Taking up the challenges of Laudato si’, The Laudato si’ Challenge seeks to sustainably improve the lives of 10 million people excluded from Our Common Home by 2020 through businesses that are sustainable and ethical—thus anticipating the vision of the SDGs of “being a human dignity narrative that leaves no one behind.”
To achieve that mission, The Laudato si Challenge is pursuing a two-track strategy: supporting specific Commitments to Impact and social enterprises.
After receiving hundreds of applications, our ten judges, from recognized ethicists to professional investors, selected the following 10 companies, that are doing bold and innovative work to improve the lives of people forced from their homes. These entrepreneurs present in Vatican City. These are talented, motivated and driven entrepreneurs seeking mutually-beneficial relationships and partnerships.
Who we are: Chatterbox unlocks the human capital of highly qualified yet underemployed refugees by enabling them to teach their valuable industry insights and skills as instructors on our language and cultural training platform for corporates.
What we do: We train refugees on the platform to provide live video coaching to learners who they match with based on shared professional backgrounds and interests. They help learners work through our online self-study language courses to drive up relevance and engagement in students’ learning. After all, who better to teach an engineer Arabic than an Arabic speaking engineer? Refugees also create and sell their own modules in their area of professional or cultural expertise. Our digital platform generates valuable data on learners’ interests and preferences that can support our sustainability. It also validates refugees’ hard and soft skills, data that can be used to help them access even more opportunities and services.
Why we do it: Like our founder’s mum, refugees from professional backgrounds often struggle to work in their former industries due to regulatory and other barriers. With Chatterbox, they are able to access stimulating work by teaching their existing skills and knowledge to an eager audience of corporate workers who want to develop cultural competencies to enhance their global competitiveness.
What we need: You can help us by: (1) Introducing us to new B2B clients who need language and cultural training as a service or company benefit (2) Spreading the news about our seed round, opening in January 2019 (3) Helping us identify awesome people to join our advisory board - people like you?
How to reach us: Website: www.wearechatterbox.org. Twitter/Facebook/Insta: @wearechatterbox Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Who we are: We're an entrepreneurial bunch of global citizens who have come together to tackle issues of exclusion and social injustice faced by fragile communities. The doctHERs team consists of doctors, nurses, MBAs, a gender consultant, a business analyst, a data scientist, a design thinker and a really smart hedgehog (affectionately referred to as Chewbacca)!
What we do: We match the underutilized capacity of female doctors (who otherwise would be excluded from the global health workforce) to the unmet needs of fragile communities including Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and those at risk of forced displacement.
Why we do it: The exclusion of women in the workforce in both developing countries and mature markets has resulted in a massive loss of human potential and loss of human life - especially in countries (including the US) where millions of people (especially migrant workers and refugees) continue to lack access to quality, affordable healthcare. We believe that the re-integration of excluded communities (especially women) into the workforce (an output) by leveraging technology (an input) will yield increased economic empowerment for women (an outcome) which will ultimately lead to increased triple bottom line returns for all humanity (our ultimate Impact).
What we’ve achieved so far: We have impacted over 300,000 lives to date across Pakistan, delivering over 4500 life-saving interventions (surgery, safe baby deliveries, etc). Large companies such as Unilever & RB have enrolled over 22,000 low-income lives linked to their value chains (e.g. migrant workers) into our health & wellness plan.
What we need: As part of our 'Muhinjo Sohna Thar' (My beautiful Thar) campaign, we are raising $2.5 Million to: (i) provide sustainable livelihoods to 2000 smallholder farmers at risk of forced displacement due to climate-change induced drought from Thar, (ii) help build the resilience of fragile communities by protecting their income-generating assets through livestock, crop, health & life insurance and (iii) enhance the income-generating capacity of Thari women by training them as first-responders (Community Health Promoters) and equipping them with tablets, smart phones and 4G connectivity, enabling them to link their at-risk communities to doctHERs' global network of remotely located female doctors for HD video-consultation.
How to reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who we are: Five One Labs is a startup incubator for displaced and conflict-affected entrepreneurs in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
What we do: We enable conflict-affected entrepreneurs to launch scalable businesses by providing training, mentorship, co-working space, access to a community and the opportunity to compete for seed funding.
Why we do it: We strongly believe in the benefits of integrating refugees into the local economy so they can have sustainable livelihoods and live with dignity. While refugees can often be seen by host communities as burdens, encouraging entrepreneurship shows that refugees, with their skills, background, and resilience, can be an economic opportunity. By stimulating job creation, our programs create a meaningful solution to an urgent need of displaced people, and they enable entrepreneurs, especially ones who are well-educated and have difficulty finding employment, to create sustainable livelihoods in their new communities.
What we’ve achieved so far: We have worked intensively with more than 40 businesses since launching in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in the summer of 2017, and we have reached over 1000 aspiring entrepreneurs through our community and ecosystem-building events and trainings.
What we need: Mentors (startup and business leaders) for our incubator cohorts and access to seed funding for our entrepreneurs
How to reach us: Our website is fiveonelabs.org, Twitter/Facebook: @fiveonelabs, and email is email@example.com.
Who we are: Leaf is a trusted financial institution for refugees and migrants, helping them protect, retain, and move money across borders through digital financial services.
What we do: Leaf enables economic security for the stateless and excluded by facilitating the storage and transport of assets across borders. Refugees and migrants are often forced to carry cash when fleeing conflict, which is dangerous, inconvenient, and expensive to exchange. Leaf makes virtual banking available through mobile phones and blockchain technology—no smartphone required. By eliminating the need to carry cash, Leaf helps protect customers and their savings across borders. By opening channels for international money movement, Leaf increases customers’ access to their own savings and to those willing to contribute into their accounts.
