These Five Women Want to Change The Face of Entrepreneurship Among Refugees

These Five Women from Five Countries Want to Change The Face of Entrepreneurship Among Refugees and Marginalized Entrepreneurs.
The Dell Incorporated & United Nation Foundation PolicyHack Winners proposed formulating policies to support and connect co-working spaces and refugee entrepreneurs.

The atmosphere at the Impact Hub Dubai located in Dubai’s renowned downtown district was charged with a lot of innovative ideas from the five teams pitching at the Dell Inc & United Nations Foundation PolicyHack: Innovative Solutions for the Global Goals which took place on February 11, 2017, concurrently as the World Government Summit.

The pitch competition which focused on; “How can public policy promote entrepreneurship and advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?” forced each team to think beyond just ideas but innovative solutions that will tackle global development challenges.

Team One comprising of five women: Maha Al Hamed, Esther Agbarakwe, Lovisa Fhager, Frances Simpson-Allen, Belisa Marochi and Nida Sohail from 5 different countries were adjudged winners of the #DellPolicyHack.

They pitched about the many entrepreneurial potential refugees have but due to lack of access to support networks, financial resources and a general negative misconception about refugees in host countries, they are not able to pursue those entrepreneurial ideas.

According to studies into migrant entrepreneurship, refugees and marginalized people are very resourceful and hardworking group: having known hardship and taken huge risks to find a safe country to live in, they are ready to make difficult choices to see their business ideas succeed.

#DellPolicyHack Winning Team meets to move the winning idea forward. Credit: Esther Agbarakwe (Twitter).

In lieu of the above, Esther and her team-mates believed in the formulating and developing of an entrepreneurial policy that leverages on existing local ecosystem support in partnership with local governments. Part of the policy ideas touched on the following key areas:

  • Local entrepreneurs providing mentorship and coaching to these migrant entrepreneurs.
  • Community-based innovation hubs (Impact Hubs) granting access migrant entrepreneurs access to their co-working spaces, events and network
  • Provide education and training in business development, legal issues and technology (coding).
  • Governments to provide budget to support migrant entrepreneurs in their host country.

As it stands right now, asylum seekers and refugees have abandoned everything except their intellectual capital.

Our assumption that refugees want to depend on us, want to be ‘looked after’ by us is inconsistent with the value we place on the very independence that we see them to be avoiding.

A recent report shows that, Syrian refugees in Turkey have created about 1600 jobs in 2016 alone and in Australia, the highest proportion of their incomes as coming from “their own unincorporated businesses”- generating jobs not taking them.

Why don’t our governments and policy makers help them integrate into their new community and participate in the economical growth of their new home?

What do you think of this winning idea from this team? What innovative approach is your government adopting in support for refugees in your country? 

Image Credit: UN Foundation Flickr

Human Rights & InternetInnovationsSustainable Development GoalsTechnologyYouth Empowerment
Mac-Jordan Degadjor

Award winning Ghanaian Technology and Startup Enthusiast. Passionate about the inter-correlation of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation within the African tech ecosystem. Tweet: @MacJordan Got news, products or services to promote on the blog, reach out via hello[at]macjordangh[dot]com or (+233) 544335582