Refugee Entrepreneurs Platform
"Thanks to my inclusion on the Refugee Entrepreneurs platform, I've gained more visibility, more followers on my social networks and more credibility for my work. I got jobs in Bahia and São Paulo because they found me through the platform. I can't express my gratitude enough."
- Rikler, born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently living in Rio de Janeiro, where he founded the gastronomic project Chez Kimberly Food.
The project in brief
The project is implemented by UNHCR Brazil and the UN Global Compact in Brazill, with strategic partners.
Launched in 2021, Refugee Entrepreneurs Platform lists more than 150 businesses from refugee entrepreneurs and provides information to persons willing to start or expand their business activities. There is one dedicated section aimed at informing the private sector of the benefits of including refugees in the supply chain. Since the platform was launched, various entrepreneurs were hired by companies to supply catering, photography, and souvenirs.
The aim is to support these entrepreneurs with training, information on access to microcredit, courses and opportunities. The platform is also a free virtual showcase for potential consumers of products and services offered by refugees in the country.
Main activities of the Good Practice
The Refugee Entrepreneurs Platform promotes:
- Publicizing more than 150 refugee-led businesses in Brazil.
- It brings together resources for refugees who want to become entrepreneurs, with lists of support organizations, online learning resources, information on access to microcredit, among others.
- Publicizing businesses to anyone interested in including these businesses in their consumption habits or in any production chain.
- Face-to-face meetings in some cities to exchange experiences and foster networking.
- Providing online training, such as digital marketing and access to microcredit
Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice
The Refugee Entrepreneurs Platform was created in the context of the global crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic to give greater visibility to businesses led by refugee entrepreneurs in Brazil. In Brazil, refugees and asylum-seekers can be registered as micro-entrepreneurs (MEI).
The Platform is an initiative of UNHCR Brazil and the UN Global Compact in Brazill, and has strategic partnerships with:
- Sebrae Nacional
- Aliança Empreendedora
- Internacional Finance Corporation
- Instituto Rede Mulher Empreendedora
- Instituto Lojas Renner
- Government of the United States of America
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
The Refugee Entrepreneurs platform is an initiative that is free of charge for its entrepreneurs and has limited resources. There are challenges in terms of budget for funding staff dedicated to the platform and activities such as face-to-face events and building educational materials.
How they were overcome
With partnerships to host events (such as EY, Sebrae), to provide trainings (e.g. Meta), Etc
Results of the Good Practice
- In 2022 and 2023, the Platform promoted 15 face-to-face and online events and training sessions, with the participation of 600 refugee entrepreneurs.
- Support for publicizing businesses and entrepreneurs on social networks and in news articles.
- The platform currently has 151 businesses listed. There are more than 15 nationalities on the platform, the majority of which are Venezuelan (73%).
- Of the 14 business segments, the majority are in the gastronomy sector (52%), followed by crafts (11%), design and art (9%) and fashion (7%).
- Refugee entrepreneurs are present in 16 Brazilian states and the Federal District, as well as entrepreneurs who deliver products all over the country.
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The platform aims to empower, train and provide information so that refugees can undertake business in Brazil in a more sustainable way and achieve financial self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. In addition to publicizing and connecting existing businesses. Thus, the initiative is mainly related to enhancing refugee self-reliance.
Are there areas in which support would be required to continue and/or scale up your good practice?
The goal is to expand the Refugee Entrepreneurs platform. Even the UN Global Compact in Brazil, in partnership with UNHCR, has a goal of ensuring at least 220 refugee-led businesses are registered and visible on the Refugee Entrepreneurs platform by the end of 2027.