On Thursday, July 21, 2022, the consortium agreement finalizing the creation of an incubator for refugee entrepreneurs in Strasbourg was signed in the presence of Jeanne BARSEGHIAN, Mayor of the City of Strasbourg, Elise GINIOUX, President of Generali’s The Human Safety Net (THSN) Foundation in France, Benoit HAMON, General Director of SINGA Global, and all the partners of the project (Eurometropole Strasbourg, Maison de l’Emploi Strasbourg, Association Foyer-Notre-Dame, Kodiko, the SNCF Foundation, BNP Paribas, France active Alsace, and the Rhein-Stiftung/Fondation du Rhin).  

This event is the result of a long period of work led by THSN and SINGA to unite the major actors of the Strasbourg area around this project. A few weeks ago, the support for the first promotion of a dozen entrepreneurs started. 

A Consortium of Actors Mobilized for the Economic Inclusion of Refugees 

The THSN by SINGA incubator for refugee entrepreneurs is now active. Its launch is the result of work led by the teams of The Human Safety Net in France and SINGA, in a context disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

This is the third incubator launched by the Generali Foundation in France, but the first with a European vocation, bi-national Franco-German. Its objective is to welcome people under international protection who wish to start their own business on both sides of the Rhine. It is therefore natural that the Strasbourg area was chosen to benefit from the expertise and commitment of the municipality, but also from the mobilization of local private associations, to enable entrepreneurs to benefit from the best support. 

The following ten partners have joined The Human Safety Net France: :

  • The City of Strasbourg 
  • L’Eurométropole de Strasbourg
  • La Maison de l’Emploi de Strasbourg
  • SINGA 
  • Association Foyer-Notre-Dame
  • Kodiko
  • Foundation SNCF
  • BNP Paribas
  • France active Alsace
  • The Rhein-Stiftung/Foundation du Rhin 

In addition to supporting the first classes of refugee entrepreneurs, all the players are committed to making the incubator known to as many people as possible, to constantly improving the support programs offered, and to working with as many people as possible in the field of professional integration and asylum in the region. 

Two Generali France agents, Damien Obergfell (agent in Strasbourg) and Claude Casterot (agent in Haguenau) have become sponsors of the incubator in order to contribute to finding candidates, the integration of future entrepreneurs into the regional economic fabric, and to provide local support to the SINGA team.  

It is therefore a complete ecosystem of local partners, public, private, and associative, which is put at the service of the professional integration of refugees in the Strasbourg area.

A Support Delivered by SINGA at KaleidosCOOP: A  Place for Social and Economic Solidarity 

The selected entrepreneurs will be able to follow a 9-month coaching by SINGA, chosen by THSN to run the incubator. The entrepreneurs will be trained on topics like how to write a business plan, marketing, searching for financing, etc. 

The first class of a dozen entrepreneurs is currently being supported. Whether they come from Ukraine, Afghanistan, or Jordan, these entrepreneurs wish to create structures in very diverse fields of activity (art, catering, health, associations, etc.) thus participating in the local economic life. In all, about 50 entrepreneurs will be supported over the next 3 years. 

The THSN by SINGA incubator, which is temporarily located on the premises of La Maison de l’Emploi in Strasbourg, will move to KaleidosCOOP in 2023, a future cross-border location, currently under construction that is dedicated to employment, social economy, and solidarity actors from both sides of the Rhine. An inauguration will be organized in order to present the activities and the projects from the incubator in 2023.

Statements of the actors

Benoit HAMON, Director General of SINGA: “We are pleased to launch a new incubator in Strasbourg with our partner The Human Safety Net. This is the first bi-national incubator in the European Union. This collaboration will allow us to mobilize our dual expertise in the support of refugee entrepreneurs and to add the best practices from both sides of the Rhine. In a few months, this new incubator will enable the creation of companies that would not otherwise have seen the light of day. This will create new income and jobs, and we will once again demonstrate that inclusion benefits both the newcomers and the host societies.”

Elise GINIOUX, President of The Human Safety Net Foundation in France, Member of the Executive Committee of Generali France in charge of communication, social and environmental responsibility, and public affairs: “We are very happy to launch the THSN by SINGA incubator in Strasbourg, the third THSN incubator dedicated to refugees after those of Montreuil and Saint-Denis and the first one with a European vocation. I would like to warmly thank the City of Strasbourg and the Eurometropole for hosting this territorial dynamic, as well as all our public, private and associative partners for their essential contribution. Since the creation of the THSN Foundation in 2017, more than 600 refugees have already been accompanied and 102 structures, companies, or associations, have been supported and launched. By 2024, our goal is to have doubled our impact and to have accompanied 1000 refugees with our partners.” 

Jeanne BARSEGHIAN, Mayor of the City of Strasbourg and President Delegate of l’Eurométropole de Strasbourg: “Proud and strong of its tradition of welcome, tolerance, and openness, our city stands by all its inhabitants, regardless of the length of their stay on its territory. The creation here in Strasbourg of a cross-border incubator designed to facilitate entrepreneurship for refugees is fully in line with the actions we take on a daily basis in the field to facilitate their social and professional integration. It is an additional bridge that is being built in our city to make it more hospitable and welcoming.”  

Anne-Marie JEAN, President of la Maison de l’emploi de Strasbourg and Vice President of l’Eurométropole de Strasbourg: “The installation of this incubator follows on from the Sing’Ami experiment, carried out for two years by the Strasbourg employment center with SINGA Stuttgart and Impact hub Karlsruhe. The Sing’Ami cross-border program supported the structuring of a dozen entrepreneurial projects on both sides of the Rhine in 2020 and 2021. We are now delighted to welcome a permanent incubator, which is fully in line with the objectives of the Pact for a sustainable local economy that we are promoting in the Eurometropolis, as it will help to facilitate entrepreneurship and professional inclusion and will enrich the local ecosystem through new cultural exchanges, bringing openness and innovation.”