Enter to Transform - Transformational Entrepreneurship Hubs for
Recognized Refugee Re-starters

Project Summary

To sustain growth & innovation in NWE, we need enterprises in general incl. recognised refugees' (RR) starting enterprises. The project helps raising the numbers of RR starting in NWE by increasing entrepreneurship capacity of RR and the capacity of institutions dealing with RR. Target group are the 67% of 271.630 RR in NL, DE, IR and FR (Eurostat, 2017) who have a business background and the experience to restart.

The project offers a social innovation addressing RR re-starters to become ready for business creation. RR with business experiences in their home country have a huge potential to restart but need specific mentoring to adopt to the NWE economy. The project develops a supportive environment of hubs, which function through mentoring as “door opener” for RR re-starters to enter existing entrepreneurial infrastructure. By door opening the project avoids parallel structures, but introduces RRs to how, by whom and where to get the tools they need to restart. 

The RR re-starters in NWE will be supported along the business phases stand-up, start-up and scaling and  distinct from existing initiatives, with a focus on 4 sectors: health (especially care), crafts and design, services (e.g. ICT, food services and events), trade (sales representatives). These sectors reported recruitment bottlenecks (Cedefop, 2018). Different to other approaches, the project supports the RR restarters through a co-creative approach incl. a two-way integration path, and an opportunity-driven focus on entrepreneurship rather than necessity-based start-ups. Based on a transnational framework, each partner region will foster SI by a hub roll-out based on a transnational designed pilot hub. Outputs: Increased entrepreneurial capacity of 400 RR (proven by portfolio), 250 RR restarters with a business plan, 150 actually started (registered as business) of which 25 created self-employment, 4 new hubs in NWE, an inclusive, lasting entrepreneurship network, 4 multilingual transnationally developed podcasts.

Project Partners

  • Newest Art Organization

    112 Pieter Nieuwlandstraat
    1093 XZ

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  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology

    Port Road
    Letterkenny, County Donegal
    F92 FC93

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  • Institute for Work and Technology, Westphalian University Gelsenkirchen

    14 Munscheidstr.

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  • GROUPE SOS Pulse

    15 rue de la Frontaine au Roi

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  • Machbarschaft Borsig11 e.V.

    9 Borsigplatz

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  • The World Makers Foundation

    33 Maasstraat
    1078 HC

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  • Carlow Institute of Technology

    Kilkenny Rd
    R93 V960

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  • Train of Hope Dortmund e.V.

    54 Münsterstraße

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  • Institut für Kirche und Gesellschaft der Evangelischen Kirche von Westfalen

    25 Iserlohner Str.

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  • La Ruche Developpement

    24 rue de l'Est

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  • Forschungsinstitut für innovative Arbeitsgestaltung und Prävention (FIAP e.V.)

    14 Mundscheidstraße

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  • University of Twente

    5 Drienerlolaan
    7522 NB

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Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
University of Twente 5 Drienerlolaan
7522 NB
f.h.j.m.coenen@utwente.nl www.utwente.nl/bms/
Name Contact Name Email Country
Newest Art Organization Geke Oosterhof geke@newestart.org Netherlands
Letterkenny Institute of Technology Pádraig Gallagher Padraig.gallagher@lyit.ie Ireland
Institute for Work and Technology, Westphalian University Gelsenkirchen Alexandra David david@iat.eu Germany
GROUPE SOS Pulse Kelly Robin kelly.robin@groupe-sos.org France
Machbarschaft Borsig11 e.V. Volker Pohlüke info@borsig11.de Germany
The World Makers Foundation Ann Cassano info@theworldmakers.org Netherlands
Carlow Institute of Technology Brian Oglive Brian.Oglive@itcarlow.ie Ireland
Train of Hope Dortmund e.V. Fatma Karacakurtoglu fatma@trainofhope-do.de Germany
Institut für Kirche und Gesellschaft der Evangelischen Kirche von Westfalen Jürgen Born juergen.born@kircheundgesellschaft.de Germany
La Ruche Developpement Sina Josheni sina@la-ruche.net France
Forschungsinstitut für innovative Arbeitsgestaltung und Prävention (FIAP e.V.) Silke Steinberg office@fiap-ev.de Germany



