CFE is currently undertaking a refugee entrepreneurship pilot programme. Jointly funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, this has funded four business support organisations to design and run refugee entrepreneurship programmes over a one-year period.

In March 2018, CFE published ‘Starting afresh: How entrepreneurship is transforming the lives of resettled refugees’. The report makes a compelling case why refugees possess many entrepreneurial traits, how they can contribute to the UK  as business founders, and how tailored business support can increase business survival, reduce public spending and strengthen social integration.

In cities around the world, including London, we have seen refugee entrepreneurship programmes launch in response to the global refugee crisis. The four pilots are the first step towards the Centre’s vision to roll out tailored business support for refugees across the UK.


CFE has now partnered with the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund to commission and evaluate pilot programmes in cities across the UK. Each programme will help 30 refugees from idea to business launch over a 12-month period.

This will allow us to prove the efficacy of refugee entrepreneurship programmes and experiment with different models of delivery; we cannot assume what works in London and other major European cities will work elsewhere.

The delivery bodies

CFE has awarded funding to four organisations to deliver the pilots across six cities:

Selection process

The pilot scheme was announced in July 2019 at a one-day refugee entrepreneurship summit in Westminster. CFE launched and ran a competitive application process over the summer, with 24 business support and refugee integration organisations expressing interest from all four UK nations. Nine were shortlisted to submit full bids, and four were selected in September.


The pilot will be subject to a thorough academic evaluation. Conducted by Dr Michelle Richey at Loughborough University, the evaluation will expand the evidence base for refugee entrepreneurship programmes, and build a toolkit of resources to aid the rollout of programmes nationwide.

Read the press release →

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