Why we do it: We believe our customers have the desire, skills, and motivation to succeed after displacement but often lack safety and resources. We believe in the power of an economic identity to help customers establish themselves in a new country and positively contribute to the community. Leaf has validated a significant market opportunity in providing financial services to the stateless and excluded and is excited to scale its tech-agnostic mobile platform to meet global demand.
What we’ve achieved so far: Leaf has worked with refugees and small cross-border traders to pilot its tech platform, establish market demand, and test its business model. Before designing its product, the Leaf team conducted a seven-country market validation with refugees in each stage of the resettlement journey to understand customers’ needs and preferences. Leaf has successfully tested its cross-border blockchain platform and created biometric profiles in Rwanda and DR Congo. Leaf has established companies and early partnerships in the US, Rwanda, and Congo. The team has greatly benefited from participation in the Catalyst Fund, SXSW’s business accelerator, and the Miller Center at Santa Clara University’s GSBI program. Leaf recently won an award with the BNP Paribas Cardif Call4Ideas challenge and is a recipient of the World Summit Awards Young Innovator award. Leaf is now seeking licenses to launch operations in early 2019. It will begin with refugees, migrants, and small traders in East Africa before expanding globally.
What we need: Leaf is looking for advisors and partners who can help us reach the 68 million forcibly displaced people around the world (and millions more who could become refugees at any time). We are currently raising $850,000 to fully launch in East Africa. An estimated $500,000 will cover operations in Rwanda and DR Congo including a local team, continued technical development, partnership fees, and customer support. An additional $350,000 is needed to meet regulatory capital requirements for local licenses.
How to reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org; @leafglobaltech on Twitter.
Who we are: We are Lemon Tree Trust.
What we do: We garden in refugee communities and so much more! We pilot agricultural businesses and garden initiatives in refugee communities to restore cultural identity, dignity and purpose. Our long-term vision is to expose every refugee camp in the world to garden competitions, communal gardens, and self-sustaining, value-creating ventures run by and for refugees, providing economic value.
Why we do it: Human Dignity. We have identified gardening to be a powerful therapeutic tool, addressing issues of isolation and mental health, producing beauty, belonging, food security, and promising economic stimulation. Through the provision of seeds and plants, we empower social and economic change.
What we’ve achieved so far: We have over 1000 family run gardens, a plan for the largest Urban Rose Garden, all run by and for refugees. And all of our models are all replicable.
What we need: Partners and investors who share our ethos and want to help drive our vision.
How to reach us: email@example.com
Who we are: We are NaTakallam.
What we do: NaTakallam connects refugees and displaced persons to remote work opportunities in the language sector, mostly tutoring and translation jobs. We focus on refugees in developing countries that neighbor conflict zones, where refugees are cut off from the local workforce, despite being highly skilled. We recruit through on the ground networks/NGOs, vet and train language partners (“conversation partners”) and translators and ensure payment through online mechanisms and NGO partners. Customers in turn get affordable, quality, curated language services while directly contributing to the livelihood of displaced persons. As a byproduct and by partnering with academic institutions, NaTakallam cultivates bridges between cultures while fostering a better understanding of refugees' daily challenges.
Why we do it: Over 80% of the globe's forcibly displaced population (65+ million )lives in developing countries, often post-conflict states where, regardless of their qualifications, they are barred from the local economy. According to a British Council study, when asked what motivates people to take violent actions, the top answer was lack of jobs and opportunity to provide for one’s family. Even when resettled to Europe or North America, refugees struggle to earn an income, due to language and cultural barriers, and at times, discrimination. It is thus urgent to find alternate income opportunities to displaced communities. Interestingly, we are living in the era of the “Connected Refugee.” With simple technology --the internet, online payment mechanisms, basic communication tools like Skype- there is a new path to support refugees: NaTakallam provides refugees’ with economic empowerment and access to students worldwide through their little computer screen.
What we’ve achieved so far: To date, more than 130 displaced persons have self-generated $420,000+US through remote translation and tutoring jobs. They've connected with over 4,500 unique users, who sign up as individuals or through school partnerships ( Berkeley, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Tufts, NYU, Georgetown, and more) for language but also cultural exchange. Our translation clients include organizations like BuzzFeed, the Danish Refugee Council, the International Rescue Committee, Malala Fund, and more. Displaced persons are located in over 15 countries in urban or camp settings, and have delivered over 35,000 hours of work to 4,500+ users in 65+ countries. We’ve partnered with dozens of academic institutions and visited more than 80 classrooms, where students hear refugees’ stories, directly from the source rather than media or political outlets. We optimize and amplify our impact by through partnerships with organizations like Skype, the Qatar Foundation International, the TENT alliance, and by collaborating with implementing partners(local NGOs in countries like Lebanon, Iraq, Greece, Colombia and international organizations like the IRC, DRC, and UNHCR). Our impact has been recognized with awards from the World Bank, World Economic Forum, Forbes 30Under30, MIT’s Entrepreneurship Forum, Columbia University, Union des Banques Suisses (UBS), the Finnish NGO Hundred for our innovation in education, and more.
What we need: NaTakallam came to life organically. The idea of giving refugees in Lebanon a livelihood through the gig economy on the one hand while providing language learners with affordable Arabic practice on the other, has now impacted over a hundred refugees and thousands of language learners.
