The "TREND - Training Refugees in Entrepreneurial skills using digital devices" project is funded under the European Union’s Erasmus+ program under Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Strategic Partnership for Innovation in the field of adult education. The project started on 1st September 2017 and runs until 31st December 2020. The project aims to foster entrepreneurial competences of refugees and people with a migration background in order to strengthen the perspective of starting a business. By making self-employment a viable option, chances for a successful integration to the labour market are raised.
The "TREND" project wishes to raise awareness for the great potential of people coming to Europe. In some cases their skills and potential remain unused due to bureaucratic hurdles, inefficiencies of the political and the economic system and complicated processes for entering and persisting in the labour market.
The TREND project is aimed at making Self-employment a viable option for refugees and migrants in Europe by training entrepreneurial trainers and using digital educational devices for refugees & migrants. The partnership was developed among the partners since the autumn of 2015 when we first met, but the proposal was fully developed in 2017 and was granted support from the Erasmus+ EU program from the autumn of 2017 with the grant number 2017-1-NO01-KA204-034214 - Erasmus+ 2017 – Adult education - KA2 Strategic partnership. The project period was from 01.09.2017 and finishing on 31.12.2020 (prolonged due to Covid 19 for three additional months).
The TREND portal with the educational modules, the networking and mentoring facitilites is the core of the project, but the partners also developed the TREND quality stamp and the whole project was initiated by analysing the contaxt for migrant & refugee entrepreneurs in each of the partner countries Norway, Germany, Greece, Belgium and Ireland. The national reports may be found here:
The TREND project partners have built the educational web-based tools created in the TREND project together. These modules might be developed further in a dynamic way through the building of a support network of actors interested in this type of thematic work through the TREND Quality Stamp network.
Three so called "Intellectual Outputs" were elaborated by the European project’s partnership during the project’s period:
First Intellectual Output:
The first output within the project is the "TREND Research Report".
This research report, composed of national reports, was issued jointly by all partner organisations and is supposed to display the current status of migrant and refugee entrepreneurship on the respective national level (Norway, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland). The report collects national data on migration and migration policies as well as on economic structures and labour market requirement and what this implies for refugee and migrant entrepreneurship in terms of obstacles and chances. Good practice examples of encouraging and engaging refugees and people with migration background in self-entrepreneurial actions are gathered and shared.
Second Intellectual Output:
The second output is the "TREND Educational Portal for Entrepreneurs".
The portal is accessible online and free of cost on https://trendproject.eu/, it is adapted for access through diverse digital devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets of PC/Mac). It provides learning modules on topics related to entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial skills and on how to open a business in Europe. It is specifically tailored to third country nationals, e.g. refugees or people with migration background, taking into account differing economic structures, cultural approaches towards business, bureaucratic challenges, etc. Besides the learning modules on the learning portal it is possible to create a network of entrepreneurs using the portal and trainers/mentors/coaches or other professionals or organizations offering guidance or access to finance.
Third Intellectual Output:
The third output is the "TREND Quality Stamp" which leads us to the next chapter introducing the stamp itself and its purpose within the project.
The partners have had transnational meetings in all the partner countries, and shared their experience and network to make this project possible to realize. Below is a presentation of each of the partner organisations.
Microfinance Norway (MFN) is the coordinator of the TREND project 2017-2020. It is a social business membership association with 101 members, but with more than 1450 customers in the various entrepreneurship training programs and other activities. It has a considerable experience in advising and training entrepreneurs, mainly migrants, also in financial education and microfinance, and it has been operating under several names since 1996. It was part of the European Microfinance Network since 2003 (a founding member) and has strong international ties related to microfinance and entrepreneurial education in Europe and internationally.
