For

Refugee Start-Ups

France

The Human Safety Net’s For Refugees program was launched in France in September 2017. Its ambition is to help people under international protection (asylum or subsidiary protections) redefine their professional goals and, in the event they are interested, provide advice and assistance as they start a new business.

This program leverages from three key observations:

1. In France foreigners, including refugees, face numerous obstacles to professional integration: five years after arrival in France, only one in three foreigners has a job (source: OECD, "Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015 August 2015”);

2. Refugees are particularly vulnerable due to forced departure from their country of origin and the difficulty they face concerning common law status;

3. Nevertheless, refugees possess real potential for the host society, increasing its cultural wealth and bringing a host of skills and professional experience they have gained prior to arrival

The program

The program helps refugees define their project through training, mentoring, volunteering skills or integration into large schools, so that they can acquire the skills and tools they need to integrate into French society and create their own business in France.

With the overall goal of helping refugees become productive, positive members of French society,  entrepreneurship is an excellent lever for meeting people, motivating budding entrepreneurs and providing an opportunity to increase self-confidence.

 

PARTNERS INVOLVED

Singa
Wintegreat
 

Local activities

A custom-tailored incubation program

Singa is a citizen movement born in France in 2012 that aims to create a link between refugees and host societies.

Singa and The Human Safety Net support future entrepreneurs in their socio-professional integration through a custom-tailored, step-by-step program. It offers creative workshops during which refugees can develop business ideas, specific skill training, helps them build and test their business plans (individualized coaching), and connects them with experts who can help them network with potential partners, investors and customers.

In 2018 the program assisted a total of 20 projects for six months in different fields including art, fashion, culture, technology, catering, professional integration and counseling.

Photo by: Bruno Zanzottera Parallelozero

Opening the doors to France’s Grandes Écoles

Wintegreat is a social startup whose mission is to breathe life into refugees’ entrepreneurial projects and favor their integration into companies, implementing dedicated programs designed to open the doors of France’s Grandes Écoles to people under international protection.

The Human Safety Net has partnered with Wintegreat, ESCP Europe (Paris campus) and HEC to finance and support a 12-week custom-designed support program for two classes of 25 participants every year. This program is dedicated to refugees who have already obtained initial education or university backgrounds from their country of origin (minimum high school degree or equivalent), and now desire to develop further through university training, or are interested in developing and refining a business plan or professional project.

Photo by: Bruno Zanzottera  Parallelozero