NaTakallam hopes to triple its impact over the next year by (1) doubling sales in existing Arabic, Persian and Spanish programs (for both individuals and organizations) (2) expanding our language offerings beyond the current languages to include French, Turkish and other languages (3) growing our translation department to take on requests from large companies and organizations (4) enhancing our user experience through a tech platform in conjunction with partners like Skype and Amazon (5) deepening our community support to refugees by establishing upward mobility opportunities for them within NaTakallam's own staff.
How to reach us: natakallam.com, emailing our co-founder firstname.lastname@example.org or connecting on Linkedin.
Who we are: Samasource helps unlock opportunity for low-income people by sourcing data projects from some of the world's largest companies. Our industry-leading services help our clients achieve their business goals, while radically altering the life trajectory of our workers, who earn a living wage and lift themselves out of poverty through meaningful, dignified work.
What we do: Samasource provides digital skills and freelance training to marginalized individuals to work either at our owned-and-operated business process outsourcing (BPO) delivery centers, at our freelance agency or as independent freelancers.
Why we do it: Samasource was born out of the belief that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. We believe that dignified work is the most effective and sustainable way to not only reduce poverty but address poverty’s downstream effects, such as war, mass migration, health disparities and climate change.
What we’ve achieved so far: Since its inception in 2008, Samasource has employed over 10,000 people, and moved over 45,000 people out of poverty permanently. Samasource’s operational costs became fully supported by our earned revenue in 2016 when we reached economic sustainability. We also achieved 40% year over year growth. Our freelance agency is comprised of high potential urban youth ages 18-26 living in and around Nairobi, under or at the poverty line, with varying educational backgrounds. The agency has completed over 150 jobs and paid over $100,000 in wages since September 2017. Since our inception, we’ve proudly served over 150 Fortune 500 and next-generation start-ups.
What we need: We need capital to scale our freelancing model, which has been deployed in Nairobi, Dadaab refugee camp and in Jordan refugee camps as an effective solution to enable livelihood creation in protracted refugee situations.
How to reach us: Website: www.samasource.org; Twitter/Facebook/Insta: @samasource; E-mail: email@example.com.
Who we are: SEP Jordan is a Social Enterprise, working with 350+ Palestinian and Syrian artists who are refugees, mainly women, in Jerash and Azraq camp, Jordan.
What we do: High-end embroidered fashion and lifestyle accessories: ethical brand SEP creates precious hand-embroidered lifestyle accessories which blend hallmarks of Middle-Eastern craftsmanship with Italian style.
Why we do it: SEP mission is to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line, through employment.
What we’ve achieved so far: Doubled sales every year, on shelves at Harrods, embroidered all the costumes of the Mary Magdalene Hollywood movie in 2018, started in 2014 with 20 artists, now work with over 350.
What we need: Sales volumes, so that more refugees get to work = orders for gifts and home decor, corporate gifting, collaborations, capsule collections, etc.
How to reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Who we are: Tarjimly is a global community of engineers dedicated to improving the lives of refugees by eliminating language barriers. We are a team of refugees and immigrants that believe in combining technology and community solutions to achieve extraordinary outcomes. Our co-founders are MIT & Y Combinator alum, Echoing Green fellows, and Forbes 30 Under 30, and our advisors are experts in translation, SaaS technology, and disaster response.
What we do: Tarjimly provides on-demand volunteers, like translators and interpreters, to refugees and humanitarian organizations by using machine learning matching to efficiently mobilize millions of people’s remote skills. We empower refugees with language access to improve humanitarian outcomes across health, asylum, education, and employment, and provide refugees paid translator opportunities.
Why we do it: We believe the right to be understood is a universal right that improves the dignity and equality of service to displaced people - language barriers should never deny critical support. We also believe high quality people and skills are widely available, but high quality deployment is not. As a duty to our own communities, we want to build products that give refugees and immigrants their voice back, whether they’re stuck in a refugee camp or resettling in a new country.
What we’ve achieved so far: In the past year, 7,000 volunteers signed up because now they can help a refugee right from their phone, and they've helped over 15,000 refugees and aid workers in some of the most critical scenarios a person can experience. Tarjimly was there for Syrian and Afghan women who needed an interpreter to speak with a trauma counselor about food insecurity and harassment. Tarjimly was there for 12 refugees who capsized in the Mediterranean and the Greek NGO trying to save them needed an interpreter to call the Turkish coast guard who rescued them. We've built a critical disaster response tool that is evolving into the default language service for the humanitarian space.
What we need: We need access to capital to build our team’s capacity to deploy and market first-class software that will reach 1 million volunteers and refugees worldwide. We need introductions to humanitarian organizations to financially partner or sell our service to. We need connections to corporate volunteer programs to signup bilingual employees en masse.
How to reach us: Atif Javed | email@example.com, +1-703-862-9708, Co-founder & Exec. Dir.
Who we are: We are WeatherTec AG.
What we do: WeatherTec AG offers to Governments of the water-stressed nations its rainfall enhancement service. In Jordan, the world' second driest country, WeatherTec AG increased rainfall to 40%, resulting in a greater agricultural outcome, much lower temperatures during the hot summer month and improved living standards in the area of engagement.
Why we do it: The WeatherTec technology was proven scientifically from the theoretical and practical point of view by the experts of respected scientific institutions. It is vital that the technology can be applied in the water-stressed countries to achieve the committed SDGs. WeatherTec AG believes in the scalability of its technology and, therefore, has been launching an investment fund (WFN "Water-Food-Nature" Impact Fund) in order to finance and coordinate socio-economic activities on the basis of the technology in all water-stressed countries.
What we’ve achieved so far: a big first step forward to bring water and food security to many millions of people. It is a substantial and sustainable solution at the roots against thirst, hunger, poverty – and, finally, one of the key solutions against forced migration.
