SINGA and The Human Safety Net are making business in Europe more inclusive through refugee entrepreneurship

Millions of refugees have arrived in Europe in recent years, many of whom have the skills, passion, and resilience to be successful entrepreneurs. Among the 23 million European entrepreneurs, 21%* have a migrant background. Refugee entrepreneurs still face discrimination and do not have the same opportunities for success as local entrepreneurs. Many more could reveal their potential if they had access to the right support.

Since 2017, The Human Safety Net, a foundation initiated by Generali, and SINGA, one of the leading worldwide movements supporting inclusive entrepreneurship, have partnered to empower entrepreneurs to unleash their full potential and ultimately, make the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem more inclusive.

SINGA and The Human Safety Net support future entrepreneurs in their socio-professional integration through tailored, step-by-step programs. Creative workshops target specific skills and business ideas.

Entrepreneurs build and test business plans, connect with experts, and network with potential partners, investors, and customers.

500 entrepreneurs have already been supported by THSN and SINGA such as Ghaees Alshorbajy, founder of Kaoukab, who used his experience with recycling in Syria to launch a scrap metal collection solution for SMEs, or Abbas Khavari, a pizzaiolo who bakes fusion pizzas inspired by Afghan flavours directly in the customer’s home.  

Through The Human Safety Net’s “Scale Up Impact”, SINGA is scaling its unique approach

In 2020, SINGA was selected as part of the “THSN Scale Up Impact” strategy. This strategy is aiming to provide additional resources to NGO partners, allowing them to accelerate their impact and build up their operations. As Emma Ursich, Executive Director of The Human Safety Net, highlighted: “Through our work with NGOs, we found that many of our pioneering partners have models that could be replicated beyond a single organisation and which could work at a larger scale. So we created Scale Up Impact to identify these high-potential programmes and facilitate cross-sectoral collaboration with public, private and social sectors, expanding their reach to support families and refugees nationwide. SINGA was one of The Human Safety Net’s very first partners, helping us to establish an impactful programme in France empowering refugees through entrepreneurship.”

Ursich continued: “We’re delighted the new Scale Up Impact, through multiannual funding, is enabling SINGA to reach even more people by opening five new incubators for refugee entrepreneurs across France and Germany, extending its programmes beyond just the large metropolitan areas.”  

Thanks to this grant, SINGA was able to consolidate its network of local Chapters with the creation of SINGA Global in 2020. This international entity’s goal is to set up a global, systemic, and long-term vision to ensure sustainable impact scaling. The Scaling Grant allowed SINGA to strengthen existing entrepreneurship support programs through best practices sharing, increase capacities in Berlin and Lyon, and create new programs in Nantes, Lille, and soon Strasbourg.

THSN and SINGA are aiming to reach up to 400 entrepreneurs with a migrant background and support the creation of 130 businesses by 2023.

According to SINGA co-founder Alice Barbe, “whether it is to flee persecution or conflict, migrants and refugees face a myriad of obstacles once they arrive in Europe, and among them, the stereotypes linked to their status. SINGA incubators offer them the opportunity to create projects, innovate, and thereby contribute to the progress of the societies that host them. With the support of The Human Safety Net Foundation, we will be able to double our efforts and our impact to develop this potential and consolidate our actions in Europe and in the world, for an inclusive economy and more fraternal societies”.

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