EU Imminent – Immigrants into entrepreneurship (EU-Imminent)

Published on: 04/01/2010

EU-Imminent is an Interactive Business Start-up Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs. It is a European Union Leonardo da Vinci funded initiative, established to design and pilot a web-based information/training resource specifically for immigrant entrepreneurs looking to set up their own Business. It will be developed taking into account the specific needs of Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities in establishing a business.

EU-Imminent is a partnership, offering expertise in both business and immigrant issues. It constitutes an ideal platform for the development of a high quality-training tool for immigrant entrepreneurs. Together we comprise two SME support organisations in the UK and Ireland; a migrant rights network focusing on social and economic inclusion of migrants in the UK; Romania’s national and international association for small business and entrepreneurs; the largest Polish Chamber of Commerce; and a business training and consultancy provider from Northern Ireland. It is anticipated that the resource tool will provide interactive information/training materials for new and existing businesses consolidating current resources into one easily accessible vehicle.

Policy Context

Over the past century, businesses set up by migrant communities have made an increasingly substantial contribution to many national economies across Europe. In the UK, for example, ethnic minorities are estimated to be 60% more likely to start their own business than the rest of the population (with those of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin leading the way), and such businesses contribute approximately £15 billion to the British economy every year.

The policy context for migrant-led entrepreneurialism in Europe has shifted significantly in recent years as a result of changing geo-political circumstances and diverse migration flows. Following the expansion of the European Union in 2004 and 2007 to a further twelve member states, inter-EU movement and the potential for business development across borders has been boosted. Many Eastern European countries such as Romania and Poland have now become significant ‘sending countries’ for people now able to exercise their right to self-employment across the EU. Numbers of refugees and economic migrants moving from countries within Africa and the Middle East to the European Union have also substantially increased since the early 1990s.

The recent growth in immigrant communities across their EU, and their highly diverse nature, has significant implications for the ability of migrant communities to develop new enterprises. The business development patterns of new communities vary substantially, with particular support needs emerging. In particular, immigrants are less likely to take up business training than other groups, whilst business-training organizations are often poorly equipped to train immigrants. Individuals from immigrant communities often face other barriers to mainstream business development through lack of language skills, unfamiliarity with institutional frameworks and absence of clear and targeted guidance. Targeted business support, especially in dynamic areas such as entrepreneurship is essential, if immigrants are to fulfil their potential as individuals and as contributors to economic growth and social stability.

The aim of EU-IMMINENT (Immigrants into Entrepreneurship) is to redress this imbalance by effectively identifying and training immigrants as entrepreneurs, by  providing tailoring learning support via a multi-lingual web-site to immigrants who may be considering setting up their own business. The project will also inform business trainers, business VET providers and policy makers about the particular needs of the immigrant population.

Description of target users and groups

Immigrant entrepreneurs – those who wish to explore the idea of setting up a business in their destination country, those who have just started a business and business support organisations and those supporting and offering services to immigrant community

Description of the way to implement the initiative

EU-IMMINENT aims to provide tailored learning support by building on previous work carried out under two EU-funded projects already completed: EMERGE and Green Entrepreneurs. Both projects produced on-line resources for would-be entrepreneurs, and the learning from these projects informs the activities under EU-IMMINENT.

The project is managed by Bandridge District Enterprises Limited.

Technology solution

The technology solution is to produce a new elearning tool.  The training tool will be rigorously piloted, and the end version will be the subject of an extensive dissemination campaign to encourage active uptake and use of these products by immigrants considering or who have the potential to become entrepreneurs.

Main results, benefits and impacts

The project is still ongoing, therefore information on its results will be provided when the project will be completed, i.e. after October 2010.

Lessons learnt

The project is still ongoing, therefore information on lessons learnt will be provided when the project will be completed, i.e. after October 2010.

Scope: Cross-border