Our rainfall enhancement technology, developed by our Swiss- German team with international scientific support, has been successfully executed hundreds of rainfall enhancement events for governments on three continents. We have been improving the technology constantly. The latest success was an increase of the rainwater by 40% over a rainy season, covering 15.000 km2 in Jordan. The National Meteorological Department of the HKJ, the second driest country on Earth, has testified that we broke and reversed the 30-year trend of constant precipitation decrease. Climatologists believe that this is the first large scale technology solution to “Change Climate Change”, that this might become a realistic medicine for mother Earth. We improved our capability as a rapid response team to implement our operations at nearly any place on earth within two months. Operations can start immediately, depending on a season and meteorological situation rainfalls can be enhanced within weeks.
How to reach us: Dr Helmut Fluhrer | firstname.lastname@example.org | +49 171 851 7573 - Founder & CEO. Klaus-Michael Christensen - | email@example.com | +41 79 332 58 77 - WFN "Water-Food-Nature" Impact Fund - Member of Board
TOP 55 companies (in alphabetical order)
734 Coffee - Washington DC, USA
"734 Coffee sells delicious coffee from the 7N, 34E geographic coordinates (Gambela, Ethiopia) to empower South Sudanese refugees through higher education scholarships."
Aspiration Bank - Los Angeles, USA
"One in five migrants in the world are in the United States and 82% of those migrants bank with one of five major financial institutions. These institutions all feature unconscionable fees on those least able to afford them. These fees average in the hundreds of dollars a year. Aspiration offers bank accounts with 100 times higher interest than major traditional banks in the U.S. and no fixed fees. Aspiration customers have the choice to Pay What Is Fair -- they choose the fee they pay to Aspiration, even if it is zero. This means that Aspiration is always in service to its customers, no matter who they are."
ayzh - India and Kenya
"ayzh (pronounced ‘eyes’) is a social enterprise that develops and distributes low-cost, high-quality products carefully designed to meet the unique needs of women and caregivers in low-resource settings. Our expanding product suite addresses the most critical health issues women face across their reproductive lives, including: essential maternal and newborn care, postpartum health, and menstrual hygiene. Through the sale and distribution of our customizable “kit style” products (such as our $3 Clean Birth Kit) our sustainable and scalable model increases availability and access to proven health commodities, while empowering women with education and economic opportunity across our supply chain."
BanQu - Minneapolis, USA
"BanQu has developed the first ever blockchain (non-cryptocurrency) economic identity technology solution that enables a secure and immutable platform for creating economic opportunities for people around the world who are refugees and/or living in extreme poverty. Our technology provides a platform where refugees, the displaced, and the world’s poorest can maintain a free, secure online profile that allows them to begin tracking their relationships and transactions. Over time, they build a recognizable, vetted economic identity, which is the base prerequisite to participating in any form of ownership or transactions in the global economy. While maintaining ownership of their personal information, a BanQu user decides what information to share and with whom. "
Bellies Abroad - US and Italy
"We support frontline workers who are migrants themselves (UN/Foreign Service families), to maintain their families' physical and mental health as they work with refugees and migrants. We provide families with access to health care providers who follow the W.H.O recommendations, fact-based information so that they can make the best choices for their labour, delivery and family healthcare and a supportive community. As we grow, we hope to bring our knowledge and proven formula for delivering healthier babies and healthier mothers to harder to reach areas and communities through our technology and partnerships with the agencies we are currently serving."
BizGees Ltd - London, UK
"We support refugees, migrants and internally displaced people generate wealth for themselves and jobs in the communities that host them. We achieve this by organising interest and collateral free micro loans that help the refugees access training, inventory and business mentoring to set up successful micro businesses in below $5 a day communities. This micro loan also helps them generate a credit profile to help them become financially included into the main stream financial system as well. Our test micro loan is currently generating data for us in rural Uganda. Here we are starting with the Lira Tribe - an internally displaced community in Uganda access entrepreneurship and take ownership of their own lives. Each micro business is co founded by 3-5 refugees and 10 jobs additional."
Central American Software Services - San Salvador, El Salvador
"In order to help offer solutions to the internal migration problems in El Salvador, we aim to keep the working force that comes from the toughest neighborhoods in El Salvador at their location. We are able to do this through the Remote Work and Study Centers, where an individual can study and work with a company with no need of leaving their hometown. The sustainability is possible through the promotion of a label called “Fair Programming” which allows you to differentiate the products that are created in these centers. As a universal concept, it can be applied anywhere."
Chatterbox - London, UK
"Chatterbox is an online and in-person language learning service for consumers and organisations powered by refugee talent; while paying clients learn, our native-speaking refugee tutors earn a living and improve their employability. With the help of more than 40 tutors and 500 students, Chatterbox is an impactful model for social change with the potential to become self-sustaining and scale to benefit millions of people around the world. We use technology to connect refugees' existing skills with opportunities in the online economy, and we are starting with the $240bn language learning industry. We want to become a channel to unleash the untapped talent in the refugee community."
CIVIC - UK; operating in Azraq, Zaatari and Mafraq in Jordan, Kabul, Birmingham, East London, Lesvos, and Kathmandu
"Civic aims to support the 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan through social and economic empowerment from their uncertain arrival to becoming productive participants in society or, when it is safe and possible, their return to Syria. Our approach builds relationships between ‘unlikely allies’, including refugee and host communities who are enthusiastic about coming together to mutually recognise their own agency for a shared purpose, while providing the tools to co-develop complementary and enterprising development solutions. Ultimately, this approach facilitates the relationships that support a fundamental shift from refugees being seen as beneficiaries to being valued as enterprising active citizens."
