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Policy Brief on Migrant Entrepreneurship Support.

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  • ELLIS Unit Linz

Abstract and Figures

The policy brief presents findings of two migrant entrepreneurship incubation light cycles of MEnt project held in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Austria in the years 2017-2018. The policy brief focuses on the need for migrant entrepreneurs to develop social contacts and develop networks to gain the necessary support, knowledge of cultural and entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as the exchange of ideas and reviews, and the support for founding a company. This has important implications, calling for a realistic, coherent, inclusive and long-spanning migratory policy. Based on the gained and also the evaluation results the core finding is that migrant would-be entrepreneurs require public support to exploit their true potential and to overcome the specific barriers they face as migrants in a country still rather strange to them. Other than regular hurdles to found a company migrant entrepreneurs in addition face lack of social networks, knowledge of local ecosystem and language barriers. The policy brief discusses recent fieldwork findings of MEnt. We suggest that the entrepreneurship of migrants is embedded within the dynamics of immigrants’ integration and the broader factors on which this depends, specifically in incubation and acceleration programmes which deal also with migrant entrepreneurs. Findings from the evaluation of our incubation cycles show the MEnt incubation scheme encourages selfemployment among migrants and it could serve as a model for a more adequate support policy for non-privileged business starters that would better allow for the participation of migrants and deepen the entrepreneurial culture during the integration phase of migrants.
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Policy Brief on Migrant
Entrepreneurship Support
[Deliverable: 4.2, WP 4]
VERSION: [1.4, VIENNA, 31.12.18]
WP Leader: ZSI – ZENTRUM FUR SOZIALE INNOVATION (AUSTRIA)
Author: Doris Kaiserreiner, ZSI, doris.kaiserreiner@jump-start.at
Contributors:
Carolina Pacchi, AVANZI S.R.L. (ITALY)
Lorenzo Scalchi, CODICI Ricerca e Intervento (ITALY)
Massimo Conte, CODICI Ricerca e Intervento (ITALY)
Lilly Scheuerpflug, KIRON (BELGIUM AND GERMANY)
DOI: 10.22163/fteval.2019.351
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
1
CONTENT:
Abstract ......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2
Policy Brief on Migrant Entrepreneurship Support .................................................................................................................. 3
The greatest value offered by MEnt ............................................................................................. 4
Policy recommendations ............................................................................................................... 5
Detailed analysis & findings, recommendations & conclusions .............................................................. 6
Participants ................................................................................................................................... 7
Mentors ....................................................................................................................................... 10
Trainers ....................................................................................................................................... 12
Incubation framework ................................................................................................................. 14
incubation design / methods ...................................................................................................... 15
Conclusions & Policy Recommendations .................................................................................... 18
Remarks, suggestions and other comments for similar measures ............................................. 19
PROJECT IDENTITY ............................................................................................................................. 20
FIGURES:
FIG. 1 INVOLVED ROLES IN THE MENT INCUBATION MODEL 6
TABLES:
TABLE 1: NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS/PROJECTS/MENTORS .................................................................................. 3
TABLE 2: PARTICIPANTS’ FOCUSED RECOMMENDATIONS..................................................................................... 8
TABLE 3: MENTORING PROCESS FOCUSED RECOMMENDATIONS........................................................................ 11
TABLE 4: TRAINERS’ FOCUSED RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................................................... 13
TABLE 5: INCUBATION FRAMEWORK FOCUSED RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................................ 14
TABLE 6: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INCUBATION DESIGN/METHODS ................................................................ 16
„This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This
publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be
held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
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Abstract
The policy brief presents findings of two migrant entrepreneurship incubation light cycles of MEnt
project held in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Austria in the years 2017-2018. The policy brief
focuses on the need for migrant entrepreneurs to develop social contacts and develop networks to
gain the necessary support, knowledge of cultural and entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as the
exchange of ideas and reviews, and the support for founding a company. This has important
implications, calling for a realistic, coherent, inclusive and long-spanning migratory policy. Based on
the gained and also the evaluation results the core finding is that migrant would-be entrepreneurs
require public support to exploit their true potential and to overcome the specific barriers they face
as migrants in a country still rather strange to them.
