INTEGRATE – Storytelling to Promote Migrant Entrepreneurship
Final Meeting – Press Release
The final meeting of the INTEGRATE project was held on the 15th of December 2022. The project partners got together in Brussels, Belgium at the headquarters of the project partner Coopération Bancaire pour l’Europe. The aims, goals, results, and final touches of the project, INTEGRATE-Storytelling to Promote Migrants Entrepreneurship, were diligently discussed with the collective hope of reaching what this project has been all about. Our efforts and pursuits have been, from the beginning of this project two years ago, to create possibilities for European migrants to be able to reach their aspiration of starting their own companies in their hosted countries. And not to mention, to be able to do so in a creative way – through storytelling!
The project started because one of the greatest societal challenges in Europe is the integration of migrants and the creation of long-term and future-proof solutions. The project partners’ collective belief is that the challenge of migration can be turned into an opportunity to create more growth and jobs and foster a more inclusive society: Europe needs all its talent, and immigrant entrepreneurs represent a source of untapped potential for creating new jobs. Therefore, our work during the years 2020-2022 has been solely focused on creating a way to use the impact of personal stories to change individual and societal attitudes toward migration and to promote entrepreneurial engagement among immigrants. Thus, we started shaping a training course targeting immigrant entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on communication and storytelling techniques. Since the work process conflicted with the pandemic and all the challenges that come with it, we quickly understood the importance of designing a blended learning course, where students and trainers could make use of the training course both online and in physical classrooms.
We divided the two years into three intellectual outputs (IO) to fulfill each milestone within the project. During IO1, we develop the training course, consisting of four different modules. Module 1 helps the students to realize the importance of Storytelling as an enraptured, as well as provides concrete tools of how to use skills and competencies to communicate and interact with audiences using a narrative approach. The second module focuses on practical skills and competencies to start a business. Module three highlights the essence of cultural self-awareness, globalization as well as cross-cultural communication in the setting of being an immigrant and entrepreneur at the same time.
The last module fosters the soft skills of an entrepreneur and guides students through important assets such as motivation & self-confidence, creativity & passion, management & decision-making skills, etc.
Of course, having created a training course with lots of valuable knowledge, practical tips, and concrete tools, we also had to create a guideline for trainers on how to support migrants in the best way possible through their journey of this course. Thus, we reached the milestone of IO2.
The last IO3 was dedicated to creating a platformwhere all of these materials were uploaded and organized so a student can easily take part in the course as an online education
The challenges and opportunities, we project partners faced, throughout the two years working on this project, helped us realize a couple of key success factors. As the seven partners are in five different countries, online meetings, and e-mails were our prior tools of communication. This experience was especially important for us as early in the project decided to have a blended approach for the training course (online and face-to-face). Our experience of having to collaborate online, helped us adjust the practical activities of the course to be as useful in a classroom as well as doing them online. The opportunity of working with partners from different cultures and backgrounds was also an important aspect as it contributed to the different perspectives and insights of the project, and it helped us shape the training course to an as inclusive platform of education as possible.
As the project came to an end, each partner hosted a multiplier event, with stakeholders from all kinds of businesses and different backgrounds to share and spread the story of the fruitful ways of our project. The vision, working process, and result were presented to different groups of people, in five different countries, to shed light on the societal challenges in Europe, the integration of migrants, and contributing one step of many a solution created by us project partners – The Italian Chamber of Commerce (Sweden), Novare Potential (Sweden), Coopération Bancaire pour l’Europe (Belgium), Wisamar (Germany), Emphasys Centre (Cyprus), CNOS-FAP (Italy) and i-strategies (Italy).