Working directly with refugees and established local businesses, four pilots deliver tailored start-up programmes that will take refugees from the idea stage to the launch of their business.
Refugees in the UK have access to mainstream benefits and services to enable their integration and departments across government are working to ensure services meet their needs. This new pilot will allow refugees to move forward with the process of integration, which was the focus of the government’s Integrated Communities Action plan published in February 2019. In the action plan the government committed to increase integration support for all refugees in the UK, with one of the key focuses being employment.
The pilots are part of a 1-year programme jointly funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund.
The programmes will be overseen by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) and a national expert advisory group including representatives from the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, refugee entrepreneurs, and experts from the academic and voluntary sectors.
Pilot 1: ACH will engage with over 100 refugees in Bristol and the West of England. Building on a previous research project, ACH will support refugees new to entrepreneurship; business owners ‘just about managing’ and looking to strengthen their foundations; and ambitious entrepreneurs looking to scale up.
Pilot 2: East Belfast Enterprise will offer those taking part access to professional development sessions, enterprise training, startup bursaries and mentoring support. The pilot will provide support to develop networks within the community, so that even if self-employment is not for them people will have access to further education and other employment opportunities.
Pilot 3: Serving the urban centres of Peterborough, Ipswich and Norwich, MENTA will provide the participating refugees access to workshops, mentoring and peer-to-peer support groups which will be led by local role models. This pilot will primarily target refugees who ran businesses in their home country, developing their expertise for the UK.
Pilot 4: The Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce will provide comprehensive support for 40 refugees and will build on extensive experience in business support. Drawing on their networks, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce will also deliver mentoring support via volunteer entrepreneurs. They will also share the results of the project with the network of 52 accredited Chambers of Commerce across the country.
The Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) is working with academic partners to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot so that, if successful, it can be implemented more widely in the future.
Home Secretary Priti Patel.
Mark Purvis, Deputy Director England at The National Lottery Community Fund.
The 4 programmes will be based in Bristol, Belfast, the East of England and Staffordshire.
The pilot will cost £360,300; £210,150 will be covered by the Home Office and the remaining £150,150 will be covered by The National Lottery Community fund.