Other than regular hurdles to found a company migrant entrepreneurs in addition face lack of social
networks, knowledge of local ecosystem and language barriers. The policy brief discusses recent
fieldwork findings of MEnt. We suggest that the entrepreneurship of migrants is embedded within
the dynamics of immigrants’ integration and the broader factors on which this depends, specifically
in incubation and acceleration programmes which deal also with migrant entrepreneurs. Findings
from the evaluation of our incubation cycles show the MEnt incubation scheme encourages self-
employment among migrants and it could serve as a model for a more adequate support policy for
non-privileged business starters that would better allow for the participation of migrants and deepen
the entrepreneurial culture during the integration phase of migrants.
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
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Policy Brief on Migrant Entrepreneurship
Support
MEnt – Migrant Entrepreneurs team up with mentors is a 2-year European project that aims to
experiment an incubation methodology to support migrant and refugee entrepreneurs in their project/
business development. The project intends to facilitate and foster economic and social integration of
migrants supporting them in the development of new business initiatives, via light incubation and
mentorship programmes. MEnt carried out 2 cycles of incubation in five countries (Italy, Germany,
Austria, Belgium and France), supported 105 entrepreneurs and engaged 142 mentors. The relationship
with mentors is the core of the project, enabling the improvement of emerging business ideas through the
interaction with experts in the given business sector and national context. During the first cycle, MEnt
implemented a common methodology, which each partner improved and adapted to its local context
during the second cycle.
Number of
participants
(cycle 1 + 2)
Number of
projects
Number of
mentors involved
Implementing
project partner
Country
13 13 10 ZSI Austria
17 17 26 Make Sense France
28 20 78 Make a Cube Italy
24 17 13 Kiron Germany
23 23 15 Kiron Belgium
105 90 142
Table 1: Number of participants/projects/mentors
Each cycle consists of three incubation phases, including trainings and mentorship, from the market
analysis to the business model, with prototyping sessions and team building activities in between,
addressing both hard and soft skills. After two years of experience, MEnt created a toolkit with guidelines
and recommendations to adapt the toolkit to the local and participant needs and business contexts.
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The added value offered by MEnt
All of the implementing partners highlight that the programme offers a broad variety of opportunities to
the participants. These can be divided into offering opportunity, connection and network, offering the
development of hard skills and the development of soft skills.
Opportunity, Connection and Networks
The MEnt project offers aspiring entrepreneurs the space and time to focus on their business ideas, an
immersion in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, the chance to build social links and interpersonal
networks, get advice from mentors and experts as well as peer-to-peer feedback. Entrepreneurs no longer
feel like they are alone in developing their ideas so it helps them out of the isolation that they sometimes
felt with their idea, and allowed them to explore this more actively and dedicatedly. Motivation and
inspiration from other participants as well as inspiring talks by existing entrepreneurs and support by
mentors all reinforce their social capital. Strong networks of experts, mentors, alumni-participants, local
institutions active in the respective area and participants have been built up within the programme in
each country. Opening this network up to the entrepreneurs is crucial and a clear added value of the MEnt
programme. It therefore can also be recognized as a driver of integration and social inclusion.
Hard Skills
Secondly, participation in the MEnt programme allows entrepreneurs to develop relevant technical,
business related, hard skills relevant for their business establishment and possibly future employment
opportunities. The programme fosters language skills, gives access to methods of thinking and working,
provided the necessary technical know-how about founding a business, offers necessary information on
the country’s economic and bureaucratic system, and practical skills such as in public speaking,
calculation, marketing and how to conduct interviews with potential customers to narrow down their
product or service offering.
Soft Skills
Last but not least, partners highlight that the programme offers the participants the chance to develop soft
skills such as constructive and intercultural communication, interaction with trainers and mentors in
terms of taking advice, personal reflection and sharing of fears, self-esteem and the self-confidence on
what they can achieve, diverse perspectives on how to found a business and awareness of what soft or
social skills it takes to do so through inspiring talks by other entrepreneurs serving as role models.
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
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This policy brief takes the perspective to the roles involved and addresses their specific involvement
within the incubation training format. The main purpose is to raise awareness for entrepreneurial
learning of migrants within such incubation cycles for (political) actors within the ecosystem. In each of
the following chapters the policy brief addresses the strengths of focused migrant entrepreneurs support,
the challenges concerning the role of participants, mentors, trainers, organizers, embedded structures and
networks (incubation framework) and the design of the specific MEnt start-up and support programme.
