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Seven Steps to Success: Enabling Refugee Entrepreneurs to Flourish

Open Political Economy Network (OPEN) and the Centre for Policy Development (CPD), a leading Australian think tank, have released a new report, Seven Steps to SUCCESS: Enabling Refugee Entrepreneurs to Flourish. The report was written by Philippe Legrain, founder of OPEN, and Andrew Burridge, CPD Research Coordinator. It draws on Australian and international best practice to outline policy recommendations to government, business and civil society on how to better support refugee entrepreneurs.

Key findings

  • Despite the huge challenges they face, refugees are the most entrepreneurial migrants in Australia – and nearly twice as likely to be entrepreneurs as Australian taxpayers as a whole.
  • Contrary to popular belief, female refugees are more likely to report income from their own business than men.
  • While some promising ventures supporting refugee entrepreneurship exist, these are largely confined to Melbourne and Sydney, and are limited in scale and funding. Australia is only scratching the surface of what refugee entrepreneurs could achieve with appropriate investment and support.
  • An ambitious but achievable target of launching 1,000 new refugee-run businesses each year could yield $98 million in annual economic and fiscal gains. Within ten years, the boost to the economy could be nearly $1 billion a year. The social benefits would also be significant.

To improve support to refugee entrepreneurs, the report outlines Seven Steps to SUCCESS.

Key recommendations

Seven Steps to SUCCESS has been developed under the umbrella of CPD’s Cities and Settlement Initiative, a three-year programme that aims to improve the economic and social participation of refugees in Australia. The Initiative makes the case for more effective settlement, employment and related services across the board. An important part of this agenda is greater and more strategic support for refugee entrepreneurs, while recognising that it is only one potential pathway through which refugees may participate in the economy.

The findings in the report are particularly significant as it is shaping up to be a big year for the future of Australia’s employment and settlement services. The Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel’s report I Want to Work, was released in December 2018. The findings of the Shergold Review into Integration, Employment and Settlement Outcomes for Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants are expected to be released soon.

Seven Steps to SUCCESS was launched at a special event in Canberra on Thursday 11 April, to coincide with the third meeting of the Council on Economic Participation for Refugees.

Read the full report.

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