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Norway: Startup Preschool by Startup Migrants

Startup Preschool is an intensive 3-day course in business, networking, and ideation to empower multicultural founders and discover business talents.

Starting position/challenge

Covid-19 will change the makeup of our towns and cities. Businesses will disappear. Unemployment and inequality might rise. Inhabitants may move to get more space. As a result, some places will experience depopulation, while others will grow.

During an economic downturn many, especially migrants, will turn to entrepreneurship to make a living. Already we see an increase in new sole proprietorships and limited companies being founded. The goal should be that these companies become as successful as possible. That means that we need to tackle the main challenges for migrant founders, which are: They start sole proprietorships alone instead of limited companies with a partner. They lack a business network, and struggle to understand laws and regulations, as well as the local business culture. As a result, they struggle to find their first customer.

At the same time, there is a huge talent gap between multicultural communities and the startup eco-system, the latter being a network of all relevant stakeholders, individuals, startups, institutions from the startup sector in interdependence to each other. There are few initiatives to discover diverse talent and connect them with advisors and key players that can help them to grow their businesses. All preschool teachers come from the local business community and have to commit to one consultation with the participants. It thereby creates a foundation for a business network..

Implementation of the Startup Preschool

Startup Preschool’s target group are young migrants between 18 - 35 years. This includes first and second generation migrants. At previous Startup Preschool events in Norway, about 40 percent had a refugee background, 45 percent were women, and 85 percent were initially from outside of the EU. Some were students, employed in the public or private sector or looking for new opportunities. The benefit of this approach is that participants can create diverse teams where members have different backgrounds, resources, and levels of knowledge about the host country. During the intense three days, they learn how diversity drives job creation, idea testing and pitching, sales and networking, local and national business culture, and the laws governing business.

Startup Preschool puts great emphasis on networking, so every speaker represents the local business eco-system and commits to meeting and following up with the participants. Every participant is provided with a diploma and access to an active alumni-group online. The biggest positive surprise this year has been the power of the alumni. As it grows in number, with 40 new alumni members only in 2021, there are more and more synergies and dynamic connections between the members. In the first months of 2021, Startup Migrants has not only seen companies founded between alumni members – but actually one preschool company hiring alumni members.

Target groups for Transfer:

chambers of industry and commerce, local startup eco-systems, business development organisations, entrepreneurship mentors, integration practitioners and policy-makers, municipalities

Startup Preschool in a nutshell:

The preschool is a fast-track entrepreneurship programme for migrants to learn about local business culture and to get a business network.

Implementing organization:

Startup Migrants is a Norwegian/ German company. It conducts research on migrant entrepreneurship. After studying the eco-system in Europe the company noticed that a speed bump for integration was the allocation of diverse talent in the business world.