Talks on turning refugees into entrepreneurs start in Athens

Meetings on a European Union funded program aimed at turning refugees into entrepreneurs will kick off in Athens on Thursday with the participation of Greece’s Academy of Entrepreneurship (AKEP).

Referred to as TREND (Training Refugees in Entrepreneurial Skills in Digital Devices), the initiative will be run by organisations from five European countries and aims at helping refugees set up their own business.

This is done by training the trainers working with refugees on entrepreneurship issues and helping inform refugees on how self employment is a viable option for them in Europe.

“The program aims at turning a problem into a solution. Once the refugees have been provided with the right training, they can then set up their own business and contribute to the economy by helping create jobs and pay taxes and social security contributions,” said Alessandro Carbone, Social Innovation Director at AKEP.

“Akep is proud to be part of this program, which can not only benefit Europe on a broader level but is also of particular importance to Greece, given it is at the forefront of the refugee crisis,” added Mr Carbone.

Norway’s Foreningen Mikrofinans Norge is leading the consortium. AKEP will administer the program in Greece with the other participants being Iepscf Jemappes (Belgium), KulturLife GmbH (German) and Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology (Ireland).

The TREND initiative is part of the European Commission’s Erasmus+ adult learning program and will run for three years.

For the first six months of the project, research will be developed by the consortium mapping existing tools and methods aimed at training refugee entrepreneurs in the countries involved. At a later stage, trainers will be trained on how this knowledge can be passed onto end users of the program (refugees and migrants).

The training process will use a blended learning approach including the use of digital communication devices (mobile and web applications).