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The Human Safety Net for Refugees

The situation

More than 50% of newcomers to Switzerland have a university degree. However, language and cultural barriers, and often a lack of recognition of their previous careers, make it difficult for them to get started in their new country. They also lack the social network and knowledge to navigate the Swiss education system and job market. Being turned down and experiencing unemployment lead to psychological problems, social isolation and dependence on state welfare.

 

 

Our goal

We believe that the knowledge and skills that people from refugee or migrant backgrounds can provide are an opportunity for our society. The “Human Safety Net for Refugees” programme helps them reach their potential and encourages them to discover and develop their skills as entrepreneurs. The programme takes between four and twelve months to complete. In addition to teaching the basics, it also focuses on coaching and mentoring. In this way, we help some of the participants to become self-employed, and we facilitate access to the job market for others. Small start-up loans are also part of the programme. Professional and social integration through entrepreneurship, as well as equal exchange, are therefore key features of the programme. Our employees also play an active role as coaches and mentors.

 

 

Partners & initiatives

Capacity: talent & start-up incubator

Our partner Capacity brings locals and newcomers together, with the focus on the joint exchange of skills. Through its two entrepreneurship programmes, the start-up incubator promotes the talent of people in Switzerland with a refugee or migrant background. Both of the four-month programmes consist of a combination of mentoring, workshops and soft-skills training sessions. The aim is to give the budding entrepreneurs the skills required to start their own business or socio-cultural initiative in Switzerland.

 

In the Launch programme, the aspiring entrepreneurs are taught the basics they require to develop their start-up ideas. They define their project framework and outline the first steps of their prototype’s development. After the Launch programme, it’s time for the participants to get down to business. In the subsequent Boost and Elevate programme, the business idea enters the implementation phase. Participants develop business plans, implement marketing and communication measures, budget planning and accounting.

 

In addition to the skills they acquire, the participants learn about the entrepreneurial side of Switzerland and get to expand their social and professional networks.

 

 

Impact in 2020

  • 29 migrants and refugees were able to benefit from the programmes
  • 6 participants have founded a sole proprietorship or a non-profit organisation
  • 2 participants were able to generate their first profits
  • 3 participants have received microcredits
  • 5 participants plan to start their business in the next six months
  • 6 participants have found a new job or started an apprenticeship/university degree

 

More information on Capacity.