How to “skill up” your future?

On Saturday, 3 June 2017, from 11:30 to 16:00, our project Skill Up! hosted its second workshop at the Impact Hub Bergen, a home for creative minds and social entrepreneurs located  in famous old-town neighborhood Bryggen .

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With the help and support of process leader and facilitator Silje Grastveit, FutureLabber Stine Solvoll Navarsete brought together 11 engaged youth from Bergen and around, with backgrounds mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt and Somalia. 

Photographer Monica Liliana Garcia Orjuela filmed and took pictures of the event.

The workshop aimed to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship (the practice of combining innovation, resourcefulness and opportunity to address critical social and environmental challenge) as an alternative tool for young asylum-seekers and immigrants in Bergen to access the Norwegian labor market and social integration.

Additionally, it shed light on and identified the main challenges and obstacles young asylum-seekers and immigrants are facing in Norway today and to compare these with the challenges discussed in the workshop in Athens, to look at the problem in a broader scale.

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  • Kick-off

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The first part of the workshop introduced FutureLab Europe and the Skill Up! project to set the tone for the day. Each participant then presented her/himself with their background stories and their expectations for the workshop. 

  • Plenum discussion

An open discussion gave participants room to discuss life as an asylum-seeker or immigrant in Norway today. Questions included:

  • What are the main challenges of getting access to the labor market in Norway while being an asylum-seeker or immigrant?
  • What are the main challenges or obstacles faced trying to integrate in the Norwegian society?

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  • Social entrepreneurial ideas

SONY DSCThe challenges were collected and participants split up into two groups. Silje, the facilitator, then introduced the concept of social entrepreneurship and how it can function as a tool to create own creative ideas and turn them into actual projects that can make a difference for other young people in the same situation.

With this knowledge at hand, the groups started the process of finding opportunities from the challenges identified. Participants brainstormed and discussed on different ideas by using the tools of social entrepreneurship and a canvas business model.

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As a result, two projects were presented:

An Eritrean-Norwegian café

  • A café with story telling from young asylum-seekers and refugees, to create a meeting place for both young Norwegians and young asylum-seekers and immigrants. The aim was to create an arena for debate, discussions and learning about different cultures. As a surprise, Impact HUB Bergen announced that the group could use their cafe to try out the project in the coming months which was great news for all the participants and it will be exiting to follow their process

A cultural after-school activity centre

  • A place where immigrant children can come after school with their parents and meet Norwegian children and their parents and do homework together. By finishing every day with a fun activity, this can boost the confidence of young people but also build bridges between different families in society.

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The day ended with a sum-up session of the two projects and elaborations on how to keep the projects alive and growing in the months to come. The participants are all connected and ready to keep in touch and work on their projects and they are also connected with the participants from the Athens workshop in order to motivate each other and inspire for further work on social entrepreneurship projects that can benefit young vulnerable Europeans.

This workshop is the second of two workshops that Skill Up! is organising. The Norwegian edition was preceded by a Greek edition on 29 April, the Skill Up! Workshop Athens. The challenges for vulnerable people observed in both Norway and Greece will serve to develop policy recommendations addressed to the EU level.

The workshops’ results and policy recommendations will be presented during the FutureLab Europe Autumn Conference on 21 September 2017 in Brussels.

Do you have questions or comments on the project?

Contact Stine at stinenavarsete@hotmail.com or leave the group a message on our Facebook page!


This event is part of FutureLab Europe’s Skill Up! project.

About Skill Up!

group_5Skill Up! will organise a series of social entrepreneurship workshops to empower young, vulnerable and marginalised groups in Greece and Norway. By bringing together young asylum seekers with young professionals who have strong links to social entrepreneurship, the workshops aim to increase their chances of accessing the labour market and foster their integration into society. A video documentary of the workshops in each country will allow for transnational comparison and inform policy recommendations on how social entrepreneurship can be a vehicle for labour market integration for vulnerable groups. …read more.