Why we need to support migrant entrepreneurs

Encouraging entrepreneurship among migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is a win-win for everyone.

The Open Doors Initiative and TU Dublin recently concluded their transformative entrepreneurship course by showcasing the entrepreneurial talents of graduates.

The course ‘Entrepreneurship for Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers’, funded by the Higher Education Authority, ran from February to May 2023.

“Encouraging immigrant entrepreneurial activity will lead to positive outcomes for the Irish economy”

It welcomed 54 students from 21 countries, who received comprehensive training, mentorship, and insights from 12 successful entrepreneurs and 12 expert speakers, equipping them with the necessary skills to thrive in the startup ecosystem.

Pitching Competition

The Pitching Competition event, to be held at the LinkedIn HQ in Dublin today (30 May), features a panel of judges with representatives from Bank of America, Broadlake, Microfinance Ireland and Mama Shee.

These experts will evaluate the participants’ pitches, providing valuable feedback and guidance. Their expertise and support will play a pivotal role in shaping the future trajectory of these aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Five graduates have the opportunity to compete for prizes to support them in their entrepreneurial journey. William Fry and McCann FitzGerald, two of Ireland’s leading law firms, have offered legal support to winners, ensuring their journey through the complexities of entrepreneurship is successful.

The Digital Hub has offered free office space and the opportunity to connect with industry experts who will help refine their business models.

LinkedIn has offered free Premium Licences so that entrepreneurs can expand their business online.

“Encouraging immigrant entrepreneurial activity will lead to positive outcomes for the Irish economy as it generates jobs locally and supports increased trade activity between Ireland and their home countries,” said Professor Thomas Cooney, course director at TU Dublin.

“This course recognises the additional and distinctive challenges that immigrant entrepreneurs face when starting a business, and so it offers a tailored approach that leads to greater impact for the immigrant entrepreneurs and Irish enterprise.” 

The event serves as a landmark moment, bridging the gap between untapped potential and opportunity for migrant entrepreneurs. Attendees will witness ground-breaking ideas, experience the atmosphere of a business pitching competition, and become part of a community dedicated to celebrating diversity and fostering innovation. 

“This course, which focuses on bringing the skills and lateral thinking of migrant entrepreneurs to the forefront, has already proven very successful, through the building of networks and supports that have been put in place. We look forward to great ideas being showcased at the pitch competition and fantastic business development taking place”, said Jeanne McDonagh, CEO of The Open Doors Initiative.  

Main image at top: Photo by Headway on Unsplash

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.