Topic 1 Presentation of the best practice in France and discussion, main take-aways, key elements to adopt, similar case studies in France

The Human Safety Net’s “For Refugees” program’s ambition is to help people under international protection (asylum or subsidiary protections) redefine their professional goals and provide advice and assistance as they start a new business. The program is open to both women and men.

The Human Safety Net is a foundation by Generali, one of the most important insurance companies in the world. Launched in 2017 in partnernship with the Singa association, the program developed further in 2019 with the addition of two other partners (Each One and La Ruche). In total since its launch, 356 aspiring entrepreneurs have been accompanied in France.

The ultimate goal is the broader integration of refugees in France. In case the entrepreneurial project is not fulfilled, the project leader is accompanied to find training or employment.

  1. Organization of weekly collective workshops on entrepreneurship. The first workshops concentrate on the methodology of business creation in France which are then followed by thematic workshops  (marketing studies, business model, business plan, etc.) and on professional skills (catering, sewing, IT skills, etc).
  2. Integration within a promotion of 10 to 15 aspiring entrepreneurs  who form a community, in which they find support, opportunities and exchanges.
  3. Access to an incubator to work with other aspiring refugee entrepreneurs, business creation professionals and experts identified in the Generali insurance company’s network.
  4. Access to a network of companies, experts, volunteers and customers, which can even include access to funding.

The process

Before launching the so-called “incubators”, a consortium of local associative, private and public actors is formed in order to find funding and support, as well as working on the incubator’s premises. The incubators in Paris, Montreuil and Saint-Denis have vocation to welcome each year two promotions of refugees who want to start creating a company. To determine admissions to the incubators, juries are organized and include at least one member of Generali’s Executive Committee. The jury selects the candidates based on their business idea and pitch. Ten to fifteen candidates are selected for each promotion. They are supported by mentors throughout the process and have recurrent meetings with them to see how their project is advancing, if they have any issues, etc.