On 22nd July 2019, the Centre for Entrepreneurs officially launched its refugee entrepreneurship pilot programme. Jointly funded by the Home Office and The National Lottery Community Fund, this pilot programme will enable three existing business support organisations to design and run refugee entrepreneurship programmes over a one-year period.

In March 2018 the Centre for Entrepreneurs put forward a compelling case for refugee entrepreneurship. In our report ‘Starting afresh: How entrepreneurship is transforming the lives of resettled refugees’, we suggested that refugees possess key entrepreneurial traits. Our analysis shows that making business support available to 20,000 Syrian newcomers expected by 2020 could generate 600 new businesses and 900 new jobs, reducing welfare payments and strengthening integration.

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

The pilot

The refugee entrepreneurship programme pilot will challenge three business support organisations to help 30+ refugees each from idea to business launch over a 12-month period. The pilot will allow the Centre to prove the efficacy of refugee entrepreneurship programmes, experiment with models of delivery across the UK, and build on the evidence presented in our 2018 report.

Application process

The competitive application process officially opened on 22nd July and the grant recipients will be announced on 8th October. The Expressions of Interest stage closed on 9th August and the Centre is now working with shortlisted organisations to submit full applications. You can find the application process and timeline below.

Advisory board

A national expert advisory group will oversee the design and the delivery of the three funded pilot programmes. Members of the steering group will be announced shortly.

Pilot evaluation

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

Throughout the project, grant recipients will be asked to follow a monitoring and evaluation framework set out by Dr Richey. The  Centre for Entrepreneurs research team and Dr Richey will conduct an evaluation after the pilot completes in October 2020. The findings will be revealed at the closing event in late March 2021.


Read the press release →

For enquiries about the pilot please contact us via: refugeepilot@centreforentrepreneurs.org.