The main focus of the association has been to serve it's members with activity, advocacy and training for their educational needs in entrepreneurial activity, finance, and be a creative hub mainly for those who are excluded (for various reasons) from the normal labour force. We have been working with refugees/immigrants, persons with health issues, national minorities such as Roma, x-cons, but also other entrepreneurs with a wish to be in a creative environment with learning opportunities. However, since 2017 the main focus has been on the TREND Erasmus+ project., and less on face to face training and activities. We usually have about 50% in each course who have refugee or migrant background. However, we see the mix of newcomers with those who are born in Norway as very positive inclusion perspective, so we work with all. Microfinance Norway has been part of 3 international partnership projects related to entrepreneurial training, financial education and microfinance before.
IADT is Ireland’s leading Institute of Art Design and Technology incorporating the National Film School of Ireland. IADT is a small specialist academic institution employing just under 200 staff, and has an undergraduate student population of 2,500 and 200 post graduate students. The proportion of female undergraduate students in IADT (52%) is slightly higher than the Institute of Technology sector (45%) but close to the university average (55%)
IADT offers higher education programmes from Level 7 to Level 9 (Masters degrees). IADT offers an undergraduate honours degree programme in Creative Media Technologies – Audio, Video, Electronics, Computing and a Masters Degree in User Experience (UX) Design. UX Design is a process of designing digital products that focuses on maximising user satisfaction through user research, usability testing and iterative design.
IADT core work on TREND was the development of a Responsive Web Application that will enable TREND content to render across a wide variety of devices and screen sizes including Smartphones. Usability, design and end-user satisfaction is at the core of this work.
KulturLife is a non-profit organisation for intercultural exchange, founded in 1995 and based in Kiel. Intercultural encounters for young people and adults from different cultures offer the opportunity to learn from each other and to overcome inner boundaries. We are convinced that the gained understanding for other ways of life and views will increase international understanding, international cooperation and respect for each other.
Besides diverse exchange formats, through our activities within the Erasmus+ program, we are dedicated to tackle socio-political challenges such as inclusion of minorities, peaceful and just coexistence, equal chances for all, fostered professional perspectives or prevention of discrimination. Within the “TREND” project we contribute mainly to the strengthening of a positive self-image leading to empowerment and self-effectiveness and to an overall language and culture sensitive approach in elaborating learning material.
IEPS Jemappes-Quiévrain has been providing vocational education since 1988. Specialized in lifelong learning, people aged 18 to 78 attend our classes. Our school offers about 50 training programmes of the secondary and tertiary sectors. Our team is based on 120 experienced coworkers who often appeal to experts and share a common goal: to open a window to the future.
IEPS Jemappes-Quiévrain is always ready to answer any requests from its social partners. We maintain numerous partnerships with social and economic actors in the best interest of our students.
We are also developing relationships with European partners to open up the scope of possibilities. In the research phase of TREND (IO1), our school conducted a survey among about 400 students, both in French and in English, to assess their potential interest in entrepreneurship and to learn more about the main difficulties they had faced or were facing while trying to achieve their goals. IEPS Jemappes-Quiévrain also developed three learning modules and was in charge of the website translation into French.
The Academy of Entrepreneurship (AKEP) is a non-profit organisation that focuses on non-formal learning of soft and technical entrepreneurial skills. AKEP is participating in various European research projects regarding employability and entrepreneurship. In 2020, AKEP started the development of the Academy of Entrepreneurship e-learning hub (https://academy.akep.eu/) with a special focus on non-formal and VET training on entrepreneurship (e-courses and online workshops).
For the TREND project, AKEP conducted desktop research on migration in Greece, the needs of migrants and refugees, the current situation, and good practices on engaging refugees in self-entrepreneurial activities. Moreover, AKEP worked on the modules ‘Business Planning’, ‘Financing your Business’, and ‘Understanding Markets’. Finally, it contributed to the creation of the TREND Quality Stamp.
You can find more information about AKEP at https://akep.eu/
Funded by the Erasmus + EU program from the autumn of 2017 with the grant number 2017-1-NO01-KA204-034214 - Erasmus+ 2017 – Adult education - KA2 Strategic partnership through DIKU, Norwegian Agency for International Cooperaion and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education