Recommendations for future measures on such programmes are generated as well. To each strengths and
experienced challenges experiences of project members are included as well as the resulting
recommendations for political actors.
Policy recommendations
Within the scope of the MEnt project
1
, central action areas for the promotion and support of migrant
entrepreneurs were discussed. This concerns above all the optimization of legal and structural framework
conditions, the promotion of entrepreneurial competencies, the creation of an innovation-promoting
environment, the improvement of access to financing as well as awareness raising and networking.
Instruments
Offering specific monetary & non-monetary support to migrant entrepreneurs;
A common understanding about the role of language and cultural mediation and of services
attached to the core programme offering is needed;
It is important to maintain offers as MEnt to support migrant entrepreneurs in maximising the
potential of their businesses;
A wider scope of activities – with services ranging from mediation, micro-finance, psychological
support, regulatory and law support increases the value and effectiveness of similar programmes.
General policy issues
Ensuring quality of work: Public policy has a role in increasing the quality of self-employment
work to maximise the economic benefits. It is a particularly relevant policy issue given the
increasing prevalence of self-employment;
Continue to ease access along commercial trade regulations for the target group;
Measures and incubation cycles must last longer than measures for regular entrepreneurs
according to the target group specific situation. We recommend at least a 12 months duration,
backed with financial support, integration into other support measures, funding in kind as
existing today won’t hardly do.
1
Evaluation of the MEnt project, deliverables D 3.1. , D 3.2.
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Detailed analysis & findings, recommendations & conclusions
Background
Recognizing the skills of migrants is particularly important for successful social integration, especially in
the labour market. A promising approach is according to Univ. Prof. Dr. Gudrun Biffl, Dr. Fulvia Farinelli
and Dr. Tina Gruber-Mücke,
2
helping migrants on their way to becoming self-employed. The “Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor”
3
shows, that self-employment within the group of migrants is much higher
than the self-employment rate of local people. Furthermore the study of 69 countries from 2012 shows
that the number of founders with a migrant background in most OECD countries is higher than that of the
native population. At the same time, however, "the survival rate of these companies compared to native
people is much lower," self-employment would be a driver for integration”, overall, the contribution of
migrant entrepreneurs to job creation is rising, according to Gudrun Biffl.
Detailed analysis & findings, recommendations & conclusions
The evaluation of the project MEnt
4
brought several strengths and challenges to day, which had been
discussed in the final face-to-face meeting of implementing partners in Berlin in September 2018
5
and are
synthesised in each of the five influence spheres (participants, mentors, trainers, incubation framework,
content), following there’s a chapter dedicated to each of these spheres. The outcomes of the meeting and
evaluation lead to recommendations structured in these influence spheres shown in Fig. 1. In the
following chapters we briefly discuss strengths of focused migrant entrepreneurs support and challenges
in each field, how we dealt with it (actions taken) and what specific recommendations derived for each
type of influence sphere.
Fig. 1 INVOLVED ROLES IN THE MEnt INCUBATION MODEL
2
Univ. Prof Dr. Gudrun Biffl, Dr. Fulvia Farinelli, Dr. Tina Gruber-Mücke at the Networking Forum of the EU-Project MAGNET
at the Danube Univeristy Krems 20.02.2018.
3
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, OSCE, 2012
4
Evaluation of the MEnt project, deliverables D 3.1. , D 3.2., D 3.3.
5
MEnt partner meeting protocol, deliverables D 1.3.
mentors
incubation
framework
trainers
participants/
mentees
Content & training:
support entrepreneurial
idea
support networking
support soft & hard skills
empowering
Design of incubation light cycles
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Participants
The MEnt partners streamlined the application process for participants in the incubation light cycle
through the project website by building a customized application questionnaire of 20 questions regarding
the applicant’s place of origin, residence, language proficiency in English and the host country’s language
as well as several questions about their business idea, planned budget and their expectations from the
programme. In terms of the eligibility of the applications received, the main reasons for ineligibility were
that applicants were local nationals or that they lived in a distant location that would not permit them to
take part in the programme regularly or have other duties i.e. childcare, mandatory language courses
offered by state. The Call had been promoted through partner’s networks and stakeholder partnerships.
Among all submissions partners observed only a view not eligible due to time lack or stage of business
idea.
