MEnt, entrepreneurship beyond borders

At FAIRE, we believe that everyone has a role in facing the environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. Immigrant entrepreneurs often must work through a long and difficult process to make their ideas heard and get their project off the ground. To help solve this problem, the makesense network launched and ran over a two-year period “Migrant Entrepreneurs” (MEnt), a dynamic and innovative incubation program which gave two groups of immigrants and refugees the chance to launch their entrepreneurial projects by accompanying them on the first leg of their journey.

makesense, a network that forges social bonds and develops community ties all while aiming for success

makesense, an international community of citizens, entrepreneurs and organizations striving to solve social and environmental challenges

makesense’s international community is made up of engaged citizens, passionate social entrepreneurs and ambitious organizations working together to make the world more inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

makesense offers the opportunity to get involved and make a difference by giving citizens the tools to take direct action against issues that affect them, facilitating the development of meaningful social and environmental projects, and reinforcing inclusivity and stability in organizations and companies.

makesense assists and supports entrepreneurs during several phases in the development of their social and environmental projects.

  • Inclusive and competitive incubation program to boost projects
  • Free events and workshops open to the public
  • An online platform providing resources
  • A diverse and dynamic community of mentors
  • An investment fund for social innovation

A European initiative implemented in France by makesense

Financed in France by the European Commission, la Mairie de Paris and FAIRE, MEnt has also been implemented in Austria, Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

Its main goal was to experiment with the incubation of refugees’ projects and create a toolkit as well as provide recommendations for anyone aiming to launch this type of program.

The incubation program began in 2017 and went through multiple stages:

  • Bootcamp and mentoring sessions with experts
  • Market research, information gathering and user feedback
  • A prototyping workshop
  • Monthly one-on-one coaching sessions
  • A business model workshop
  • Pitch workshops

Each participating entrepreneur was granted 3,000€ by FAIRE to develop their project: the group was made up of 8 refugees supported by fifteen expert mentors for a total of more than 90 hours, 23 of which were spent working together.

The MEnt program: working against stereotypes and towards independence

makesense, through the MEnt program, has taken action on two different fronts:

  • On an individual level, the participants built up their self-confidence. They were able to speak with experts and strengthen their skills, gain independence and feel socially included in the work environment.
  • On a larger scale, the program helped break down stereotypes stigmatizing migrants, encouraged a more open-minded, inclusive society and boosted cultural and economic development initiatives.

Entrepreneurship is a stepping stone to refugees’ inclusion in society and work life in France; enriching cultural diversity.

Next steps

To further their mission, makesense has teamed up with its long-term partner Elan Interculturel to launch the COMBO program. Stay tuned for an upcoming article all about this special hybrid program based both on developing entrepreneurial projects as well as personal development and marketability.