Support programs for entrepreneurial refugees in The Netherlands. An overview of practical experiences.

By Karijn Nijhoff, Senior Researcher at The Hague University of Applied Sciences

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The increased inflow of refugees in Dutch society and on the Dutch labor market has generated different support programs for starting-up a business. Some of these programs already existed but shifted to accommodate the needs of this specific target group. Other programs were initiated to support refugees because of perceived barriers in Dutch society. Most programs are private initiatives, funded on a project basis.

“Support programs for entrepreneurial refugees in The Netherlands. An overview of practical experiences” is a report written by Karijn Nijhoff, senior researcher at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This report maps different programs that support refugees on the road to entrepreneurship. The municipality of The Hague, along with the refugee and migrant support organization EnterStart (MigrantINC) asked for an evaluation of the program The Hague Test Garden where refugees were supported with the start of a businesses. The evaluation is not just based on the experiences in The Test Garden; other programs have been included in the evaluation to come to a broader view of the road to entrepreneurship and the obstacles encountered.

The Test Garden started in 2016, a time when multiple support systems for refugee-entrepreneurs began their programs. The report starts with a short overview of refugee flows to the Netherlands. The main part of the report consists of the comparison and evaluation of the different programs. The information was gathered through literature, websites, and in-depth interviews with program managers and others involved.

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