E2T Final Event

, Online

After nearly three years of cooperation, the Enter2Transform project will come to an end. The project focuses on developing an enabling environment of hubs supporting recognised refugee (RR) re-starters to unfold their economic and social potential. Through individual mentoring, the hubs function as »door openers«, enabling access to existing entrepreneurial infrastructures while introducing RRs to the how and where and from whom they can obtain the tools necessary to restart business activities. We invite you to participate in our Online Panel Discussion on meaningful future support of newcomers’ entrepreneurial activities, on Wednesday, 22 February 2023, from 10:00 to 12:00 am.
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The future of social innovation in Interreg 2021-2027

, Zoom

In this workshop, socialinterreg presents amongst others for the first time their final position paper and deals with the question how Interreg programmes support transnational cooperation on social innovation in 2021-2027 including a contribution of the Enter to Transform project. You can find the presentation under "read more".
Read More

Enter Flyer English


Enter to Transform Newsletter_The Enter Gazette #1 April 2021

Press release opening of the French hub

Enter to Transform Newsletter_The Enter Gazette #2

Enter to Transform Newsletter_The Enter Gazette #3

Enter to Transform Newsletter_The Enter Gazette#4

Comparative report on RR business support expertise

The idea and concept of the hubs

27% of the recognized refugees living in North-West-Europe (NWE) have a business background. While some of them may wish to restart their own business, these refugee re-starters (RR) encounter various difficulties in the existing business support structure attempting to do so (such as the bureaucracy, and the language barrier). As the NWE economy has a different structure and distinct market conditions compared to their home countries, these RR have specific needs for help during their attempt to re-start. The project ENTER TO TRANSFORM addresses these needs and goes beyond the existing structures, which are difficult to access by RR. The core of the project is the development of hubs. These hubs offer mentoring services and function as “door openers” for RR to enter existing entrepreneurial infrastructure. By helping RR to access existing support infrastructure the project gives them the tools they need to re-start while avoiding parallel structures.

The hubs will provide a physical and virtual meeting places to engage all stakeholders in RR business (RRs, local civil society and governmental actors, local economy and intermediaries such as banks, city councils) in a new and different way. The hub will also provide mentoring and support RRs with their specific needs (e.g. lack of access to existent support infrastructures, lack of networks, lack of knowledge) to re-start. The hubs will provide support for the RR during the phases of stand-up, start-up and scaling by activities that range from ‘soft’ measures and activities like inspiring, sharing ideas, networking, opening doors with existing business support organizations etc. to ‘hard’ measure like assisting with identifying skills, developing specific skills and knowledge, mentoring on finance or markets, producing business plans etc.

The hubs are adapted to the specific circumstances and the business ecosystems in the partner regions. In most cases, the hubs are facilities of the implementation partners. In each country, an implementation partner will adopt the hub approach (functional & spatial) or integrate the concept into an existing regional organisation, building the ecosystem including networks involving the stakeholders and reciprocal mentoring.

A similar transnational effort does not yet exist in this form in NWE.

A new mentoring approach will be developed transnationally, first implemented in a pilot hub in France and rolled out later to the other hubs. The approach will be based on an evaluation of existing projects and best practices shared by the project partners.

A participatory approach will engage RR, established enterprises and other local stakeholder from the project’s very beginning and by the project board. In particular, the involvement of RR in co-design and co-creation processes gives them the opportunity to actively shaping the hub’s supportive structure.

The hubs are adapted to the specific circumstances and the business ecosystems in the partner regions. In most cases, the hubs are facilities of the implementation partners. In each country, an implementation partner will adopt the hub approach (functional & spatial) or integrate the concept into an existing regional organisation, building the ecosystem including networks involving the stakeholders and reciprocal mentoring.


French Hub

University of Twente

The UT works on the future combining technological knowledge and innovation with behavioural and social academic research. It is right at the intersection of various disciplines where the most relevant innovations for humanity and society originate. UT’s strengths lies in the combination of excellent science, entrepreneurship and international orientation. Its research focus on themes with a large societal impact: health, water, green energy and education.

Newest Art Organisation

Newest Art Organization (NAO) supports and promotes displaced artists and craftspeople who came to the Netherlands because of war and other exclusion, since the end of 2015. We guide them in setting up their own businesses, through workshops and through personal training. NAO offers an online / offline platform and connects newcomers with potential clients and the arts and crafts- field throughout Europe.