Diwala AS - Oslo, Norway
"Our platform uses existing technology, blockchain, to innovate a new process and identification of skills in order to increase efficiency and livelihoods. By having a digital identity formed by verified skills and career background on the platform, anyone can ensure their career history intact with highest mobility opportunity. This extremely benefits displaced individuals who often struggle to keep all documents while moving, but also work migrants who seek to expand their career beyond geographical limits. Organizations also are capable to manage their data storage, while immutable data can let them collaborate and fasten services to refugees, migrants and internally-displaced people."
doctHERs - Pakistan
"doctHERs matches the underutilized capacity of female doctors ('doctHERs') to the unmet needs of underserved Pakistanis including many workers in corporate value chains who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) from FATA/KPK or refugees from Afghanistan (these workers are employed by smallholder suppliers, distributors, and SME retailers). doctHERs' health & wellness plan provides social protection to this population including health insurance which gives them 24/7 access to family doctors, specialists and private sector hospitals for any trauma/surgery.
Duo Collegare - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
"Based on listening to many refugees and those who help refugees locally and in distant camps, it is evident that language skills, job skills, and community linkages are imperative to developing the inner confidence leading to opportunities for earning “give us this day our daily bread”. Duo Collegare provides innovative low-cost digital solutions to eliminate typical current language learning and job skill gaps for refugees as they await paperwork, wait for months to start language classes with just a few weekly hours at inconvenient locations, and learn words disconnected with job requirements—often provided by well-meaning under-trained volunteers."
First Syrian Exporters Group - South-East Turkey
"FSEG works with refugees who have fled Syria and are looking to work in South-East Turkey. We provide them with a decent work opportunity. In addition, we will be piloting an innovative employee-profit-share-model that aims to empower disadvantaged Syrian refugees by giving them a profit share from the sales of particular clothing they make. We will start with an initial production line of 45 female workers."
Five One Labs - Kurdistan Region of Iraq
"Five One Labs is a startup incubator in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) that provides displaced and conflicted-affected entrepreneurs with the skills and support to launch scalable, innovative businesses. By stimulating job creation, our incubator creates a meaningful solution to an urgent need of displaced people. It enables entrepreneurs, especially ones who are well-educated and have difficulty finding employment, to create sustainable livelihoods in their new communities. By including entrepreneurs from all backgrounds in our programs, we are also promoting social cohesion and unity in the community."
Food Forest - Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement, Uganda
"Our business is focused on improving the lives of displaced people in both our operations and our results. We are run by and for displaced persons. We train, facilitate and employ displaced persons to build and maintain food forests."
FSI-Worldwide Ltd - Headquartered in The UAE, with offices in the UK, US, Nepal, India, Kenya and Afghanistan
"The Refugee Fair Labour Facility will sustainably improve the lives of refugees, migrants and internally displaced people by facilitating manufacturers, construction companies and other employers to hire such vulnerable groups utilising RFL Facility's recruitment, training and management; and by ensuring that requisite fair labour protections are in place to protect these vulnerable workers. By facilitating the creation of decent jobs for refugees and migrants, the RFL Facility can enable economic expansion for the host countries, skills development for the refugees and displaced populations for employment upon their resettlement, and improvement of labour market practises for low skilled labour."
Gauri Agrotech - Assam, India
"India’s economic growth is enormously dependent on conventional fuel sources, and hence tapping of renewable energy sources such as bio-diesel production is necessary. On the other hand, our ever-burgeoning billion-plus population is increasingly relying on sustainable food sources which is leading to encroaching of more arable land areas for human settlement. Surely in this situation, refugees are bound to be rendered as unwanted in the eyes of the permanent settlers. Our business therefore has the potential to utilize refugees, migrants and internally-displaced people as an actively working section of the society to boost their self-esteem and socio-economic existence."
Handscart - Paris, France
"We believe the biggest challenge for refugees and migrants is a building self-sustainable life: getting a job, earning money and living a normal life. We at Handscart are helping refugees and migrants build better lives by connecting them with freelance designers to provide training through blockchain and creative learning platform to help them to learn the art of crafting goods and earning revenue to start their own small business. So far, we have impacted 800 refugee women from Sierra Leone, Jordan, Syria and India."
Hau Therapeutics - Philadelphia, USA
"Poor mental health equals a lost generation We cannot think of a single investment that would do more to sustainably improve the lives of refugees around the globe than to invest in the mental health of their children. Children who have unresolved mental health problems need more support in school. When they become adults, they are more likely to not be able to persist in work and become chronically unemployed. A cycle of hopelessness, anger and radicalization can quickly ensue. The potentially deadly effects of toxic stress can be reversed. Leveraging today’s technology—artificial intelligence and machine learning—is the answer to providing clinically effective mental health intervention at scale to children (10-18 years old) and youth (19-24 years old)."
IMPCT Coffee - Taiwan
"We see what we do as Fair Trade for the 21st century - a truly sustainable, high impact new trade paradigm. Our "impact trade" model uses the largest exports of developing countries (coffee and tea) to help local women own and run education businesses serving local communities. This is immediate economic benefit to farmers, preventing migration, empowerment of local women to build lasting community assets in nearby urban slums, creating opportunity for those already internally displaced, and providing quality education for the children of local families, supporting family employment giving children bright futures worth looking forward to."
