National Capacity-Building Workshops on Promoting Migrant and Refugee Entrepreneurship in Ecuador

26 - 29 January 2021


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is implementing the project “Promoting Refugee and Migrant Entrepreneurship in East Africa, Andean Region and the Middle East” since late 2018. Ecuador is one of the beneficiary countries together with Jordan, Peru, Rwanda, Turkey, and Uganda. Currently at its second phase, the project focuses on improving national, institutional, and technical capacity in Ecuador to implement entrepreneurship initiatives and adopt specific policy measures to promote socio-economic integration of refugees and migrants in the host economy. To this end, UNCTAD has undertaken a study entitled “Needs Assessment Report for Ecuador” to assess the inclusive nature of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country. The study entailed surveying stakeholders in the ecosystem, mapping existing initiatives, and identifying opportunities and challenges. Building on this assessment and its practical experience on policy formulation and implementation, UNCTAD aims to support national stakeholders in developing an action plan on promoting migrant and refugee entrepreneurship and improving the inclusive nature of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. Working in close collaboration and coordination with national authorities and other stakeholders, UNCTAD is organising four workshops for policy makers and other stakeholders of entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ecuador.

Key Issues

The 2020 Law on Entrepreneurship and Innovation has shown significant political demand in harnessing the potential of entrepreneurship in achieving inclusive and sustainable development, building multisectoral partnerships that can facilitate addressing the needs of vulnerable groups and strengthen their capacity to become resilient and innovative entrepreneurs. This is in line with Ecuador’s vision to move away from resource-based growth to knowledge-based growth strategy. The Needs Assessment Report for Ecuador has observed that there is room for policy action to mobilize the entrepreneurship potential of vulnerable groups, especially to mitigate negative impacts of COVID-19 pandemic. While Ecuador has a very progressive and welcoming legal environment for people in human mobility, further efforts are needed to facilitate streamlining and easing processes for starting up businesses in formal economy, opening formal bank accounts and accessing public and private programs including such as on digital technologies, marketing, networking, and skills training.

Objectives, Expected Results, Participants

Objectives: Enhance awareness among policymakers on how to develop special provisions in entrepreneurship policies for migrants and refugees. - Strengthen the capacity of stakeholders in Ecuador to design and implement entrepreneurship policies and initiatives that would foster the socio-economic integration of refugees and migrants into the local economy. - Intensify cooperation among stakeholders at national and local levels on promoting refugee and migrant entrepreneurship.

Expected Results: The workshops are expected to a result in the formulation of a national action plan that will support and coordinate ongoing and planned interventions for promoting migrant and refugee entrepreneurship based on key stakeholder dialogue and cooperation. The action plan shall include specific targets, timelines, and an Actor Mapping Matrix, which will specify responsibilities of key stakeholders.

Participants: The participants of the workshops will be representatives from government entities at national and local levels, civil society, migrant and refugee entrepreneurs, including trained by UNCTAD’s Empretec programme, academia, research institutions, business community, financial institutions, incubators, accelerators, and international development partners. Stakeholders surveyed by the Needs Assessment Report for Ecuador in 2020 will also be invited to participate.

Format of the workshops

Due to the pandemic situation in Ecuador, the four workshops will be held virtually. The number of participants per workshop is expected to be up to 40. The following format will be applied in the four workshops:

  • Each of the four workshops will cover one of the following thematic areas: entrepreneurship skills development, access to finance, technological innovation, awareness, and networking.
  • The fist workshop “Introduction and Raising Awareness” will commence with opening remarks by UNCTAD, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility, IOM and UNHCR. The Needs Assessment Report for Ecuador will be presented.
  • UNCTAD will open and conduct the remaining three workshops to address the main findings identified in the Needs Assessment Report for Ecuador in a particular thematic area.
  • The workshops will include an interactive group work and plenary sessions to inspire discussion among stakeholders toward actionable recommendations.
  • Each workshop will identify a set of policy objectives and recommendations in the relevant thematic area with clear roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders as well as the timeline.
  • Following the workshops, UNCTAD will consolidate the draft action plan and circulate for validation by stakeholders.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility (Ecuador)

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Selahattin Selsah Pasali

Associate Economic Affairs Officer

Enterprise Branch, Division on Investment and Enterprise