Profiles of participants:
The partners were confronted with an extremely diverse set of participants, in terms of
Country of origin (mix of non-EU and formerly non-EU, now EU countries)
Migration path (duration, number of countries visited, progression of legal status)
Reasons behind the decision to become an entrepreneur or to start an incubation process in this
direction
Sectors/type of business (more or less connected to the life-course and interest of the individual,
or valorising the migrant’s origin and related networks, or catering to the needs of people with
similar life-courses)
On the other hand there were more similarities in terms of gender and business size/typology:
Significant prevalence of individual entrepreneurs
Prevalence of males over females
Small business
Non-profit organisations
A predominant portion of applicants had been refugees.
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The table 2 below shows main recognized strengths and challenges and what actions the implementation
partners took. This leads to recommendations for future measures or programmes.
strengths of focused
migrant entrepreneur
support
challenges actions taken by MEnt
recommendations for
future measures or
programmes
diversity of
origin & variety
perceived
enriching for
business
modelling
language/
literacy
translation of
materials in 2 to 3
languages
peer-translations
within the group
focused language
course regarding
business
language
understanding
of what a
business needs
target groups of
their business
loose focus on
business
models
limited focus
on business
perspectives
due to other
obligations
(knowledge
on options i.e.
café, culture
centre,
nurturing
business
individual and
continued feedback
on business plan
support with
strategic marketing
and additional tools
and methods
allocate
time/resources
for individual and
continued
feedback on
business plan
flexibility and
specific know-
how of trainers,
additional
training and
specific support
offers need to be
immediately
executable for
the target
group’s business
plans (no general
but individually
tailored methods
and information)
allows
benchmarking
within the
group of
participants
cooperation
opportunities
among
participants
a mentoring
programme
only for
“migrant
entrepren-
eurs” bears
the risk of
socio-
economic
isolation
in a protective
environment
possibility to
freely use co-
working spaces
socializing
activities to
establish group-
think
incubation
models and
support actions
should address
both, the focus
on migrant
entrepreneurs’
needs and offer
space and kind
atmosphere and
the possibility to
exchange and
interact with
local
entrepreneurs;
Table 2: participants’ focused recommendations
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An additional experience shows that migrant and refugee entrepreneurs are full of hope and
determination to establish their business, despite facing significant challenges in doing so in the host
countries. In the eyes of many participants starting a viable business and becoming financially
independent is meaningful alternative to relying on state support or low paying jobs. Implementing
partners have observed that migrant entrepreneurs are full of ideas and motivation to apply their skills
and expertise. The individual migration experience has given the groups many necessary skills relevant
for entrepreneurship such as resilience, courage, risk-taking, intercultural communication, acceptance of
diversity.
It is much more difficult for migrants to take action and establish their business, as they face a number of
significant obstacles. The most prominent barriers to migrant entrepreneurship in each of the
participating countries are the language, the culture, lack of access to information, lack of access to
funding opportunities, lack of strong interpersonal networks in the host community, the lack of
knowledge about and connections to key stakeholders, lack of free co-working facilities to develop their
idea, difficult bureaucratic processes and finally, strict legislative processes and requirements for aspiring
entrepreneurs.
On the level of the individual entrepreneurs, there are often personal obstacles that migrant
entrepreneurs must overcome. These include low self-esteem that prevents them from trying and testing
their business ideas, lack of trust in themselves make them too shy to dare to talk with people about their
projects and finally personal circumstances (health, accommodation, administrative, family or job) that
lead them to be conflicted in their participating in a support programme like MEnt. The incubation
strengthened the participant’s self-confidence and self-esteem, which is found a crucial barrier in their
social and professional integration, and eventually, the participants reinforced their ability to be proactive
in their life.
"Never give up"
The Syrian refugee Ahmed Aboud, together with co-founder Karin Melcher, Austrian, made the step into
self-employment: The autodidact and qualified expert for marine engines and car mechanics, founded a
car service company "CARamel" with the help of private funds, amongst Deloitte. The start-up offers its
customers a mobile car cleaning and people who have fled to Austria an easy way into the world of
work. Ahmed Aboud knows many Syrian refugees from his environment, but nobody has managed to
start a business. His recipe for success: "Believe in your business and never give up despite problems
and difficulties."
Networking Forum of the EU funded project MAGNET, 20.02.2018.