Inkomoko Entrepreneur Development - Kigali, Rwanda
"Inkomoko provides refugee entrepreneurs with business courses, strategic consultants, and below-market debt financing so that they can increase their profits, grow their businesses, improve the lives of themselves and their families, and create jobs for others in their communities. In 2013, Inkomoko launched as a consulting firm for small and medium enterprises in Rwanda. In 2016, we began working with refugee clients, and we have seen that when given the resources needed to start and grow businesses, refugee entrepreneurs are tremendous contributors to the economic development in their host communities and countries."
Joelex Uganda, Ltd. - Kampala, Uganda
"During the building & operation of the public water, sanitation showering facilities & clean energy, fertilizer making jobs are given to the people hence improving livelihood. Young girls, women are empowered when given public health education on why it’s important to use clean toilets, how it safeguards them from diseases such as cholera, diarrhea. The business helps provide affordable sanitary towels, to young girls, women during their menstrual cycles to help them live more comfortably Importantly the business converts human waste into different by products like energy, organic fertilizer, which help refugees farm, increase crop yield thereby bringing about food security within settlements. Importantly the business converts human waste into different by products."
Kickon Sports, Inc. - Calgary, Alberta, Canada
"Most new refugees/migrants have feelings that range from hopelessness and anger, to wondering how they will ever build a good future for themselves and their family. Finding work is difficult. However, a good education that provides opportunity for their children is often the top priority. Teenagers are at a particularly challenging stage of life. The 5 Fundamentals are skills they do not learn in school. KICKON is long term. The Players quickly realize they have potential. This inspires confidence that promotes achievement and leads to opportunity. Just what these parents are looking for!"
KIMS Microfinance - Somalia
"As one of its areas of focus, KIMS Microfinance provides life-changing training and access to miro and small business finance solutions to displaced people in Somalia including refugees, refugee returnees and IDPs. KIMS recognises that displaced populations represent a viable customer segment and as such has provided training and financing to more than 700 displaced people since 2016. KIMS operates as a social-purpose business and therefore provides support to displaced people on a commercial basis, offering ethical and low cost financing. KIMS is structured as a non-profit business so whilst revenue generating it reinvests all profits back into its social mission rather than pay out dividends to shareholders."
Leaf Global Fintech - Nashville, USA; operating in Rwanda and The DRC
"Leaf allows customers to access and retain more of their savings when crossing borders. Value is lost to theft, devaluation, exchange fees, etc. when refugees/migrants are forced to carry cash. Leaf digitizes that process and drastically reduces exchange and transfer fees. Money is protected and accessible wherever customers go. By securing value and increasing accessible funds through contributions from abroad, Leaf gives customers a better start with financial security. Leaf ultimately creates an economic identity that customers can use to establish themselves in a new country. Increased access to funds also carries positive implications for long-term health and education."
The Lemon Tree Trust (LTT) - Based in Dallas, Texas; operating mostly in Kurdistan in Northern Iraq
"LTT helps restore and develop a sense of community and human dignity to the refugee through three distinct and additive activities. The “base” activity is the sponsorship of garden competitions, in which individual refugees and/or their family compete to win a prize.The activity is the creation of a ‘Discovery Garden’, a community garden from which refugees can receive horticultural training The most advanced level of activity will be small business enterprises (SBEs), organized as cooperatives. We are commencing this effort around two products: products related to roses and rose water, and decorative embroidery services for NGO emergency response gardening kits."
LivingWaters - New York, USA
"Harnessing the atmosphere’s solar distillation processes, rainwater is the cleanest naturally recurring source of water. Contamination occurs only once rainfall comes in contact with unhygienic surfaces during a given downpour. According to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), the water crisis in Sub- Saharan Africa, the largest water-stressed zone in the world, is due to a lack of infrastructure spending and would not be classified as water stressed if rainwater harvesting was taken into account. LivingWaters has created the first-ever cost-effective, DIY zero-energy rainwater catchment system that captures, filters, and stores an abundant self-replenishing supply of clean rainwate right at the doorstep. Our solution can be used in refugee camps, on existing UNHCR tents and other structures, with just 30 minutes of installation."
Mom.life - San Francisco, USA
"We are building the largest global non-sovereign economy defined by transactional activity of a single demographic. Moms. We are leveraging our existing hyper-engaged global social network of 1.3M moms, focused on emerging markets - moms who have found life-long friendships, emotional support and necessary answers to fundamental questions they face daily. Now we are creating a global consumer marketplace of attention, data, content, freelance services, p2p trade (local classifieds, collective buying), virtual goods, charity and branded goods services, where moms will share support and trade with moms in other countries. They get paid for all they used to do for free - in tokens that reflect the economic value of the global marketplace. This materially increases moms' spending power."
The Moving Hive (L'Atelier du Miel") - Beirut, Lebanon
"We offer job-ready beekeeping training to refugees through a blended approach (online, classroom, field, and internships) that enables them to learn a craft and profession that they can use both at the camp and when they go back to their home country, and to earn a dignified livelihood by selling their honey through our platforms."
NaTakallam - NY, Paris and Beirut
"NaTakallam gives displaced persons an income, restored sense of dignity/purpose, and window into the world. Through the digital economy, and rather than being passive recipients to aid, refugees become regular online tutors/translators. We engage individuals who are at times entirely cut off from the world, in camps or in total limbo status. Even if they don't have bank account, we partner with NGOs and pay through cash-for-work programming. By finding long term clients, such as university and large businesses, NaTakallam aims to work with refugees, provide them with minimum wage income and in a sustainable fashion that will go beyond the immediate media hype."
NeedsList, PBC - Philadelphia, USA and Toronto, Canada
"NeedsList is the world’s first marketplace for communities in crisis. Vetted frontline responders create lists of urgent information, supply, and human resource needs on the NeedsList platform via our web app and chatbot. These needs are aggregated into a secure database made accessible to multiple stakeholders. Our “give global, buy local” approach helps to support a positive narrative around migration."
