Capacity is a start up and talent incubator for people with refugee and migrant backgrounds. Through entrepreneurship, Capacity strives to create economic opportunity for disadvantaged people in Switzerland and to mitigate the long-term effects of their social and economic exclusion from the Swiss labor market.
More specifically, the Capacity programme supports and enables this community to build a sustainable path towards financial stability and social inclusion for themselves, their families and their community. It also provides a well-rounded learning experience to unlock and harness their entrepreneurial potential. The bilingual and free of charge programme (G/E) is designed to develop entrepreneurs and support them in transforming their idea into a real entrepreneurial business or project, as well as in taking the first steps to enter the Swiss Market.
As there is no integration without inclusion, the Capacity Programmes foster the collaborative interaction and dialogue between communities that would otherwise not meet (refugees/migrants – corporate volunteers/wider public) thus stereotypes are challenged, and a more inclusive society is being shaped.
Work is central to our identity and also the gateway to integrating in society for newcomers. In Switzerland the process of finding a job can take as long as 5 years for the two most affected groups of migrants – refugees and family-reunion migrants (primarily women). More than 50% of newcomers have tertiary-level education, but face linguistic, cultural and educational barriers. Only 40% of highly-educated migrants make full use of their knowledge and skills. The rest are caught in the process termed ‘waste of talent'. Continuous rejection, deskilling and unemployment leads to mental-and physical health problems, social isolation and state-welfare dependency.
To mitigate the long-term effects of socio-economic exclusion from the Swiss labour market, Capacity developed an entrepreneurship program for refugees and migrants who want to launch a business or a socio-cultural initiative. Capacity empowers individuals through education, a supportive community, constructive mentoring and coaching models, and aims to democratise entrepreneurial education. The Capacity Entrepreneurship Program (CEP) blends personal development, leadership training and networking opportunities with business development and entrepreneurial tools that emphasise creative approaches to problem-solving. Thus, we aim to enable people to find a sustainable way of life where they can unfold their potential.
CEP serves as a viable first step toward financial independence and a sense of belonging. As social inclusion is not a one-way process, we also pursue impact on the refugee and migrant community through the engagement of corporate partners and volunteers in the program. Through mentoring, coaching and networking activities, we facilitate direct interactions between local and migrant communities. Thus, we challenge and reframe perceptions of refugees as competent people eager to contribute to their new society. Furthermore, CEP mentors and trainers become more aware of their role and power to contribute to the integration of refugees and migrants.
- On the individuals who participate in the programme We seek to ensure that participants with refugee and migrant background are able to leverage the knowledge and skills acquired through the Capacity programmes for their future path of economic autonomy, and that they feel more integrated and able to participate in society. If they are able to found a sustainable and profitable startup where they can unfold their potential then we have succeeded at our aim, as well as if they find a rewarding job, or access further education due to their participation in the programmes.
- On society We work towards society-level changes in Switzerland and abroad. Our impact is visible through our participants supporting beneficiaries in their home countries, as well as participants looking to support disadvantaged communities in Switzerland. Through our network of mentors, trainers and other volunteers, we are promoting an interest within the business sector in supporting excluded communities to enter society in different ways. Our impact at a societal level therefore ranges from job creation and profit creation, through to changing mindsets and attitudes of individuals towards refugees and migrants.
We need to fund the 2022 Entrepreneurship Programme and expand our reach and widen our impact to other parts of Switzerland.
Please donate our mission and/or share this project to enable inclusion and intercultural education. Thank you very much.