Incubators For Immigrants: Encouraging Entrepreneurship Among Europe’s Latest Arrivals

In the Netherlands, Incubators for Immigrants is giving refugees with entrepreneurial spirit the chance to put their business ideas into practice, start working, and be integrated into society as quickly as possible.

Author Hanadi Siering:

Translation Marisa Pettit, 05.11.16

One of the many challenges that new arrivals in Europe have to face is bureaucracy. And in the Netherlands it’s no different. It’s never easy finding your way and integrating into a new environment, especially when a bunch of bureaucratic hurdles are placed in front of you.

The organisation Incubators for Immigrants (IFI) is start up centre that works on the belief that every human being should have equal rights, and that means in the world of work too. Their members dedicate themselves to accompanying immigrants while they’re setting up their own private companies and helping them put their business plan into practice by supplying them with the necessary know-how, financial support and advice, so that they can become more professionally independent in their new lives in the Netherlands.

In this way – and this is the aim of the project – two birds can be killed with one stone: by allowing the refugees to take on meaningful jobs, the perceptions that people have of newcomers, and the prejudices they hold against them, can be turned into something positive. At the same time, refugees are allowed to put their ideas into practice and to start working, which can speed up the process of receiving a residence permit.

Incubators for Immigrants is a private initiative made up of entrepreneurs who have had enough of the distorted images and debates surrounding immigrants in their country, and want to create positive change in society. It’s part of a growing list of great projects that all set out to make life a little bit more livable for people caught up in the current crisis: like the phone number that helps refugees at sea, the web platform offering crucial info to Syrians in Lebanon, and the refugee-only online university, to name just a few.

Got a Business Plan? They Want to See It!

Any refugee with a business plan can submit it to IFI – it’s best if it’s in English (for those that don’t speak Dutch), but those who can’t speak English or Dutch (yet) can also submit their plans in their own language. IFI works together with volunteer translators, who help them out with any language issues. And of course they are inviting other businesses and donors to invest, donate or support them in whatever way possible.

For more information and current news on Incubators for Immigrants, visit their website or check them out on Facebook.

This article was translated from the original by Hanadi which appeared on our German language platform.

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