ME4Change Final Event: What’s next?

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“It was the Final Event but does not mean that there is an endWe created a cycle: inspired and be inspired!”

After an exciting journey made of dreams and projects, arrived the time for our migrapreneurs, together with who support them, present their business ideas to an external audience. On 28th May, the ME4Change Final Event took place in Italy, Milan, under the coordination of X23, FGB, and ICEI – and hosted by FGB, at the LUISS Hub for makers and students.

The ME4Change Project was created with the primary objective to construct something real for the migrants, creating an atmosphere where they can exploit their new opportunities, developing business skills to improve them as entrepreneurs. Two years ago, the point of departure was the problem of the lack of social inclusion for the immigration flow, which unfortunately is still a reality.  In attempting to fight for an integration of these people and to demonstrate them that everything is possible, the project was a result of twenty-four months of intense activities regarding the main objective to stimulate the vein of entrepreneurship for the migrants in Italy, German, Belgium, and Finland.

The event started at 10:24 and finished by a fantastic workshop at 15:00, under the guidance of Luca Tripeni Zanforlin. During the day, the participants could even try a light lunch, appreciating the view of the garden in front of the LUISS Hub, on a beautiful sunny day.

With the greetings from the Coordinator – Giuseppe Laquidara, CEO at X23 – the participants, Associated Partners, and the migrapreneurs were introduced to the Final Event of the ME4Change Project. The Coordinator grateful the contribution of all partners during the twenty-four months and point out that “Final Event” it is just a figure form to say, considering that this journey does not arrive at the end. The future of our migrapreneurs reserves new ways, and now they have a renovate perspective and good networking to follow.

After the first greeting, the word took to Debora Greco – Partner in Fondazione Brodolini and Pitch Event Host, presenting the daily agenda for the event. Then, Alfredo Luis Somoza took the word – President of ICEI (Institute of International Economic Cooperation), who talked about the importance of the thematic of ME4Change Project for the integration of culture and economy, becoming one of the protagonist’s subjects all over Europe, contributing with sharing good practices under countries.

Marika Mazzi Boém – Innovation Strategy Director at X23 – then introduced an overview of the ME4Change’s motivations and the results achieved during the two years of commitment. Marika emphasized the aspects regarding each partner during the project implementation, demonstrating that it was a joint and coordinated work. The Director also said a few words regarding the number of participants on the events, the number of migrants and its main origins and about the social media work.

Then, the representative of the Municipality of Milan, Giuseppina Corvino, said a few words about the inspirational work of the ME4Change for the community, pointing that the Municipality of Milan always support projects with this scope, in reason of the significant contribution not only for the migrants in the city of Milan but also for the Italian citizens. 

After the overview of the ME4Change results, it was presented the phases, and the activities carried out along the project within the various partner’s countries. At Milan, Elena Visentin and Francesca Menozzi – representing the ICEI & FGB, shows the activities and perspectives made in the city of Milan, talking about the approach and methodology implemented on trainings and also who are the protagonists of the programs. On the German experience, Tamara – Migration Hub Network, shows to the public the topics approached and the areas that were explored on the events. Finland’s experience was also a rich one and, besides the view of what they implemented, Turo Numminen – from Junior Achievement, pointing out what they also learn during the whole period.

To close the morning agenda in style, the three protagonists of the event took place.

Ladies first, Vanessa Sesma e Irma Rodriguez Casas presented their business idea called Terra Viva, thanking all the contribution of their Milan mentors. Inspired by their Mexican origins, they intend to export for Italy some Mexican biological products (some even exotic from Latin America) and adapted them to the Italian culinary culture. They aimed to share the flavor of Mexico! The brand was presented with an amazing video, showing a preview of what can come.

Then, our other protagonist was Papa Dethie Faye from Senegal and who lives in Milan. He presented his concept to produce a line of T-shirts with the brand called “Teranga” and a picture of a lion. The idea was born after the author was a victim of some episodes of racism, and the choice of the brand name Teranga has a reason. The word “Teranga” on Papa’s country means hospitality, respect, kindness, joy, and acceptance. Thus, to fight against discrimination, Papa created a product that shows solidarity from its origin until the production, also using a wax textile that reproduces the typical Senegalese clothes.

The last one was Munzer Khatab, Arabic, who lives in German and one of the three co-founders of the app called “BureauCrazy”. The concept was originated from some difficulty that Munzer lived when he moved to German. Without knowing the language and facing a huge bureaucracy in its legalization process that he had no idea how it worked, Munzer realized that he could create an application to help people in the same situation he faced a few years ago. The propose is to guide those who just arrived in German, facilitating the integration process on the German community.

After a delicious lunch and a little bit of coffee and desserts, the public move from to a dedicated room to start a Workshop with the guidance of Luca Tripeni Zanforlin. The mentor divided the public into two groups and propose some works related to something really sweet: chocolate industry! The objective was creating a new business project for one specific company who produces chocolate in Italy. The groups thought about the type of product or service, the destination, target public, and also the duration and costs of the project.

After almost one hour and a half of work, discuss and lots of laughs, the Final Event was closed with a video showing a compilation of what happened in the last two years and the closing greetings made by Fondazione Brodolini.

The event was a success, as well as our entire journey (video-documentary here). The best thing is that this is not the end of our road; it is just a change for a different cycle. Now we have new challenges to keep the project alive, maintaining the interest through the link with other related programs. The mentioned ME4Change Coalition, ME4Change Training Programme, and the MigraProgram will comes with new purposes for all those involved in the twenty-four months of work. So, we invited you all to our new second phase of ME4Change: everyone is welcome!

The pitch celebration event was organised by X23, FGB and ICEI, hosted by FGB and supported by the Italian partners. It is worthing to be mentioned, that, of course, such an event wouldn’t happen without the support by the Municipality of Milan.

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