The World Makers Foundation

The World Makers Foundation supports refugee and migrant artisans in the Netherlands. They started with a trial project in 2017 and have supported refugees in finding work and or developing new products. They assist them with info on Dutch regulations for entrepreneurs, acquisition and communications. Through the foundation, they want to connect them to local, established artists and designers to develop more products. In addition, they provide a platform to show their skills and products in cooperation with cultural institutions and museums in Europe.

Institute for Work and Technology

Since 1989, IAT is a research organization of the University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen in co-operation with the Ruhr University Bochum. Its activities aim at applicable knowledge and tools for enhancing social welfare and economic performance. IAT not only contributes to basic research, it also focuses on development, piloting and diffusion of innovative and sustainable solutions. Its strong focus is migration and labour market integration into local businesses through social innovation.

Machbarschaft Borsig11 e.V.

Borsig 11 founded in 2011 as an association with the aim of fostering a local multicultural civil society. Borsig11 practice intercultural exchange and creative urban development, experimenting with participatory societies, fair economic and sustainable living in the immediate neighbourhood. Borsig11 is a laboratory for cultural, social and economic practices, which takes in the local conditions and makes new possibilities visible. Innovation does not have to reinvent the wheel every time.

Train of hope Dortmund e.V.

Train of Hope has been awarded for their developed of a specific empowerment concept, which includes RRs involvement into mentoring and training activities, and the board of the organization. This concept will be utilized for the project and the hub development, piloting and rollout.

Institut für Kirche und Gesellschaft

As IAT subpartner, IKG contributes to the WPs Communication and Long-term. IKG will help to focus project communication on the most relevant stakeholders and prepare the expansion of the transnational network for RRs across NWE regions.

Forschungsinstitut für innovative Arbeitsgestaltung und Prävention (FIAP e.V.)

The non-profit institute for innovative and preventive job design (FIAP e.V.) was founded in 2010 driven by questions and problems of a modern working environment. The institute carries out projects fundamental and applied problems in the field of job design and prevention. In the past years FIAP moved its activities to Co-creation in education and training teaching specific target groups such as refugees by co-design.

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

LYIT is an inspirational education hub that has 4,000 students from Ireland and abroad, offering over 100 Educational programmes across its 4 Schools of Business, Tourism, Engineering and Science. All programmes are designed to combine academic theory with practical skills in order to prepare students for the world of work and lifelong learning. LYIT has a developing research base and strong experience in collaborating as a partner and lead on EU funded projects.

Carlow Institute of Technology

Institute of Technology Carlow currently ranks as the third largest of Ireland’s 14 Institutes of Technology with more than 8,300 enrolments and 850 staff, and has generated over 55,000 graduates since its founding in 1970.  Institute of Technology Carlow provides higher educational programmes, and research and enterprise development opportunities.

Groupe SOS Pulse

Groupe SOS Pulse is a branch of Groupe SOS. It was established in 2011 to respond to the demand of social entrepreneurs to grow and scale their impact on social innovation. Its activities can be divided into 5 actions: to incubate new projects (incub); to accelerate and to grow existing social enterprises (scale); to assist them to grow their social impact (lab); to provide a workspace (space); to support access funding (fund). Groupe SOS Pulse is active all around the world.

La Ruche Developpment

Co-working platform and incubation since 2008. La Ruche has 10 hubs in France dedicated to social innovation and a web platform to connect a community of 1000 entrepreneurs. In charge of incubation programs for people under-represented in entrepreneurship, one specifically for refugee entrepreneurs called Incubateur à Montreuil, a nine months program to help refugees to create/develop their entrepreneurial projects.

First Enter Podcast - Intro

Second Enter Podcast - Benefits of RR Entrepreneurship

Third Enter Podcast - Transnationalism

Fourth Enter Podcast - Networking

Fifth Enter Podcast - Business phases

In this podcats developed by out Dutch partners we speak to Asmae Idrissy from Cash2Grow and entrepreneur Klaas Molenaar. Both have experience helping people with a migrant background in business.

You can find it on YouTube. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CzgQMnphoY

Good Experience Podcast France

Podcast-maker and journalist Sonny Jermain talks with researcher Karijn Nijhoff and Ann Cassano, director of The World Makers on the ecosystem supporting (or not) refugee-entrepreneurs. Where can we improve, where are there dissonances between what our aim and the actual outcomes.

Here is the link:


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