Entrepreneurial refugees will have the opportunity to develop the skills to launch their own businesses through a new pilot scheme led by a Bristol social enterprise.
The one-year programme builds on research previously conducted in the city and aims to provide people with the support they need to get an idea off the ground.
ACH Bristol, a social enterprise specialising in refugee integration and employment services, is leading the project.
ACH CEO Fuad Mahamed said: “As an entrepreneur myself I have been keen to see changes within the business support ecosystem so more individuals from refugee communities are able to develop their own businesses. This grant allows us to take forward our innovative plans to build a service for Bristol’s underrepresented communities that is accessible, relevant and focused on their specific cultural and business needs.
“This project allows us to help these individuals realise their dreams, and at the same time provides the opportunity for existing business support organisations to learn from our lived experience and professional understanding of refugee entrepreneurial requirements.
“I am confident this pilot will be successful in establishing a new business ecosystem supporting successful thriving entrepreneurial refugees within Bristol, and by example across the UK.”
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Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK has world leading resettlement programmes which provide sanctuary to thousands of the most vulnerable refugees every year.
“It is vital that these refugees are given the best chance to flourish. This project will help them to build businesses and make a real success of their new lives in Bristol.”
Mark Purvis, deputy director for England at The National Lottery Community Fund added: “By putting people in the lead and championing entrepreneurship, this project, made possible by National Lottery players, will support refugees to fulfil their potential and thrive.”
ACH aims to work with more than 100 refugees, most of whom are living in Bristol.
The pilot is one of four programmes across the UK and has been influenced, and builds upon, a previous research project which had been co-funded by ACH, Engine Shed, the University of Bristol and West of England Growth Hub in 2018.
In the long-run, ACH intends to support refugees new to entrepreneurship; existing business owners looking to strengthen their foundations; and ambitious entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses with tailored support that meets their needs.
Main photo from Destination Bristol