EIT Migrant Initiative

The EIT introduced a pilot project on entrepreneurial education activities for migrants and third-country nationalities.

One of the main societal challenges in Europe is the integration of migrants. The EIT has significant potential to support the EU in addressing this societal challenge through developing entrepreneurial education programmes and multiplying positive results from successful ongoing initiatives. More than one million third-country nationals have arrived in the European Union in the last two years, and urgent support is needed to help these people gain access to education and employment. 

Led Safari Refugee Workshop in Milan, Italy, May 2016

The EIT intended to use its unique position to assist integration efforts via entrepreneurial education, thereby contributing to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, to job creation and to enhancing the competitiveness of the EU. Providing migrants with entrepreneurial skills would create an added value for the whole EU society, as migrants will have the tools to bring their innovative ideas to the countries they live in, contributing to their own economic and societal integration.

The pilot project aimed to deliver entrepreneurial training programmes to migrants and multiply the positive results already obtained from the ongoing projects of EIT Community stakeholders. The EIT’s Innovation Communities have taken different actions to tackle the challenge of migration in Europe: 

  • LEDsafari, supported by EIT Climate-KIC, has created a low cost MIY (Make-It-Yourself) solar lamp that uses a small solar panel (0.5 W) to convert energy from the sun, store it in a battery and use it to power an LED bulb. In addition, this start-up has conducted training for asylum seekers on how to build a solar lamp for sustainable energy use.
  • "Capiche" project was launched by the EIT Digital Cities Action Line as an information and communication service to support refugees with reliable translation and as a news delivery tool. The project aims to “fill the gaps in artificial intelligence with the help of human swarm intelligence. It will be much easier than it is today to deliver content to people who speak another language” enabled via a cloud-based micro-service to the AI system, allowing small editorial offices to offer their users content in non-standard languages
  • Global Health Case Challenge 2017 is organized in partnership with UNFPA and The University of Copenhagen as a part of EIT Health's Innovation Day to provide a real-world challenge for students on specific problem of Migrant Health: in 2017, they addressed the issue of a lack of access to healthcare migrating women at a time of armed conflicts and refugee crisis.
  • EIT InnoEnergy facilitated a discussion about the refugees theme with the support of TED talks and of a young refugee who escaped from the Syrian war in the Barcelona Speaker series. Furthermore, Allen Mohammadi, an EIT InnoEnergy Master’s School Graduate and co-founder of Hippogriff AB, has been listed on the prestigious Forbes “30 under 30 Europe” in three categories: Top 30 under 30: Science & Healthcare, Top 30 under 30: Immigrants and Top 30 under 30: Dorm Room Founders.

EIT Pilot project for 2018  

In 2018, the EIT launched a pilot project to foster the integration of migrants and refugees through entrepreneurial education programmes. 

LedSafari workshop in Switzerland, April 2017Between 2 and 4 March 2018, the EIT, together with StartUp Refugees, organised the workshop “Startup My Business Weekend” in Helsinki for 50 migrants. 

Based on skills profiling, StartUp Refugees discovered a remarkable interest (71%) in entrepreneurship among the migrants. The aim of the training programme is to provide entrepreneurship and innovation education activities, particularly to build confidence, empower them with skills to design their professional plans or ventures, evaluate the feasibility of their ideas, and acquire skills to start and run a successful business, particularly in Finland. 

Photography from the 1st Workshop in Helsinki taken by Wazim Khuzam.