Members of M-UP (The Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow) came together for a collective workshop, with participants sharing a wealth of knowledge around furthering migrant entrepreneurship support in Europe through their organisations.
In September, Youth Business International (YBI) was involved in its second migrant entrepreneurship workshop under the European Union funded M-UP programme. Held in Amsterdam, the two-day event, ‘Migrant Entrepreneurship Support in Practice’, included a variety of speakers, working groups and activities; all bringing the opportunity to share perspectives, insights and experiences relating to migrant entrepreneurship.
M-UP is a consortium of 5 partners – YBI and SPARK alongside YBI members KIZ Sinnova (Germany) and MicroLab (Italy), as well as Youth Business Spain’s member in Catalonia, Autoocupació. They have come together for this two-year project to support organisations working with migrant entrepreneurs in Europe to navigate the challenges of growing and scaling their existing businesses.
The initiative includes holding regular workshops in Europe, online learning labs and advocacy meetings to help influence policy. It is funded by the EU’s COSME (Europe’s Programme for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) programme. This workshop brought two EU consortiums together – M-UP and fellow COSME project, MAGNET (Migrant Acceleration for Growth – Network for Entrepreneurship Training).
Through engaging directly with young entrepreneurs, M-UP is able to use the findings to advocate for government policy changes and ultimately break down the barriers that prevent migrant entrepreneurs from creating successful businesses. In turn, this contributes to improving and empowering communities, fostering integration, creating jobs, and therefore, improving the economy.
The opening day of the workshop focused on the pre-start up stage of businesses, with sessions including ‘Entrepreneurship in different contexts’ led by Aamir Rana, who is a part of the micro-entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise development movement in Pakistan. Other parallel working groups were held on specific pre-start up tools, including co-creating diverse entrepreneurial networks, entrepreneurship as a life skill and investing in new businesses.
Discussing ‘Migrant entrepreneurship support and lifelong learning’ as part of the first day of the workshop, Anna Faustman from Danube University Krems said that entrepreneurship is a strategy for migrants to improve the labour market situation:
“We know that migrants have higher start up rates all over the world which is really important to remember. We see that the migration experience and the access to transnational networks is a drive for innovation and could be a drive for integration.”
The second day focused on post-start up support with a session on how to deal with failure, led by Paul Louis Iske, from the School of Business and Economics at the University of Maastricht and Founder of the Institute of Brilliant Failures. Working group sessions generated discussions on post-start up tools and mentoring sessions were led by Jo Gray, YBI’s Head of Mentoring and Interim Director of Programme Delivery, Guillem Aris of Autoocupació and Ana Bejarano of Youth Business Spain. The importance of effectuation was the focus of the last session, led by Joerg Schoolmann of KIZ Sinnova.
The value of networking and bringing people together from different cultures and communities was highlighted in the feedback from the event. Participants acknowledged the importance of learning from various viewpoints and seeing a strong commitment to solve problems from the perspective of people moving to Europe. One of the participants concluded: “You need meetings like this to get connections off the ground”.
Other YBI Members who have recently decided to join the M-UP network are Youth Business Poland, Youth Business Spain, Smart Kolektiv (Serbia), microStart (Belgium) and Habitat (Turkey).
To find out more about M-UP, visit the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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