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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Migrant entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is a powerful driver of economic growth and job creation: it creates new companies and jobs, opens up new markets, and nurtures new skills and capabilities.

The European Commission aims to support an environment attractive to all forms of entrepreneurship, where also business support services reach all potential entrepreneurs, including those from more vulnerable groups, with the aim to make the EU in its entirety stronger and more cohesive.

Within the EU, migrants represent an important pool of potential entrepreneurs, but can face, as other more vulnerable groups, specific legal, cultural and linguistic obstacles. These issues need to be addressed in full to give support equitable to that received by all other entrepreneurial groups.

The entrepreneurship 2020 action plan

The promotion of entrepreneurship is incorporated in the Europe 2020 strategy which aims to create the conditions for ‘smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth’. Within that framework, the entrepreneurship 2020 action plan is a blueprint for decisive joint action to unleash Europe's entrepreneurial potential, to remove existing obstacles and to revolutionise the culture of entrepreneurship in Europe. It aims to ease the creation of new businesses and to create a much more supportive environment for existing entrepreneurs to thrive and grow.

The action plan sets out a number of actions, under 3 different action pillars

  1. Entrepreneurial education and training
  2. An environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow
  3. Role models and outreach to specific groups.

One particular commitment in the action plan is to facilitate entrepreneurship among migrants already present and residing in the EU based on best practices from EU countries.
The entrepreneurship 2020 action plan

The EU action plan on the integration of third country nationals

The action plan provides a common policy framework and supporting measures which should help EU countries as they further develop and strengthen their national integration policies for third country nationals. Ensuring that third country nationals can contribute economically and socially to their host communities is key to the future well-being, prosperity and cohesion of European societies. Supporting entrepreneurship, including through access to existing micro-credit assistance schemes, is also a vital channel to foster third country nationals’ contribution to economy and society as a whole.

This action plan thus encourages EU countries to encourage entrepreneurship through tailored business training and mentoring and by opening up to third country nationals mainstream entrepreneurship support structures. It also informed that the Commission was identifying best practices to promote and support migrant entrepreneurship and would fund pilot projects for their dissemination.
The EU action plan on the integration of third country nationals

Commission's actions

European conference on migrant entrepreneurship

This conference took place on 23 February 2016, to discuss with representatives from EU countries and relevant stakeholders the state of existing initiatives and the added value of possible actions to be taken at European level.

It highlighted that migrants often lack knowledge of, and information about, the cultural business and regulatory environment of their host country. Furthermore, administrative and socio-cultural difficulties may hamper the potential of migrant entrepreneurs and impact on the sustainability and growth potential of the businesses they set up. As a consequence, effective and targeted business support schemes have an important role to play in supporting migrant entrepreneurs.
Final minutes of the conference

Evaluation and analysis of good practices in promoting and supporting migrant entrepreneurship

The results of this study are presented in a guidebook which offers practical advice. This includes 22 examples of good practice and a self-assessment tool for service providers to improve their actions targeting migrant entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs.
Guidebook and benchmarking tool

Click the image below to watch a video with a short presentation of the study and of its main findings


Migrant Entrepreneurship Study Presentation

European projects on entrepreneurial capacity building for young migrants

The Commission supports training and mentoring programmes for potential entrepreneurs in migrant communities. This follows a 2016 call for proposals: 'Entrepreneurial capacity building for young migrants' (funded by the European Parliament).

4 projects started in June 2017, focusing on

  • The identification of potential entrepreneurs among migrants, and raising the awareness about entrepreneurship within migrant communities
  • The delivery of training programmes (e.g. on entrepreneurship, business planning, legal aspects of setting up a company and hiring employees, etc.)
  • Supporting migrant entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs through mentoring schemes

These 4 projects (ME4Change, EntryWay, Fresh Start and YOU-ME) together cover 9 countries: Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

The duration of the projects is 2 years.

In 2018 a further call for proposals 'Entrepreneurial capacity building for young migrants' (funded by the European Parliament) was launched.

The 4 selected projects started on 15 January 2019.

These projects ( BITE, ELYME, EUStartGees and YMCB) together cover 11 countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The duration of the projects is 24 months (BITE 18 months).

Promoting networks and the exchange of best practice in migrant entrepreneurship

A call for proposals was launched in 2016 to aid in the creation, the improvement and the wider distribution of support schemes for migrant entrepreneurs.

In October 2017, 4 projects were launched (EMEN, EMEN-UP, MAGNET and MEGA) representing 11 countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK. Moreover, a number of European level organisations are also involved (see the short project summaries available below).

The focus of these projects is on supporting the networking of organisations working in migrant entrepreneurship. They also focus on

  • facilitating mutual learning
  • the evaluation and improvement of existing support schemes
  • the transfer of good practices
  • the exploitation of synergies
  • the development of strategic collaborations

The duration of the projects is 3 years.

More information