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A surfeit of support for migrant entrepreneurs? 1 May 2018

Posted by cooperatoby in Migrant entrepreneurship.
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Are there too many projects competing for the attention of organisations supporting migrant business?

Sara, Lale Golesorkhi, Beslan Karatay and Robert Seko with Farid Bidardel of Social Impact

We have an interesting problem in EMEN, the European Migrant Entrepreneurship Network. We have set up 3 communities of practice (CoPs) on topics key to supporting migrant businesses – coaching and mentoring; access to finance; and professionalisation and diversity management. But we’re having trouble recruiting members. We drew 50 people to our first conference in Munich on 23-24 April, but we’d aimed at 100. It’s early days yet – we’ve only just held our first conference – and I’m sure things will come right as we gain momentum. Our concrete products will draw in participants, and this will feed more products, and so on in a virtuous circle.
But right now it’s looking as if we’ve an oversupply of helpful projects. The Commission is supporting 12 new ones, and there are others in Erasmus+. We’re trying to ensure synergies via the migrent-agenda shared calendar.
However in the finance field at least, it seems that although everybody agrees it’s a vital topic, they are too busy doing their thing to talk about it with their peers. Discussing it in Munich, we came up with the idea that we are targeting the wrong people. Of course we’ve been contacting the people at the top of their organisations, and they are typically submerged under a flood of potentially interesting invitations. Maybe the people we need are at the middle levels of their organisations, the sort of people who would really benefit from discussing their operational problems and solutions with others in the same boat.
I very much enjoyed our event, and the two CoP sessions worked well. We are now looking for chances to stage ‘piggyback’ workshops on the fringes of other relevant migrant entrepreneurship events, to ‘warm up’ the relationships at their core.

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