It is time to meet our last EEPA 2019 category winner, German project “Start-Up Your Future” the winner of the Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship category at the EEPA finals at the SME Assembly 2019 in Helsinki.
“Start-Up Your Future” is a pilot project of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland (WJD), funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It aims to help refugees in Berlin-Brandenburg to set up their own businesses by giving them support and offering them the option of self-employment through mentoring partnerships with Gründerpaten. The mentorships invite voluntary mentors to guide refugee entrepreneurs through the founding process, from brainstorming ideas to writing a business plan. Since the project began, 185 mentorships have been implemented, 207 refugees have been helped in their business ventures and 22 businesses have received support.
How did you first hear about the national competition and why did you decide to enter?
We heard about the national competition from Ms. Kummer from RKW Kompetenzzentrum and saw it as a good opportunity to encourage others to get involved in the field of the social and economic integration of refugees and migrants. By entering the national competition, we got the chance to present our programme and share positive success stories with a wider audience.
What was it like to win the award?
Being awarded with an EEPA prize is a great honour for us. Winning this award shows us that our efforts to successfully establish a target group-oriented offer for refugees who want to become founders have paid off. Special thanks go to our volunteer mentors, who have contributed significantly to this success story. We would also like to thank our founders, who brought this mentoring program alive with their good ideas. Unfortunately, our team could not be present at the SME Assembly so we would also like to thank our EEPA National Coordinator Ms. Kummer from the RKW who represented us and accepted our prize on our behalf. Thank you very much!
How did winning the award impact your work?
It is really motivating to have your work recognised at European level. The award is very important for both national and international visibility for the project and represents an opportunity to disseminate the project and increase its replication potential.
Why should others enter EEPA 2020? What advice would you give them?
We would definitely recommend participating in EEPA as it is a good opportunity to exchange experiences and views with other European organisations.
What are your plans for the future?
Start-Up Your Future has constantly learned from ongoing activities and improved its structure over the course of the last 2.5 years. We have learnt that our approach can be applied to other target groups and regions and hope to see the concept expand. The final project evaluation also underlined the strong potential to transfer the Start-Up Your Future approach elsewhere. The evaluation further highlighted that mentorships between voluntary entrepreneurs and refugees and migrants are a valid way to foster integration on a social and economic level.
The project funding will expire by March 2020, so the final phase will focus on the examination of the key learnings, which will be available and published in the first quarter of 2020.
Keep coming back to Promoting Enterprise for more EEPA 2019 winner testimonials and don’t forget to watch their winning moments on our YouTube channel: