Startup refugees: “Immigration is importing of brains”

By Guest Author | refugees | September 10, 2015

This is a repost of an original blog post, published by The Arctic Startup on September 10th, 2015.

Finnish entrepreneurs founded a startup grant for refugees, says Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Finnish entrepreneurs and TV-personalities Tunna Milonoff and Riku Rantala have started a startup grant for refugees in Finland, says FBC. The goal of the ‘Startup Refugees‘ –program is to help the refugees arriving in Finland to have a fresh start in the new country as well as help the Finnish economy to rise.

Rantala and Milonoff want to encourage Finnish companies to join their movement – And they already have found major supporters such as Supercell, startup conference Slush and the Ministry of the Interior of Finland.

“There’s a variety of different types of refugees, but some of them might have been already entrepreneurs in their home country. They might have ideas, information and knowledge of cultures and the world – within areas where Finnish people don’t,” says Milonoff to FBC.

The idea of Startup Refugees – program is to help the asylum seekers located in Finland in developing their business ideas. This perspective on immigration takes into consideration the aspect that there’s a significant amount of expertise and talent among the people forced to leave their home country. While applying for the startup grant, one has to be registered as a asylum seeker and has to have a working permission in Finland.

“Many Finnish success stories have been born because of the ability of immigrants to think differently. And you cannot forget that for instance Steve Jobs was a second generation Syrian immigrant”, says Rantala.

Immigration is basically importing of brains. We want to harness the intellectual capital of the refugees and combine it with Finnish crazy entrepreneurial spirit – And get the Finnish economy rising,” Rantala continues to FBC.

The three-staged program consists of a startup grant, a mentor program and a business incubator.

The startup ideas might consider for instance developing the everyday life of asylum seekers living in the reception centres around Finland. The amount of the grant one may receive for a month is €32,80 per day.