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10
Mentors
During the implementation of the MEnt project 142 mentors had been involved. It was recognized by the
partners that a good mentor inspiring migrant entrepreneurs must have several competences. These
include good intercultural awareness or possibly even own migratory background that participants can
relate to and be inspired by. MEnt partners have observed that it is indeed a source of additional
motivation and encouragement if participants recognise their own journey and challenges of migration
and business development their supporting mentors had been into as well. The more explicit this is
discussed in formats like the mentoring evening, the more encouragement the participants gain.
Furthermore, soft skills such as listening, patience, creativity, open-mindedness, constructive
communication are keys to support aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as a genuine interest in supporting the
entrepreneur and in their business idea. Evidently, hard or technical skills in the field of entrepreneurship
and business establishment are essential towards giving participants advice and insights on potential next
steps in their business development. A further look at strengths, challenges and experiences can be
followed through Table 3.
strengths & positive
elements challenges partner experiences and
remarks
recommendations for the
process support of mentoring
accompanied by a project
manager to ensure continuity
mentors
selection with
expertise and
engagement
along given
criteria
perception of
some mentors’
disengagement
continuing
engagement of
mentors
compensated by
inviting
established
migrant
entrepreneurs to
inspiring talks
(more than
planned),
organized
mentoring
sessions
inspiring talks and
organized
mentoring sessions
have been
experienced very
useful and should
be included for the
process of mentors’
engagement for
longer period
some kind of
benefits for
mentors should be
given in return
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11
MEnt as an
opportunit
y for
mentors to
exchange
ideas on
mentoring
applied to
migrants
late involvement of
mentors’ in
training cycle
mentors’ esprit of
proposing solution
instead of
empathic listening
facilitated
coordination of
meetings
between mentors
and mentees
moderation
between mentor
and mentee
involvement of
mentors in
preparation phase
of incubation cycle
labour
compensation
activities to attract
and motivate
mentors
clear guidelines for
the mentoring role
i.e. use of
workshops and
handouts
MEnt as an
opportunit
y to foster
networks
among
mentees
and
between
mentees
and
mentors
predictability is
limited
tried to
compensate
through
coordination of
meetings
between mentors
and mentees
occasional
meetings to
facilitate the
networks for
mentors and
mentees
mentor’s evening
pitching session
coordination of
specific business
meetings
monitoring the
process
exploring the full
range of meeting
options (i.e.
mentoring evening,
visiting together a
firm, pitching
sessions)
Table 3: mentoring process focused recommendations
In terms of practicalities, a mentor must have an appropriate time commitment to join the mentoring
evenings and one-to-one meetings with participants but also the flexibility and understanding if
participants are unable to join due to unforeseen work or family circumstances.
The incubation incited
the participants to create their own professional social network, they felt
less isolated at the end of the programme, some of them still have great contacts with their
fellows or their mentors“, expressed a mentor from Paris.
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12
Trainers
Most of the staff members of the implementing partners acted as trainers and describe their personal
experience in the programme as positive. MEnt partners organised different stages of the project, such as
the call for ideas, short training sessions, light incubation cycles, mentors’ matching and pitching sessions.
They consider themselves as “crucial actors“ for the whole range of involved and contributing actors, they
were always in contact with the addressed entrepreneurs, mentors and other team members of the
European partnership. To this “central position“ some impressions are associated, such as the opportunity
to strengthen a sense of responsibility and the necessity to be multitasking and enthusiastically switch
among roles in the process.
Ultimately, the differences in migrants’ professional backgrounds and personal experiences might create a
gap between their journey within a training programme like MEnt, as not all participants need the same
resources or support within the same time frame, do not work at the same pace, and do not face all the
same obstacles. This makes it difficult for the implementing partners to adapt to everyone’s needs.
Bearing in mind the societal and personal obstacles above, partners have concluded that it takes more
than an entrepreneurship support programme to help the addressees with their professional path.
Other trainers describe their experience as a new discovery of the complex topic. They consider
themselves strongly engaged in the topic for many reasons:
MEnt as an opportunity to be introduced in migration stories: Working in an incubation
programme means to make selections, organize training sessions with the migrant entrepreneurs
and study each case in a empathetic way. The links between migrants backgrounds, problems and
personal stories are considered as a necessary basic information the involved staff needs to know;
MEnt as an opportunity to build new European partnerships connected to the thematic of migrant
entrepreneurship.
