A pilot program that assisted 112 refugees to complete business start-up training has been expanded.
Funded by the Home Office and the National Lottery Community Fund, the program supports refugees for a year, taking them from the idea stage to starting a business.
After its success, three of the four organizations that organized the workshops secured a collective £ 1.7million to expand the pilot sites.
The Center for Entrepreneurs, which oversaw the project, hopes to help another 585 refugees over the next 18 months.
Matt Smith, director of policy at the center, said: “We had 112 people going through the program, 25% of them were launched during the pandemic and 40% were preparing for it afterwards.”
The Center for Entrepreneurs says the pilot proves that tailor-made business support for refugees works, and now calls for more.
Mr Smith added: “What we now need is the commitment and collaboration at the national level of businesses, banks, local authorities and the third sector to ensure that every refugee concerned can access this vital support and start rebuilding your life through entrepreneurship. “
Nejat Salih is a 28-year-old Eritrean refugee who has benefited from the program.
She arrived in the UK in 2016 after a long and tumultuous journey – crossing the deserts of Sudan before finding safety in London.
Ms Salih said: “All I had was my talent and the will to want to do something.”
But talent alone was not enough.
Like many refugees, Ms Salih struggled to get the support she needed to start her beauty business.
She said: “As a refugee, when I go to ask for a loan or an investment, it’s not easy.
Ms. Salih eventually received funding and support from the pilot project and has been self-employed for over a year.
She said: “Having my own business here in the UK makes me feel like I belong and I do…
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This notice was published: 2021-06-19 22:39:00