Immigrant entrepreneurs are becoming a very important part of the economic landscape in many urban cities of the world contributing to the phenomenon of globalisation. More than ever, in the context of the refugee crisis, European city leaders and decision makers need pragmatic, relevant and practical advice to address the migrant integration challenges and develop effective migrant integration strategies to help utilise the potential of immigration.
Rotterdam Has a Model for Solution
The Rotterdam Business Case, founded in The Netherlands, provides help to struggling entrepreneurs. The pilot began in Rotterdam in 2012 to support entrepreneurs operating below the poverty line. The goal was simple; to help entrepreneurs help the economy! Or, in other words: “To increase income and economic sustainability by improving entrepreneurial skills and vision.” The pilot soon became a project – The Rotterdam Business Case – which since then has supported more than 800 entrepreneurs in the Rotterdam region to get their enterprises back on track. In November 2016 The Rotterdam Business Case was awarded a European Enterprise Promotion Award in the category ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’.
Project Has Been Scaling Up
The concept is based on a tripartite cooperation between the University of Applied Sciences, the City of Rotterdam and a foundation made up of successful retired entrepreneurs (OKB). The retired entrepreneurs act as senior coaches for the struggling entrepreneurs by providing advice and mentoring to overcome obstacles and challenges. Their role is to encourage the struggling entrepreneur to regain control and help to draw up a re-start plan. The students from the University of Applied Sciences act as junior coaches and provide practical assistance for the re-start by streamlining/reorganising the administration, drawing up a cost-calculation, and drafting reports to plan out the various aspects of the re-start (business plan or acquisition plan). This successful cooperative approach is described with the slogan ‘Young and Old Is Gold’. One of the first results from scaling up is the start of a Finnish project in the City of Tampere. The City of Tampere, the University of Applied Sciences and Pirkanmaa Business Mentors, a local Business Mentor organisation, started a partnership to assist first time entrepreneurs using the Rotterdam Concept.
Rotterdam Business Case Implementation in Tampere
At the moment we have an ongoing pilot in Tampere based on the Rotterdam Business Case. Its objective is to develop services to promote and support migrant entrepreneurs, who are facing challenges in running a business. The pilot is based on studies that have shown that the challenges most often faced are lack of capital, inadequate Finnish language skills, competition, distrust from locals and lack of understanding of business legislation and marketing aspects of Finnish society. In our pilot we are aiming to create a mentoring process model. With help and smart advice from the Rotterdam team we are proceeding fast with service implementation. At the beginning of April, we were happy to host guests from Rotterdam in Tampere and share our experiences in the field. During the visit we were able to have productive discussions on the Business Case implementation process and share practical advice on building the foundation and partnerships for a better execution of the project.
Sausages Finland Ltd, our migrant entrepreneur case that produce raw sausages, are facing challenges with understanding the Finnish customer market. With the help of junior and senior mentors they are working on a marketing strategy in order to develop better engagement of current customers and find ways to reach new customers. We already have new immigrant entrepreneurs interested in participating in the programme, therefore we see a great potential and a positive outcome of the process development and project implementation. Very soon we are hoping to widen the potential target group and offer our services to Finnish entrepreneurs, as they have a need for similar services.
For more information on the Rotterdam Business Case implementation process in Tampere please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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