see in the StartIn Ecosystem. European collaboration is part of our DNA, we feel this is the right way to face the future challenges and opportunities.”  

Boosting Women-Led Entrepreneurial Projects  

With more than half of the incubated projects led by women, SINGA aims to create an ecosystem that also focuses on women business owners and their respective challenges in starting or running a business: this includes the ability to establish confidence, secure funding, overcome biases and access support. Only 8% of European investment goes to female founders, and less than 10% of staff in public and private funds are women. By creating an ecosystem that is also focused on the needs of female entrepreneurs via tailor-made programs, the StartIN ecosystem hopes to boost the number of women applicants and create an exemplary ecosystem that reveals the possibility for female newcomers in Europe. In fact, this ambition is already in the making with “HerTERN,” a program providing a forum for peer-to-peer inspiration as well as wrap-around support including subsidized childcare. 

About Visa Foundation 

Visa Foundation seeks to support inclusive economies where individuals, businesses, and communities can thrive. Through grant making and investing, Visa Foundation prioritizes the growth of gender-diverse and inclusive small and micro-businesses. The Foundation also supports broader community needs and disaster response in times of crisis. Visa Foundation is registered in the U.S. as a 501(c)3 entity. For more information, visit visafoundation.org  

About TERN

TERN is a UK social enterprise and ever-growing community with a mission to enable refugees to thrive through the power of their own ideas. TERN helps refugees become entrepreneurs, launch businesses and take control of their own futures and have supported over 400 refugee founders since 2016. Alongside an experienced volunteer community of over 300 industry experts, entrepreneurs and consultants, TERNS’s goal is to launch 2,000 refugee-led businesses by 2025. For more information, visit wearetern.org

About Delitelabs 

Delitelabs is an inclusive startup school, offering intensive experiential learning programs and a support system to aspiring entrepreneurs. Delitelabs does this by involving the business community, governmental institutions, and partner organizations. For more information, visit www.delitelabs.com 

About Odyssea 

Odyssea is a non-profit organization that supports young vulnerable people to have access to employment opportunities in society. Odyssea provides tailored vocational and life-skills training combined with employability services that bridge young people with the world of work and empower them to realize their full potential. For more information, visit www.odyssea.com