Startup Refugees launches Finland’s first and only fund to support the founders of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants and their start-ups. The fund challenges the myth of “three white men building a start-up garage” and diversifies the Finnish startup ecosystem.
Startup Refugees has been supporting refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in entrepreneurship since 2015. 380 newcomers have already participated in Startup Refugees entrepreneurship courses and 52 companies have been established.
“We believe that refugees and other newcomers bring huge economic and human potential to Finland. With the right support at the right time, they can build their own lives and harness the entrepreneurial potential that comes with it. We are now looking for pioneering companies and individuals to donate to the fund and directly support underrepresented founders, ”says CEO of Startup Refugees. Elisa Vepsäläinen.
One of the founders of the Startup Refugees Business Program is Anna Sambou, an experienced entrepreneur from the Gambia, and one of the founders of the Heemlig online platform, which connects households with local home care professionals.
“Being an immigrant should not limit my success as an entrepreneur. Finland is my second home, and I want to boost the country’s economic growth with my business and create more jobs. The biggest challenge for my start-up is financial .
All Donations from the Startup Refugees Fund go directly to underrepresented founders who have a promising business idea or a viable business but are not yet attracting investors. The financing can be used for rent, tools, housing costs or anything else a start-up entrepreneur desperately needs. The first founders to receive funding will be elected next spring.
The Startup Refugees Fund will be launched on December 1 at SLUSH in Startup Refugees mode in the 6C.11 Partner Area. The space has four founders, supported by Startup Refugees and Startup Refugees staff.
Slush guests can donate to the fund at or through the Startup Refugees Space in Slush www.startuprefugeesfund.com
Startup Refugees supports asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in employment and entrepreneurship. The Startup Refugees network includes more than 1,000 companies, public sector actors, the community, educational institutions and individuals. More than 1,060 people have already been employed through Startup Refugees, and our entrepreneurship program has supported more than 380 new immigrants in entrepreneurship.