Providing opportunity for refugee entrepreneurs

Giving By Emily Larson Mar 5, 2021

A majority of refugees in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom live below or just above the national poverty line, out of work or underemployed in low-skilled and low-wage professions that don’t reflect their prior skillset. This leads to negative effects on physical and mental health, slower pathways to effective integration and reduced overall living standards. The Western Union Foundation believes that everyone should have a chance at a better life, and that is why we have partnered with the Techstars Foundation to invest in TERN, The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network.

Founded in 2016, TERN was the first organization in the United Kingdom to create programs and services ecosystem specifically tailored to the needs of refugee entrepreneurs, built on a vision of a world where every refugee has a chance to build a progressive, integrated livelihood. TERN’s work is focused on enabling refugees to thrive through the power of their ideas, providing services addressing business exploration, business start-up, and business growth.

Photo credit: Frederic Aranda

The Western Union Foundation’s partnership with the Techstars Foundation will be a part of TERN’s goal to expand business support services in 30 cities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom by 2025, with the aim of reaching reach 4,000 entrepreneurial refugees and launching 2,000 refugee-led businesses.

Supporting entrepreneurial refugees benefits all. Empowered refugee founders become independent and create value through products, services, and additional employment opportunities for their local community. TERN’s training and support enable founders to become the agents of change in their own lives and that of others. You can follow their work & community on Twitter or Instagram, or buy directly from their entrepreneurs through the Anqa Collective.

The Western Union Foundation launched its partnership with the Techstars Foundation in 2019 to leverage shared resources and networks towards mission-aligned entrepreneurship-focused NGOs. Last year, the two grantees awarded through this collaboration, were MIT D-Lab and Watson Institute. This year Watson was renewed alongside TERN. Learn more about the Western Union Foundation’s mission of providing Opportunity Beyond Borders here, and follow us on Twitter for the latest news.