According to the Migration Policy Group, migrant entrepreneurship has received increasing attention from policy makers, stakeholders and scholars. As the specialists indicated, “In both the Action Plan for the integration of third-country nationals and the 2020 Entrepreneurship Action Plan, the European Commission emphasises that entrepreneurship represents an alternative form of decent and sustainable employment for migrants” (2019).
Many studies and policy-making reports have called for interventions to provide training opportunities and exchange of best practices for incubation professionals who work with a super-diverse population of current or aspiring migrant entrepreneurs, “characterized by very heterogeneous cultural and institutional backgrounds, business knowledge and needs, expectations, and levels of integration in the countries of destination” (MIG.EN.CUBE, 2021).
Following this trend, there is a growing number of programs dedicated to supporting migrant entrepreneurship in the context of Europe – which has, indeed, positively impacted the group and society as a whole. On the other hand, it has also produced a fragmented landscape with many actors offering different services to different groups of entrepreneurs.
MIG.EN.CUBE: Supporting Migrant Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Incubators
MIG.EN.CUBE, which stands for Migrant Entrepreneurship Incubation in Europe, is a program created to address the highlighted issue across the region from the perspective of incubation professionals: it envisions the enhancement of knowledge and competencies of the people who deal with current or aspiring migrant entrepreneurs on a regular basis.
Migrants have become an active part of European countries. Migrant entrepreneurship is a way to not only integrate migrants in local economies but also to enhance the own country’s economic performance”. MIG.EN.CUBE, 2021.
Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and led by Impact Hub and other consortium partners, the project (which is divided into four main phases) began in December 2020 and will run until February 2023. Currently in its third phase, MIG.EN.CUBE has the following overall objectives:
- increase the understanding of any specific incubation needs of migrant entrepreneurs and of the competencies required for incubation professionals working with them;
- systematise and share best practices for innovative incubation programmes for migrants across Europe;
- provide incubation professionals/organisations with new, tried-and-tested materials and tools for advising, training, performing, and assessing incubation for migrant entrepreneurs.
To ensure that the expected impact is effectively generated, two elements have been central to the project from the start — and will remain central until the end: the acknowledgement of the context’s diversity of incubation professionals that carry out these activities for example, they belong to a vast array of sectors, such as private companies, civil society organisations, or public institutions; and the recognition of the super-diversity of migrant entrepreneurs, be it in terms of legal status (e.g. type of residence permit), nationality, business motivations or business models.
As part of the LIAISE program, Impact Hub joined forces with the European Business and Innovation Centre Network and the European Venture Philanthropy Association to achieve systemic change through enhancing Business Support Organisations’ skills, methods and approach towards entrepreneurs from different social backgrounds. To that end, Communities of Practice (CoP) were created for participants to share their knowledge and experience on how to best support entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. MIG.EN.CUBE was one of the CoP’s programmatic approaches appointed as an inspiring best practice towards supporting vulnerable entrepreneurs.
If you are eager to learn more about MIG.EN.CUBE’s different phases and expected outputs, you can visit the project’s website.