Exciting New Projects to Move Refugees into Work and Self-employment

MENTA entrepreneurship project – for Norwich, Ipswich and Peterborough

The Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP) from the East of England LGA is acting as a strategic partner for a one-year pilot project to encourage refugee entrepreneurs to establish businesses, which was launched in October 2019.

The pilot is part of a programme jointly funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, which will be overseen by the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE). It will be delivered by MENTA, who already provide training and advice to both established and new businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk. Through the SMP’s work with local refugee support organisations we have enrolled 27 refugee entrepreneurs from Peterborough, Ipswich and Norwich on the course. Many of these people have previously run businesses but have been facing a range of obstacles to starting again in the region. The businesses that people want to establish include catering, hair & beauty, import/export, trades (tiling, electrician, decorating, metal-working), tailoring and clothes production, retail and marketing.

The barriers that refugees face to establishing businesses and finding work are many and varied. They include a lack of knowledge of local connections and networks, the need to obtain specific qualifications (such as CSCS cards for the construction industry or a food hygiene certificate), not understanding how the UK job market operates and how to apply for contracts, handling interviews and the resulting lack of confidence in their ability to overcome these barriers.

If you have any ways that you would like to support these talented entrepreneurs, we would be happy to hear from you:

Louise.gooch@eelga.gov.uk or monica@menta.org.uk