Albert Einstein, Bob Marley, Henry Kissinger, Jackie Chan. Each of them made history in their field. However, besides reaching excellence, there is at least another thing that these men shared. Can you guess it? Yes, they were all refugees.
You can find a famous migrant in each sector of our modern society, from the fashion industry – such as the top model and entrepreneur Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid – passing through the engineering field with Sir Alec Issigonis, the designer of the Mini car, to the Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Alongside such exceptional individuals, as we documented through Me4change successful stories, many migrants opened small businesses or are self-employed. Nonetheless, it is a fact that we are only scratching the surface of the real contribution that migrants can give to our society, and we need to provide support in order to replicate stories like the one of Adil Azzab, the filmmaker of “My name is Adil” or Firas, which created his own mobile company.
Starting a business represents a triple advantage for a migrant: create an autonomous way to obtain an income (economical advantage) and at the same time it increases the social status (social advantage), reducing the socio-economic exclusion to which they are particularly exposed and motivate them to create more connections with others and improve their communication skills (psychological advantage).
Societies also benefit from migrant entrepreneurs: the examples illustrated above show us that migrants bring new ideas, they can create new markets, or they can simply spot opportunities that locals have missed. That is to say that migrants contribute to the national economic growths. Hippolyte d’Albis, professor at the Paris School of Economics and senior researcher at CNRS, stated that those migrants do not deteriorate host countries’ economic performance or fiscal balance, because the increase in public spending induced by migrants is more than compensated by an increase in tax revenues net of transfers. In Italy for example, according to the last OECD data on immigration, in 2018 migrant’s work positively affect the GDP providing 1,7 billion of income to the peninsula.
That is why, as the British economist Philippe Legrain claimed, “Every migrant’s entrepreneurial aptitude, enthusiasm, and experience should be assessed, and appropriate training and specific support provided to prospective entrepreneurs, providing a clear pathway from pre-arrival to business launch […]. Our analysis tells us this would deliver a triple dividend: benefiting vulnerable groups; boosting the budget and improving community cohesion.”
In collaboration with Andrew Burridge, Legrain studied and analysed the best practices used worldwide to support migrant’s entrepreneurs and summarised them in a Seven Step List reported below.
Thanks to the support of our partners, ME4Change is working in many of these steps, giving particular importance to the upskilling through business training (Step 2), increasing connections using online platforms (Step 3), providing specific support with one on one tutoring approach (Step 6) and spotlighting success stories.
In this regard, do not forget that our final event is coming soon!
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