Refugees want to be entrepreneurs in Flanders!
Hairdressers undertake an internship at hair salon Maroussa Khan
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It's impossible to ignore, the flow of refugees to Europe is one of the most discussed topics since 2015. Not a day goes by without this theme appearing in the media.
Just like Europe, Belgium and consequently Flanders also saw a large increase in refugees. Entrepreneurship is often overseen as a realistic option for this group of people. However, The AZO! project wants to change this by guiding asylum seekers, recognized refugees and subsidiary protected people towards entrepreneurship. Through a broad partnership (Stebo vzw, Starterslabo, Unizo, Smart, Microstart, Exchange vzw, Zenitor, Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen, IDrops, SYNTRA Flanders, VDAB and Agentschap Inburgering en Integratie), financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Flemish Cofinancing Fund (VCF), a trajectory towards entrepreneurship was set out specifically aimed at refugees in Flanders.
Exchange as facilitator
Within AZO! Exchange vzw took the engagement to offer the candidate entrepreneurs a first experience within the sector of their interest in Flanders. We do this by bringing them into contact with existing entrepreneurs in Flanders. In this way, the candidates get a very realistic picture of what it means to be an entrepreneur in Flanders via one-day internships with Flemish entrepreneurs. Furthermore, they get a feeling of the sector in the Flemish context. For this purpose one-day internships were allready given in customs, franchising, textiles & clothing, public speaking, graphic design, app development, tourism and media. Many of these one-day internships lead to connections between the Flemish entrepreneur and the candidate entrepreneur, a win for both parties.
On Wednesday, June 6 2018, hair salon Maroussa Khan in Brussels was the location for such a one-day internship. Under the supervision of the hair salon itself and the sector federation coiffure, 2 candidate entrepreneurs were introduced to the ins and outs of a classy hairdressing salon in Flanders. Although both candidates already have experience with cutting customers, some culture-related differences emerged.
Moreover, important contacts were made between the federation and the candidate entrepreneurs, who now know where to go for questions and advice. In short, an extremely useful day and yet another step closer to entrepreneurship in Flanders!