"Entrepreneurship creates jobs and drives economic growth and innovation. However, asylum seekers,
refugees and migrants face numerous problems. During the forced search for income and adequate
housing, there is often no time for foundations to organize daily life, deal with traumas, take part in
integration courses, and meet the requirements of the authorities in the host countries," said Fulvia
Farinelli, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
1
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The table 4 below gives a synthesis of MEnt trainers’ focused recommendations and specific concerns.
strengths challenges partner experiences and remarks recommendations
trainers’
expertise
and
engagement
lack of
time
need of
individu
al
coaching
further involvement of
specific experts
inviting stakeholders and
experts to talks and pitch
trainings
offered study rooms for
group works and exchange
offered extra coaching
upon request
adequate
compensation
full awareness of
workload
instruct
experienced high
skilled trainers
with intercultural
and social
competences and
business training
skills
clearly
communicated aim
of the measures
calculate enough
time and budget
Table 4: trainers’ focused recommendations
In summary, the same findings as for the group of mentors, applies also to the trainers from the MEnt
teams: good trainers inspire migrant entrepreneurs and must have adequate competences. These include
good intercultural awareness, soft skills as well as hard skills and preferably own entrepreneurship
experience.
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Incubation framework
The implementing partners recognized that testing a common methodology across different countries and
at the same time addressing the individual needs of participants is a great challenge. The addressed
entrepreneurs maintaining a wide spectrum of business ideas, need more diverse and individualised
support than expected. This requires more time and intensified support throughout the
measure/intervention offered. Not all business ideas are mature and develop at the same speed. Other
challenges relate to the conflicting responsibilities and commitments participants may have while
participating in the programme. Measures have to be well coordinated among implementing partners to
facilitate synergies. A core challenge to implementing a uniform and constructive programme is the
variety in language proficiency and educational background among the participants. At the same time, the
implementing partners emphasised the value of linking participants to mentors and other stakeholders or
funders. Acting as an entry point and compass to other opportunities is key for success, and highly
supportive for the entrepreneurs.
The following table 5 summarizes the recommendations for institutions who intend to offer
entrepreneurial trainings for migrant entrepreneurs.
strengths of framework challenges partner experiences and
remarks
recommendation for institutions
who offer trainings need to have
links with
strategic
partners
embeddednes
s in local
professional
networks
establishment
of links
between the
differently
focused
networks (ie.
cultural, social
migrant
support,
incubation
networks,
business
networks)
steady pool of
mentors
increased
efforts for
cooperation
with
stakeholders
invitation of
experts and
multipliers
a backing network of
strategic partners and
local professionals
focus on embedding
participants into local
systems
help participants to get
access to mainstream
business support
ecosystem
take use of the
developed knowledge
base of already
developed programmes
for ease follow up with
less investment and
improved effects
take use of MEnt toolkit
Table 5: Recommendations for the incubation framework
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In particular, according to Dr. Tina Gruber-Mücke from the FH Krems, supporting migrant entrepreneurs
to found a company needs to go beyond the brainstorming and start-up phase, but above all it is necessary
during the phase of corporate growth.
6
Incubation design / methods
Across all implementing countries, there were a number of sessions and activities that were identified as
especially useful and interesting for participants. These include the worksheets associated with certain
concepts and idea development processes such as the business model canvas. This allows participants to
make their idea as concrete and feasible as possible. Furthermore, sessions encourage participants to
understand their business target groups. Exploring target group needs was particularly enriching for
participants e.g. contacting potential customers and understanding their needs from first hand. Also, the
pitch training sessions with the aim to gain honest and actionable feedback from facilitators and fellow
entrepreneurs, were cited as especially constructive. Last but not least, participants across all countries
highlighted the mentoring sessions and the inspiring talks by successful entrepreneurs as some of the
most enriching action and exchange opportunity. These allowed the participants to become inspired and
gain concrete advice or see examples for next steps to take in their own business development. Table 6
shows a synthesis of these findings.
6
Networking Forum of the EU funded project MAGNET, 20.02.2018.
“The incubation benefited to the participants, either because it
accelerated their business development or because it helped them to
define a clear professional project and find out how to achieve it (for
instance, some participants have started studies and trainings in the field
they are interested in and some eventually found a job that fits with their
ambitions and skills),“ concluded Raffaella Toticchi from Somos Más.
