Today, in an article titled ‘Refugees turned entrepreneurs’, The Guardian focuses on some of the entrepreneurial refugees in the UK, and the challenges they face.
For example, Edin Basic, a Bosnian refugee, arrived in the UK unable to speak English but went on to co-found gourmet pizza company Firezza with fellow Bosnian refugee Adnan Medjedovic. Razan Alsous, a Syrian refugee, used a start-up loan of £2,500 from the Local Enterprise Agency to set up Yorkshire Dama Cheese in 2014.
Alexander Betts, RSC Director, comments in the article: “Around the world, refugees face significant restrictions on their economic lives…Most of the world’s refugees are not allowed to work. For those that are, there are other challenges: language, non-recognition of foreign qualifications, discrimination all pose barriers to finding a job. Refugees also face additional challenges in registering businesses and accessing banking facilities. But in spite of this, many refugees do set up small businesses, sometimes in the informal sector [self-employment].”
Highlighting how refugees can be ‘natural entrepreneurs’, he says: “For any migrant, it takes a certain amount of enterprise to be able to leave your home and travel to a new country. But for refugees there is the additional need to adapt: when people are forced to flee they have to adapt – to new social networks, new markets, and new regulation.”
He further highlights the need for a more auspicious environment for budding business owners, for example, “regulating against discrimination by banks, and supporting business incubators”.
The article also speaks to the co-founder of The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN), Charlie Fraser. TERN helps refugees in self-employment and setting up their own company in the UK, with programmes offering access to business mentoring and expert advice.
Read the article here >>
Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development