Brief summary

  • Objective: Empowering vulnerable groups through social entrepreneurship
  • Target group: asylum seekers and immigrants
  • How: workshops
  • Where: Greece and Norway

The Skill Up! project aimed to empower asylum seekers and immigrants in Greece and Norway by shifting the focus to finding solutions, and demonstrating that vulnerable groups such as them are an asset instead of a burden to European societies. The project wanted to empower these vulnerable groups by making them realise that social entrepreneurship is an option for them, and by putting them in contact with successful social entrepreneurs. The project involved a workshop in Athens (Greece) and Bergen (Norway). The two workshops brought together young asylum seekers and unemployed immigrants with young social entrepreneurs. The main aim of the workshops was to increase asylum seekers and immigrants’ chances of accessing the labour market and foster their integration into society. The impressions of workshop participants were documented on film, resulting video documentary, while the lessons learnt during the workshops were synthetized in series of policy recommendations presented in a special report.

Team

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From left to right: Dimitrie, Violetta and Stine

Why this project?

The integration of asylum seekers and immigrants requires more and more attention as new people make Europe their home. The Skill up! Project offers a very concrete example of how this process can be facilitated, bringing together vulnerable groups and social entrepreneurs.

The activities

The team organised two workshops: one in Athens, Greece and one in Bergen, Norway, bringing together vulnerable groups and social entrepreneurs. During both workshops, the discussion started with a focus on learning about asylum seekers and immigrants’ aspirations, what stands in their way and what solutions they see to overcome these problems. Participants met social entrepreneurs and learned some best practices from them. Each participant presented a concrete social entrepreneurship idea and the group brainstormed how to implement them concretely. The group in Greece came up with very diverse ideas, including: offering translation services for rare languages, providing a catering service with home-grown food and a time-bank. The Norway group discussed how to start an Eritrean-Norwegian café as well as a cultural after-school activity centre. The impressions of the workshop participants were documented on film, resulting in a video documentary, which was presented at the FutureLab Autumn Conference taking place in Brussels on 22 September 2017. Finally, the lessons learnt during the workshops were synthesised in a series of policy recommendations presented in a report aimed at decision makers.


Concrete activities

Calendar of activities

What’s next?

The team submitted the project to the European Economic and Social Committee’s Civil Society Prize 2017. The prize rewards and encourages tangible achievements and initiatives by civil society organisations and/or individuals at all levels (European, national, regional and local) that significantly contribute to promoting European identity and integration.

They hope to be selected to scale up Skill Up! in the future.