Following two years of working on a BA/LV funded project on ‘A Better Future – Understanding Refugee Entrepreneurship’ (BFURE), Dr Deema Refai from the University of Leeds and her collaborators Dr John Lever and Dr Radi Haloub from the University of Huddersfield, have delivered their project’s closing event on 8th April 2021. The event was attended by a number of representatives from refugee aid agencies in the UK alongside refugees, refugee entrepreneurs and scholars from a number of different countries.
The project focused on Syrian Refugees in the 5 local authority areas that make up the Metropolitan County of West Yorkshire in the North of England: Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. Throughout the project, data was collected from Syrian refugees, refugee aid agencies (including the refugee council) and Syrian refugee entrepreneurs to reach a comprehensive understanding of the skills, knowledge and expertise that refugees arrive with. Data collection involved interviews, focus groups and skills workshops with refugees. Engagements with refugees were also supported by other refugee entrepreneurs and academics in the field.
Findings of the project highlight a number of gap expectations alongside social, financial and legal challenges faced by refugees. Findings also direct attention towards policy constraints that hinder refugees’ entrepreneurial engagements. During the closing event, the collaborators stressed their recommendations to support harnessing the skills and expertise of refugees arriving in the UK, and promoting their socio-economic integration. Findings and recommendations are further discussed in the final report, which can be accessed via this link: BFURE Report.