M-UP held its first two-day workshop with Members in Brussels, Belgium, in May 2018 at the offices of M-UP Member, microStart, a micro-credit organisation that works closely with migrant entrepreneurs.

With over 40 attendees including migrant entrepreneurs and a wide range of public, private and third sector organisations from across Europe, the Workshop provided the opportunity to introduce Members to the Network and to commence discussion on experiences of migrant entrepreneurship in different country contexts.

The workshop utilised networking time and roundtable discussions which enabled attendees to hear directly from migrant entrepreneurs. The Roundtables were entitled, ‘The Road to Entrepreneurship’; which explored the support, challenges and opportunities faced by migrant entrepreneurs and ‘Addressing the Challenge’; which looked at existing and ideal solutions to identify what can be implemented to support migrant entrepreneurs.

Palestinian Migrant Entrepreneur, Muhsen Uwaida, attended the workshop, sharing the initial barriers that he faced while acknowledging the support that he has so far received:

“It has been very challenging because I don’t speak the language. It’s been a very hard journey but you have to keep going. With the help of friends and contacts like microStart I’m pushing through. microStart gave me not only money but all the information I needed. Everything I know is from my advisor at microStart Hassan.”

A significant number of key points came out of the various discussions that took place during these activities. This included agreement that co-ordination at European Level needs to change; that native and migrant entrepreneurs need to be brought together; that new ways for migrant entrepreneurs to be able to access Finance need to be sought; that mentors are key and a network of mentors for migrant entrepreneurs needs to be built; that access – to markets, languages, networks and government, all need significant development; and that alongside the challenges, there are also opportunities and as a network we need to form more networks and map out the opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Keynote Speaker Basak Saral, General Manager of Habitat, a Turkey-based NGO that works with migrant entrepreneurs, shared her view on what needs to be improved in order to address the various issues that the migrant entrepreneurship ecosystem presents and why it is important to address them:

“We believe that entrepreneurship brings independence to individuals and as refugees become business community members, it has a big impact on their involvement in local communities… It is important to change the mind set of different groups within the community”.

“It’s important for support organisations and policy makers to be considered case by case – they need to understand what refugees can bring… It’s important for us to come together, to bring our resources together and to understand the realities of different countries and to try to make it much better together…. We thank you for inviting Habitat to join this network.”

We are pleased to inform our readers that the M-UP project is taking shape positively in the pursuit of promoting and seeking new opportunities for the creation and growth of migrant enterprises.

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This website is part of the project Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow — EMEN-UP (no. 764398) which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020)

The Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow

This website is part of the project Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow — EMEN-UP (no. 764398) which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020)

The Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow

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