Africa Experience - Italy & Afghanistan
"Apart from giving refugees and migrants the possibility to work, the business directly helps refugees and migrants, like myself, to integrate themselves into the communities and cities where they live, offering them both gainful and dignified employment, as well as the ability to realize themselves in a new and empowering social and labour-market context. In effect, we all become entrepreneurs."
R Ventures Foundation - Amsterdam
"We want to give refugees access to concrete, measurable programs and tools that will enable them to change the narrative for themselves, achieving and demonstrating business success that will greatly benefit them and their families, as well as their host and home communities. Our program will also equip them with relevant skills that are in demand in their host country. As a result, they will have the best possible chance for financial independence, thus clearly demonstrating their abilities to be important contributors to economic growth as opposed to burdens on society. Equally important, their success stories will inspire other refugees to take a similar path to learn technology and entrepreneurship and successfully enter the business world. "
Real Hotels and Resorts - USA, Dominican Republic, Central America and Colombia
"Grupo Poma permanently invests in the country, generating wealth and jobs in many communities. All these investments over time has given Salvadorans countless opportunities to have flourishing lives, extrapolated to multiple generations including those of potential migrants. We have various businesses in the group actively helping communities to have a better life and education. We rebuild schools, give scholarships at all educational levels, and have created and manage various educational programs and universities. Our evidence includes many individuals in these programs today who are successful government and private sector leaders, businessman, entrepreneurs, and academics in country with renown recognition in country and abroad."
Refugee Address Book, LLC
"The Refugee Address Book enables refugees to connect to their new world by providing an online database of all refugees in the world."
Samasource - San Francisco, USA; The Hague, The Netherlands; Nairobi, Kenya
"Samasource provides digital skills and freelance training to marginalized individuals to work either at our owned-and-operated business process outsourcing (BPO) delivery centers, at our freelance agency or as independent freelancers. We recognize that there is a need for refugees, migrants, and IDPs to find flexible employment and develop skills that can be carried forward and applied in their resettled state. Following successful deployment of our freelancing agency in Nairobi, our nimble freelancing model is being piloted in Dadaab refugee camp and in refugee camps throughout Greece as an effective solution to enable livelihood creation in protracted refugee situations."
Seek - London, UK
"The business is sustainable because we earn revenue from employers that are looking to hire great refugee candidates. As we are an innovative technology platform, our costs are very low so we have an opportunity to be fully sustainable. We support refugees into employment by giving them CV help, interview practice, job-seeking advice and free access to our job-seeking platform. This empowers refugees to build happy, stable lives in the UK."
SEP-Jordan - Jordan
"The brand SEP Jordan represents the highest quality standards of Middle-Eastern embroidery, coupled with Italian style: this brand gives thousands of refugees a way to tell their stories through their art and heritage and gives customers a platform to share the artists' stories. The more the brand grows, the more artists work and their families and communities prosper."
The Sewing Cooperative - Rome, Italy
"The first question we ask a new employee is 'What do you want to do achieve? And how can we help you get there?' The Sewing Cooperative aims to provide work and much needed economic support for refugee tailors, as well as a supportive environment where every person is valued for their skills and compensated fairly for their contributions. It also works to create cultural exchange and social inclusion between the tailors and the host community of Rome, as well as visitors from other countries. This dialogue between customer and artisan creates a space where each person can let their talents shine, be complimented for their skills, and to feel validated as a professional with pride in their work. At the same time, they learn to adapt their skills to a new context."
Simplon.co - Paris, France
"We aim to value refugees' skills through specific training. In 2017 SINGA worked with more than 120 entrepreneurs including 75% of refugees, in France, with incubation & support and designed an open source model to disseminate its methods and training material, with a 80% average of business creation after the incubation. Since 2016 63 refugees from 22 nationalities have followed Simplon coding courses, with a 71% insertion rate (job or further education) 6 months after the end of the course. Though specific training for refugees to increase their digital skills, and projects incubation as well as connections with different ecosystems, the fusion between Simplon and SINGA aims to multiply its impact for jobs creations for refugees, but also a change of narrative for locals."
Sisu Global Health Inc. - Baltimore, MD, USA; also operating in Nairobi, Kenya
"Currently, 80% of the world’s medical technology is designed for 10% of the world’s population, leaving refugees and patients across emerging markets without access to appropriate medical care. Sisu bridges this gap with a medical device platform created specifically for low-resource settings. Instead of paring down US/European technology, Sisu designs for and with emerging markets, taking into account their unique spending habits, needs, and limitations that do not overlap with typical US/European sales structures. We believe in not just producing a game-changing product, but in creating a revolutionary change in the system."
Smart Toto Publishing Company - Kampala, Uganda
"Through our containerized solar powered smart Toto community centers, will shall be able to provide solar to run the community and sustain growth and development of different sectors from hospitals, school to mills homestead lighting powered by TIGER POWER. And help in skilling both the women and girls in terms of early literacy development, financial literacy training and digital skilling. Creating skilling hubs, designed to provide needs based/ interest based vocational training for the youth in the communities. Hence improving the lives of refugees, migrants, and internally-displaced people of the community in an empowering way."
TaQadam - Beirut, Lebanon and Erbil, Iraq
"Host conflict-affected economies cannot absorb and utilize the young talent leaving thousands of tech-savvy, educated youths working in exploitative informal markets despite hundreds of upskilling trainings. TaQadam solution is designed as an infrastructure connecting global businesses building data-powered systems for Artificial Intelligence and the refugee talent as imagery analysts/annotators. Working in TaQadam is a critical income generation opportunity, that buys the displaced youth the time for further professional development and learning, brings financial inclusion and builds social cohesion across communities. We transform the displaced youth to a critical workforce advancing the future of technology."
