Jointly organised by three COSME projects: EMEN, M-UP, and Magnet, the first of the online conferences of the event Growing Europe took place on the first Thursday of September. 

During its first day, the topic which all the speakers referred to was the importance of migrant entrepreneurs, more specifically Migrant Entrepreneurship contribution to Europe, and COVID-19 impact on Migrant Entrepreneurship

The first talk, related to the contribution of Migrant Entrepreneurship to Europe, was divided into two different parts. Firstly, we were able to listen to the testimony of the two main actors in Migrant Entrepreneurship: the policymaker and the migrant entrepreneur. The policymaker was Monique Pariat, the European Commission’s Director General for Migration and Home Affairs. She explained why migrant entrepreneurs currently represent an important sector for public authorities and the way policies can work in their favour. As to the migrant entrepreneur, the speaker was Zina Abboud, who was born in Syria but had to migrate in order to take refuge in the Netherlands. She talked about her situation, experiences and highlighted the capabilities of refugee populations if the correct support mechanisms are provided. Secondly, we were able to attend a round table discussion with the focus on finding out which were the best services, support mechanisms and public policies implemented to provide migrant entrepreneurs with the most adequate tools to start their business. In addition, the panel emphasised the definition of migrant entrepreneurship and their necessities. In this case, the speakers were Daniela Bobeva, from the Economic Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences; David Halabisky, from the OECD; and Ahmad Bayram, a Syrian entrepreneur. In this occasion, the moderation was carried out by Christina Kappaz, from Youth Business International. 

The second talk of the day focused on the effect of Covid-19 and the crisis it is causing. Because of the pandemic, many workers are placed in a very vulnerable situation. Migrant entrepreneurs are included in this group, which the speakers addressed during the session. Adem Kumcu, from UNITEE – a European organisation that represents migrant entrepreneurs and professionals – told us about the ways they have been providing support during the pandemic. A representative from Comune de Milano, Matteo Matteini, shared the point of view of public entities. Robert Mutua on the other hand, from the organisation Shofrica, illustrated some tips and experiences when it comes to running a business during the time of Covid-19. This workshop was moderated by Gianluca Pastorelli, from Diesis. 

Gathering more than 150 people between both sessions, the first day of Growing Europe was a total success, therefore spreading knowledge and awareness across all of Europe.