People who have escaped war, hunger and oppression compete to build better lives.
One is an architect, another a computer scientist. A journalist sits, hands clasped, between a recent business management program graduate and a hospital worker. All have fled territories in difficulty: Syria, Iran, Bangladesh, Sub-Saharan Africa and others.
Some speak in hesitant French, others in English. Language is no barrier as they share how eager they are to seize this opportunity, excited at this chance to build a better life.
On 12 February in Generali’s headquarters in Paris, a panel of THSN partner associations (Spark, Singa), micro-project financiers (Active France, Adie) and with the participation of Marie-Christine Lanne, Head of THSN France, met to select projects for THSN financing. Most of the candidates had already participated in the Refugee Start-Ups training program, and presented business plans, market studies and even financial forecasts designed with the skills they learned.
Projects focused on fashion, tourism, catering, art and wellness, each candidate infusing them with a little of his or her history, culture and know-how. And their efforts paid off: ultimately ten out of eleven projects got the green light!
Over the next six months these budding entrepreneurs will be given offices, attend training sessions, participate in problem-solving workshops, and be connected with experts and coaches as they use the skills and financing THSN and its partners provide to improve their lives and those of the people around them.