Tarjimly - Silicon Valley, USA
Tarjimly means “translate” in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, Dari, Somali and Turkish. Tarjimly helps refugees communicate by connecting them with a volunteer translator or interpreter on their phone in just 60 seconds. This helps them speak with doctors, lawyers, aid workers, or just have basic conversations. They can get documents, signs, reports, and agreements translated on-demand. We will provide paid opportunities for refugees to become translators and interpreters, which is a role many do informally today for the 75,000 registered international NGOs. Our long-term goal is to also connect language tutors to help refugees sustainably adjust to their host country. A translator, a teacher, a friend, right in their pocket.
Techfugees - Paris, France
"As of today, 900 refugees have participated in Techfugees events and 75% have leveraged our network for employment opportunities, internships and access to other types of services. Our goal is to scale this impact and empower refugees more broadly. Basefugees will allow refugees to connect directly with a consistent, safe and reliable source of web based applications, products and services. For example, we envision Basefugees being the first place they turn if they are looking for opportunities to learn the local language or identify local healthcare resources."
Tiger Power - Belgium, India, Uganda
"Tiger Power’s renewable energy solutions supply electricity for productive use. Growth of businesses and institutions is key for refugee’s sustainable (economic) development. Our foldable solar solution, the Sunfold can power 150 refugee households. Powering lights at homes, the x-ray machines at the doctor’s and the computers at the digital training center enables kids to do their homework, patients to be treated effectively and refugees to train their IT-skills."
T-light Recruitment & Consultant Agency
"By connecting refugees and migrants to available jobs in their arrival country. such as waiters, cook and cleaners and others un-skilled labor, leading to independence and self-reliance.
Water Warriors - Cincinnati, USA
"Water Warriors provides technologies which enable recycle and reuse of water. Availability of clean water and sanitation is imperative for refugees, migrants and internally-displaced people. Having proper sanitation systems, clean water to drink, and hygiene education can mean the difference between life and death, especially for kids. These services make up the building blocks of successful and healthy communities. But when refugees are forced from their homes and living in previously uninhabited areas, these elements are too often missing from their lives. Building water and wastewater infrastructure that works, is so important to the future of refugee communities."
Waya - New York, USA
"In 2013, we ran a study in 15 countries about "Refugees & ICT" and we discovered that most refugees are connect but Refugee support organizations don't address them on their websites or apps. Apps where built FOR and not WITH refugees. Since 2015, more than 100 apps (Telecom ParisTech 2018) have been built in a new spirit, more human centered and collaborative, none of them are sustainable. Why? Because they are not bringing more value today than Facebook, Tinder, WhatsApp or Skype. What we did with Waya is literally a revolution, we have created an incentive for locals and refugees to meet around their interests and projects. It's reshaping stronger and more innovative societies."
Weathertec AG - Zug, Switzerland
"The business of WeatherTec is to "prevent" forced migration. It aims to prevent people to becoming refugees in the first place. But, it will, of course, also improve the situation in current large-scale refugee camps, by ensuring food and water security, jobs in agriculture and trade, and improve living conditions. WeatherTec's primary aim is, however, to solve the problem of migrations at its root and to prevent the threatening tsunami-like forced migration wave. Experts believe that WeatherTec can become the basis for national and international security by supporting sustainable and secure environment in the homelands."
WorkAround Online - Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Venezuela
"WorkAround restores dignity to refugees through economic empowerment by connecting them to fair-wage work through our online platform. Work on our platform is appropriate for a variety of skill and knowledge levels and is available on demand to fit any schedule. We provide training internally and through partner organizations in order to build the skills of our workforce so that they can perform higher-level, higher-paying tasks over time. We also provide professional tips on resume writing, interviewing, professional email communications, and on other soft skills, which will help workers secure more lucrative and fulfilling jobs when they either return home or are resettled."
World's Greatest Videos - Texas, USA
"We believe our business will sustainably improve the lives of refugees, migrants, and internally-displaced people by giving them access to a global platform to share and watch videos from people around the world."
World Refugees School, Inc. - Amman, Jordan
"Currently, more than 65 million individuals are living as refugees throughout the world, while many millions more are internally displaced. Children raised under these difficult conditions may spend most of their childhood living in temporary camps, with no access to formal education and little hope for a productive future. As parents and educators, we understand that access to quality education is the key to a bright future, so our core mission is to develop and deliver educational opportunities to these vulnerable communities so that they may thrive, contribute and fulfill their full human potential."
Zito International - Monterrey, Mexico & Mexico City
"Can't live without your morning coffee? What do you do with the coffee waste? If you throw it away, well let me tell you that Zito seeks to promote the integration of migrants and refugees in Mexico through the use of organic waste (that's right your coffee waste) to create domestic processes, that allow them to generate products sold in the locality such as: soaps & cosmetics. With this, it is possible to provide an income and opportunities of economic development for migrants and refugees who arrive to big cities like Monterrey or Mexico City."
Zoë Bands - Lesvos, Greece
1. We buy aid that restores dignity. Past purchases have included bbq pits at the camps so refugees could cook, not just receive handouts, and motorize wheelchairs for amputees. 2. We make the bracelets in Lesvos and buy aid on the island to keep a positive relationship between the locals and their 3. Our bracelets provide westerners with a tangible connection to the refugee crisis and allow them to be asylum advocates."