“As a positive example the project MEnt, supports migrants and refugees in the
development of key competences in the field of entrepreneurship, offers help in
entering self-employment.”, said Dr. Tina Gruber-Mücke from FH Krems.
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
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strengths weaknesses partner experiences and
remarks
recommendations
MEnt as a well-
designed
project with
steps logically
connected
too little time
for
preparation,
coaching and
training
compensated by
involving experts
and splitting of
trainings
appropriate time
resources for
preparation
participants
profiles and needs
should define
content
application process
before is highly
recommended
developing
tailored tools
mentors and
mentees not
enough
involved
despite the
mentors non-
involvement
tools had been
tailored to
participants
needs
mentors should be
involved
adequately from
the start of an
intervention to gain
certain co-
ownership and
acceptance for high
motivation
learning of
“hard” skills
developing
“hard” skills in
that short 6
months period
invite experts in
divers fields
organise extra
meetings and on-
site visits
learning and
reflexion on “hard”
skills needs a
sufficient time
frame
flexible design of
the programme
including “hard”
skills
exams to stimulate
learning and
acquire certificates
accreditation of
programme with
labour market
services
the certification of
participants is
generally valuable
for future
employments and
should be
facilitated
Table 6: Recommendations for incubation design/methods
Despite the mentors non-involvement, tools had been tailored to participants needs, this was very
appreciated by the participants. Within MEnt the application process allowed to streamline the incubation
cycle design according to participants needs. Methods and tools were developed throughout the process
and are now available as a “toolkit” for further use, still a competent selection of appropriate tools is
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
17
necessary. Concerning the involvement of mentors, we recommend early involvement to ensure co-
ownership, maintained motivation and appropriate contribution to the process.
Learning and reflexion on “hard” skills needs more time than the given 6 months’ period in MEnt and it is
recommended to extend the timeframe to allow needs specific actions. Exams and the accreditation of
such programme with labour market services and the certification of participants might be considered as
an extra asset.
The implementing partners of MEnt developed a number of features that were included either in the first
or second cycle, they enhanced the content of the programme for the participating migrant entrepreneurs.
The features or services to improve such incubation models considered by implementing partners are as
follows:
Involvement & interaction with experts & mentors
Engaging external experts to lead certain workshop sessions who are very knowledgeable in a
topic giving participants really important and effective information about a certain issue.
Organise more peer to peer leaning sessions between the entrepreneurs.
Organise more team-building sessions with the mentors to strengthen their relationships.
Invite the mentors to some of the sessions so that they can follow up with the entrepreneurs.
Additional, regular coaching/working sessions with access to trainers between the workshops
support the participants and keep their motivation.
Provision of feedback on business plan writing and strategic marketing by experts in the field.
Field visits to successful migrant entrepreneurs might be interesting, depending on the business
sector the participants plan to found their business.
Incubation methodology and design of trainings
Split of sessions with regular trainings (every two or three weeks), so that entrepreneurs have
more time to understand the concepts and apply them.
If the projects are very early stage, they need more time for successful first trainings (topcis as
“target and needs”, “service offerings”) are to go in the field and achieve market surveys before
tackling other topics.
Implement programme by applying time-frames adapted to participants needs, giving the chance
to process all information accordingly.
Well aligned timing of events with the availability of participants (taking into account child-caring
responsibility, language classes, religious activities or other).
Additional methods/topics (i.e. how to ask open questions, Iceberg Model, excel sheets to
calculate products, tax expenditures and see win and loss, Sales Funnel, Sales Train, cultural
diversity of countries, information on funding bodies, business planning, videos on Business
Model Canvas in their mother tongue) could be useful.
Support for Seed Capital
Support to find grants for the entrepreneurs to enable them to be focused on their projects.
Support the participants more in accessing financial and funding opportunities.
A pitch training by experts would be useful, with a first session between light incubation events
and a second one before the final pitch session.
Offer incentives and support for the formalisation of informal businesses.
Deliverable: WP 4, Policy Brief
WP Leader: ZSI, AT Partner Countries: IT, DE, FR, BE, ES Version: V1.4, Vienna, 1.12.2018
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Conclusions & Policy Recommendations
Self-employment constitutes an important and growing part of the workforce across the European Union.
