Entrepreneur Development Program
The Entrepreneur Development Program is designed to assist refugees in Malaysia in becoming self-reliant small business owners. We recognise refugees bring with them a wealth of knowledge and like any of us, they too have ambitions and dreams which they want to pursue. They want to be self-reliant, continuously learn, develop and contribute to society.
There are approximately 149,000 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Malaysia. Refugees in Malaysia have no legal right to work and many remain in limbo for many years and even decades while awaiting resettlement or repatriation. Often, they have fled their country of origin with very little or nothing and the inability to make a living only aggravates their situation, pushing them deeper into poverty.
In August 2017, we kicked off a pilot program where we interviewed 55 aspiring entrepreneurs from the Somali and Afghan refugee community in Malaysia and selected 20 participants. We delivered our first entrepreneurship development workshop to 10 Somali refugees and 8 Afghan refugees in September 2017. Our program consisted of a rigorous selection process to ensure only those who are serious, passionate and have a strong desire to learn are selected for the program. Besides a weekend workshop to introduce and discuss key concepts of entrepreneurship, we supported participants with ongoing coaching classes to ensure they are able to continuously develop and refine their business ideas.
In July 2018, we were selected by UNHCR as a partner to implement a Micro-Enterprise Development Program for refugees and asylum-seekers in Klang Valley. This program aims to create sustainable self-employment for entrepreneurial refugees through a 6 month intensive program which equips participants with essential business skills and practical support through mentoring and skills training workshops. Successful participants will have the opportunity to pitch and secure a small grant to start or expand their business.
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