TURNING REFUGEES INTO ENTREPRENEURS
THE HUMAN IMPACT: Refugees can positively impact their new environments when they are given opportunities. Local business and entrepreneurship has always been a powerful way for refugees to take control of their own careers and integrate into community life.
THE NUMBERS IMPACT: Singa operates in France, Morocco, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Québec. Singa has been working on changing the perspective of a population that mainly views refugees as a problem. Even in countries that have traditionally been more welcoming of refugees, the recent large scale of new arrivals has scared many and created a situation in which more and more European citizens are starting to see refugees uniquely as a problem.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Singa is helping refugees to launch ventures and to become powerful ambassadors for the contributions that refugees can make to society. SINGA’s objective is to improve the social and economic integration of refugees in their new host countries through a better support of refugees and through changing the way host societies perceive them. One of the ways Singa operates is through developing entrepreneurship within refugee communities by mobilizing the host society. Concretely, they support a refugee entrepreneur by connecting him or her with locals who share the same passion and have skills that can not only help develop his or her project but also get a better understanding of the new country he or she is in. This allows the host society to perceive refugees for what they can actually do and bring to their new country rather than perpetuating untrue stereotypes.
WHO STARTED IT? Nathanaël is an entrepreneur – several times over, despite his young age – and a citizen of the world. He grew up with refugees throughout his childhood as an expatriate in Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Morocco and France. At the age of 24, Nathanaël co-founded Singa, which in two years became the first organization in France to support refugees in the creation of entrepreneurial projects related to their passions. Nathanaël recently founded Waya, a new organization that brings together innovators improving host communities as well as services for people on the move.
HOW HELLO EUROPE IS HELPING: Helping Singa already expand into Germany, and using Ashoka international network to support expansion into new countries and to affect change in European policy.
WHAT THEY NEED NOW: Introductions with host communities and local partners, as well as funders to help Singa consolidate their international growth and continue to scale throughout Europe and beyond. They are also currently developing an international office to help scale more effectively to new countries.