It is important to consider how the quality of self-employment can be improved. Traditional approaches
have sought to improve the quality of the business idea and increase its chances of success by upgrading
the skills of the entrepreneur, improving access to capital for starting and growing the business,
facilitating access to markets and strengthening entrepreneurship networks. Policy makers should
continue to offer specific support measures addressing the specific challenges, seeking to minimise
displacement and deadweight loss. However, addressing such emerging and new types of
entrepreneurship contains also risks. Policy makers must be careful when supporting people in self-
employment, especially as some may be better off as “normal” employees. Finally, implementing partners
address the following recommendations to policy makers:
General shaping policies
Public policy has a role in increasing the quality of self-employment work to maximise the
economic benefits. It is a particularly relevant policy issue given the increasing prevalence of self-
employment.
Continue to ease commercial trade regulations access for the target group.
It is important to keep in mind that such measures and incubation cycles should last longer than
measures for “regular” entrepreneurs. The recommendation is to support actions that last at least
12 months; appropriate financial support; enhanced integration into other support measures.
Especially the practice of in-kind funding as existing at present won’t hardly do.
Effectiveness needs to be understood considering both direct and indirect effect and along two
axes (time and place) that are hardly under control of programme management.
Instruments
Continue to use the full range of traditional policy instruments with progressive intensity to
improve the quality of business start-ups, favouring business ideas with an element of innovation.
Offer specific monetary & non-monetary support to migrant entrepreneurs.
A common understanding about the role of language and cultural mediation and of services
attached to the core programme offering is needed.
It is important to continue to offer such measures like MEnt to support migrant entrepreneurs in
maximising the potential of their businesses.
A wider scope of activities – with services ranging from mediation, micro-finance, psychological
support, regulatory and law support would definitively increase the value of similar programmes
and especially their effectiveness.
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Remarks, suggestions and other comments for similar measures
The implementing partners have identified a number of suggestions and potential improvements to
consider, which may be relevant to similar entrepreneurship support programmes for migrants and
refugees. These include (1) more peer to peer interaction between the entrepreneurs of the programme
and participants of other programmes, (2) more time spent on building mentors-mentees relationships,
gathering a community of volunteers who can help the entrepreneurs for very specific issues (a
translation, a crowdfunding campaign etc.), (3) access to grants for the entrepreneurs, (4) more time on
the exploration phase (market surveys, targets definition and needs identification), (5) more sessions on
soft skills (self-confident, autonomy, public speaking, etc.), (6) identify relevant experts and workshop
leaders to deliver certain content by meeting with participants in advance to a programme commencing,
(7) inviting successful and a broader variety of migrant entrepreneurs for inspiring talks, (8) stakeholders
and funding body representatives.
From an organisational perspective, the implementing partners recommend (9) taking even more time to
set up relevant networks and an ecosystem that will be supportive for the entrepreneurs before the
programme starts; (10) more time for the idea-development phase and (11) more time for participants to
support each other throughout the sessions.
The conclusions have been presented at the final conference of the project in Brussels in December 2018.
The free-to-use commented Toolkit for supporting migrant entrepreneurs with light incubation
is available from the website (http://www.mentproject.eu): http://www.mentproject.eu/ment-
light-incubation-toolkit/
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PROJECT IDENTITY
Project Name MEnt – Migrant Entrepreneurs team up with Mentors.
Consortium Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Vienna, Austria (Co-ordinator)
Somos más, Madrid
Kiron, Belgium and Germany, Berlin
MakeSense, Paris
Codici, Milano
avanzi, Sostenibilità per Azioni, Milano
Funding Scheme HOME/2015/AMIF/AG/INTE/9167
Duration 01 January 2017 – 31 December 2018
Website www.mentproject.eu
Authors Doris Kaiserreiner, project member at ZSI (kaiserreiner@zsi.at)
Carolina Pacchi, project member at avanzi S.R.L.
Lorenzo Scalchi, project member at Codici Ricerca e Intervento
Massimo Conte, project member at Codici Ricerca e Intervento
Lilly Scheuerpflug, project member at Kiron Germany
Contact Ms. Carmen Siller, project manager at ZSI (siller@zsi.at)
Further reading Project Evaluation:
Delivery Document D 2.1.
Delivery Document D 2.2.
Delivery Document D 3.1.
Delivery Document D 3.2.
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, OECD, 2012
Disclaimer The content of this Policy Brief does not reflect the official opinion of the
European Union. Responsibility for the information and views expressed
therein lies entirely with the author(s).
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