Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees: Innovative Partnerships for Sustainable Development

25 January 2021
10:00 - 12:00 hrs. Online

Entrepreneurship offers both a long-term solution to the challenges emanating from large and permanent movements of people and operates as a means for livelihoods in the short-term following humanitarian crisis. Especially in the context of recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, forging innovative partnerships can play a critical role in improving the inclusive nature of entrepreneurship ecosystems. Such partnerships can narrow pervasive information gaps regarding vulnerable groups, harness synergies among ecosystem stakeholders, and strengthen implementation of policies and delivery of programmes in a coordinated fashion. Within this framework, there is a need to build multistakeholder partnerships to eliminate exclusion and to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus.


As a side event of the 13th Summit of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, this virtual session aims to promote a better understanding of the importance of facilitating entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees in developing and developed countries by enhancing their access to requisite services in the areas of training, finance, markets, and technology. It will also highlight the positive contributions that migrant and refugee entrepreneurship bring to their host communities and the instrumental role they play in the long-term wherever they may be located. There is room to bridge the gap between the supply of services by ecosystem stakeholders and the demand for services by migrant and refugee entrepreneurs. In the framework of this event, the Arabic version of the e-learning course on “Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees” will be launched.


The virtual session will be conducted as a Davos-style panel discussion, facilitated by a moderator and involving a group of panelists, with a time dedicated for discussion with the audience.

During the parallel session, policymakers and migrant and refugee entrepreneurs will share examples from their experiences. UNCTAD, IOM and UNHCR will discuss their best practices and lessons learned in operationalizing the Policy Guide on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees they jointly published in 2018. This document has been adapted for an e-learning course in 2019/2020, together with UNITAR, who will provide relevant information about this e-learning tool. Having reached almost 1,000 participants in its first iterations in 2020, this course is available in English and Spanish, with Arabic as the latest upcoming edition.

Key Themes

The key themes to be discussed include

  • the benefits of innovative and multisectoral partnerships in promoting entrepreneurship for migrants and refugees;
  • the challenges faced by migrant and refugee entrepreneurs particularly during COVID-19 pandemic;
  • examples on the policy options and successful partnerships emanating from good practices across the world;
  • background, features, and launch of the Arabic version of the e-learning course on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees


Event Agenda


I. Importance of Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees in the Context of Innovative Partnership for Sustainable Development:

Ms. Tatiana Krylova, Head of Enterprise Branch, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD

Mr. Mamadou Dian Balde, Deputy Director, Division of Resilience and Solutions, UNHCR

Ms. Tanja Dedovic, Senior Regional Thematic Specialist on Labor Mobility and Human Development, Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), IOM

Ms. Mariana Mesanelli Nunes, Global Development Lead, Impact Hub Network, United Kingdom

Mr. David Apollo Kazungu, Commissioner for Refugees, Department of Refugees, Office of the Prime Minister, Uganda

Dr. Huriye Yeroz, Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University, United Kingdom and Guest Lecturer, Sabancı University, Turkey


II. Launch of the Arabic Version of the E-Learning Course on Entrepreneurship for Migrants and Refugees

Mr. Alex Mejia, Director, Division for People and Social Inclusion at UNITAR, Head, CIFAL Global Network Moderator of the event


III. Questions and Answers

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United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

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Selahattin Selsah Pasali

Associate Economic Affairs Officer

Entreprise Branch, Division on Investment and Enterprise