The Home Office, alongside The National Lottery Community Fund, has offered business startup training to 112 refugees in a year-long pilot entrepreneurship-support programme confirmed today.
The programme, overseen by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, has funded four local business support organisations which trained up the refugees.
The success of the pilot has helped three of the four business bodies to bag £1.7m to expand the programme beyond its pilot locations – with plans to support another 585 refugees over the next 18 months.
“The excellent results from this pilot show just how much drive and ambition refugees have to succeed, and I’m thrilled that the pilot has helped reveal such desire for entrepreneurship,” minister for immigration compliance, Justice Chris Philip said.
The entrepreneurial pilot will help refugees support themselves, and forms part of the employment element of the £14m refugee transitionsoutcome fund (RTOF) announcedin March 2021.
The RTOF, a shared initiative between the Home Office,DWP and DCMS, will support around2,000 refugeesto integrate in the UK.
Alongside integration, the programme will aid refugees in accessing housing, employment,and entrepreneurship support in the UK.
The pilot was launched during the pandemic, however, the global crisis did not get in the way of 25 per cent of refugees who took part going on to register their business or had begun trading by the end of it.
Another 40 per cent were preparing to open their companies for business in industries like IT, hospitality, agriculture and marketing, within 12 months.
Elly De Decker, England Director at The National Lottery Community Fund said: “This report confirms the significant potential that can be harnessed by supporting entrepreneurs from refugee communities to develop their business ideas.
“Participants in the programme were clearly passionate about contributing to their communities through their business ideas.”