A pilot to encourage refugee entrepreneur programmes across the UK has been launched with the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) with funding from the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, the Immigration Minister has announced.
The one year pilot jointly funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, will identify established local business support organisations to deliver tailored start-up programmes that will take refugees from idea stage to business launch.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those that need it and we are committed to making sure that refugees can successfully integrate to life in the UK.
“This exciting new programme gives refugees the opportunity to build businesses, leading to further independence as they rebuild their lives in the UK. We will continue to collaborate with civil society and businesses to ensure that we deliver the best possible support to those who choose to make this country their home.”
Centre for Entrepreneurs chairman Oliver Pawle said: “We are grateful for support from the Home Office and the National Lottery Community Fund in helping us realise the vision we set out in our report last year. This pilot is the first step in helping many more refugees rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship.”
England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, James Harcourt, said: “By putting people in the lead and championing entrepreneurship, this project, made possible by National Lottery players, will support refugees to fulfil their potential and thrive.”
Former refugee and co-founder of Firezza Pizza Edin Bašić said: “Back in 1992 when I received asylum in the UK, no support like this was available. Starting Firezza Pizza took me years of hard work, but others in my situation were not as fortunate. With programmes like this, stories like mine can stop being the exception to the rule.”
The pilot will be launched at an event in London on Monday 22 July. The one day summit will convene business support organisations to explore the entrepreneurial potential of refugees. Organisations will share insight from refugee-focused development programmes, carried out in the UK and overseas, which provide training and mentoring space to help grow the business.