Migrants are an invaluable asset to the British economy, however, those with entrepreneurial flair are being held back because of lack of access to funding to start a business in the UK, reveals new findings from social enterprise This Foreigner Can.
Over the summer, a pilot study of 200 migrant entrepreneurs in Stratford was conducted by This Foreigner Can, a London-based organisation designed to help provide start up funding and mentoring for those who have chosen to move to the UK from another country.
They found that an alarming 61% of respondents said that obtaining finance was the biggest obstacle to setting up their business. One of the primary reasons stated was because they did not have sufficient credit history in the UK to qualify for traditional start-up loans and business funding.
Migrant entrepreneur and founder of This Foreigner Can, Rafael Dos Santos, is now a successful businessman based in London, but it has taken him nearly a decade to achieve this. Having struggled to initially find his feet when he first arrived in the UK, he decided to create the ‘Migrant Business Accelerator’ programme to help other entrepreneurial migrants to fast track their way to business success with the help of start-up funding and mentoring from a team of business professionals.
Mr Dos Santos explains:
“I first arrived in the UK over 10 years ago with the goal of learning English. Following a string of menial jobs, including being a glass collector and a cleaner, I was able to pursue my dream of setting up my own property business, which I successfully sold in 2014.
I have first-hand experience of the obstacles a migrant has to go through to set up their own business in the UK, and I wanted to use my knowledge to help others get their feet on the ground. Money isn’t the only thing you need as a migrant entrepreneur, you also need to understand a whole host of other things which will contribute to whether your business thrives or not.
The Migrant Business Accelerator programme has been designed to guide students through the processes of setting up a business and offers a helping hand and funding to help them make the initial leap. They are also fully supported throughout the process too.”
Interested parties were invited to submit their business proposals to the This Foreigner Can website. 10 applicants will be selected to take part in the 16 week course with 32 workshops. The finalists will receive £4k in funding, mentoring and they will learn about marketing, finance and operations of a small business. They must attend all the workshops, which will run in a central London location from 29 September to 12 December.
For more information visit www.thisforeignercan.com