Covid-19 certainly didn’t stop the third annual event of the European Migrants Entrepreneurship Network (EMEN) project! On the contrary, in the month of June the EMEN Consortium hosted a series of four webinars on the subject of “unlocking diversity”, where each webinar analysed the way diversity specifically contributes to the development of new businesses and to the better inclusion and integration of vulnerable groups into society and cities. In the particular context of Covid-19, this was also a time to reflect on the capacities of migrant entrepreneurs to overcome crises.
The topic of the first webinar was Access to finance in times of crisis, which highlighted inclusive finance, new types of financing such as crowdfunding, the involvement of different stakeholders in businesses, and help from public authorities -especially the European Union- as key solutions for the development and success of migrant entrepreneurs.
The second webinar then focused on Resilience of diverse cities and communities in times of crisis. Unlocking diversity is a pathway to inclusion and integration, a way to reduce inequalities and a contribution to everyone’s quality of living: the intervention of our Secretary General Antonella Valmorbida on the topic revealed that local authorities are the real engine in providing the needed answers to their communities as well as in addressing difficulties and social challenges. By presenting projects implemented by ALDA that aim to foster diversity and promote inclusion at the local level, she highlighted that the synergies between local authorities and civil society should be even more enhanced, as reflected in the very core of ALDA’s mission: the strengthening of the resilience of local communities and the promotion of diversity. Read more about this webinar HERE.
The third session in the series, in turn, brought attention to the essence of migrant entrepreneurship and business associations. Panelists demonstrated that inclusive entrepreneurship contributes to social inclusion and gives all people an equal opportunity to start and generate businesses. Today, it’s time for institutions and public authorities to re-imagine and rethink migrant entrepreneurs development and integration through the establishment of a new and more inclusive entrepreneurship framework.
Finally, the series came to an end with a discussion on Corporate Social Responsibility support in times of crisis. Corporate Social Responsibility, i.e. the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society, means choosing continuous improvement and inclusiveness of various issues to have a more positive impact on stakeholders, society and the environment on a regular basis; it is, thankfully, an increasing practice in the business field as well as a great way to meet tomorrow’s challenges – from environmental issues to social inequalities, diversity and digitalization.
All four webinars invited civil society, classical businesses and public authorities to think about how migrants can be supported in order for them to develop new activities and be integrated in their host society, and many encouraging solutions were proposed. Unlocking diversity is a beautiful human adventure that is worth the effort! The series aptly mirrors the engagement of the EMEN Consortium in creating a European network of organisations to support the economic integration of migrant entrepreneurs through the implementation of three Communities of Practice, i.e. coaching and mentoring; access to finance; and professionalisation of migrant entrepreneurs’ associations.
EMEN – European Migrants Entrepreneurship Network: crossing borders for financial and business development services is a 3-year project within the COSME programme with a 12-partner Consortium which works on developing, sharing and promoting support schemes for individual migrant entrepreneurs and for social and inclusive enterprises benefitting migrants.
Visit the dedicated project website: www.emen-project.eu.