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How are BNP Paribas and its partners helping refugees in Europe start a business?

  • 27.06.2019

Since 2015, BNP Paribas has set up a significant policy of helping refugees in Europe, through a range of programmes led by the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Group's local network. In 2018, BNP Paribas has decided to continue its support plan for the inclusion and integration of refugees by dedicating 4.5 million euros by 2021. BNP Paribas, in 10 countries in Europe, also carries out numerous actions to help refugees find work, supporting several associations and supporting numerous Microfinance Institutions. Focus on two aeras of support to refugees.

In France in Montreuil, a business incubator to help refugees create their company

On Wednesday 19 June 2019, the City of Montreuil opened a business incubator for refugees. The goal of this new venue is to support classes of about thirty refugees in creating their company. Each class will receive personalised support of 9 months towards entrepreneurship, with the provision of IT tools, work rooms, access to training and workshops, individualised monitoring with a mentor and benefiting from a professional ecosystem.

This innovative partnership, bringing together the City of Montreuil, BNP Paribas, Generali France, the Human Safety Net Foundation, but also the Montreuil and La Ruche Business Network, will enable refugees using the incubator to benefit from comprehensive support committed to removing all obstacles inherent in the entrepreneurship of refugees. From September 2019, the incubator will host the first class of about fifteen people.

As part of this partnership, BNP Paribas has provided equipment for the incubator's coworking space and will mobilise volunteers to mentor the students.

“ Our support is not only financial, we also involve our employees. Not only do they do their job as bankers, supporting entrepreneurs, but they also contribute to the new start for these refugees. ”

Raphaèle Leroy

Director of Company Engagement at BNP Paribas French Retail Banking 

Source Le Figaro

In Europe, BNP Paribas supports MFIs offering programmes to help refugees

In Europe, BNP Paribas has been supporting Microfinance Institutions that promote financial inclusion for several years. The latter grant loans to people who are excluded from the banking system to enable them to develop their business, generate income and to escape a hand-to-mouth existence. These MFIs offer support schemes for refugees.

In Belgium, microStart, launched in 2010 with the help of BNP Paribas Fortis, offers a comprehensive and dedicated approach to refugees. Thanks to the support of BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation, a second Community Officer has been appointed for the regions of Brussels and Wallonia. This intermediary is tasked with supporting refugees individually in their business start-up project.

In Luxembourg, Microlux, supported by BGL BNP Paribas since its creation in 2016, has created a guarantee fund aimed at promoting the professional integration of refugees through entrepreneurship. Financial assistance set up in 2019 by Microlux in cooperation with the Group representing 50,000 euros per year for 3 years. This system is part of the BNP Paribas Group's commitment to the integration of refugees in Europe. 

In Italy, PerMicro supported by BNL, supports many families and promotes the creation and development of companies in various sectors. In its Social Impact Measurement Report, produced in partnership with the "Politecnico di Milano" University and the Tiresia Centre (December 2018), PerMicro highlights the impact on people who, before receiving a microloan, did not have access to funding through traditional channels. In almost 8 years, more than 700 entrepreneurs and 2,700 families have changed their status from without access to banking to having bank accounts. The study also highlights the fact that in terms of jobs creation and strengthening employment, migrants represent 23% of the funded entrepreneurs. 58% of PerMicro loan seekers is represented by women and the majority of them are migrants. Lastly, the report highlights the benefits of obtaining these loans for entrepreneurs and families, ranging from creating new jobs to growing businesses, accessing medical care and reducing the number of families living below the poverty line.

“ Thanks to support in terms of business creation or financial education, microfinance promotes inclusion. thanks to the loans granted from a microfinance institution, it is easier for beneficiaries to obtain financing from traditional lending. By financing Microfinance Institutions, BNP Paribas supports financial inclusion. ”

Claudia Belli

Head of Social Entrepreneurship and Microfinance at BNP Paribas

Photo credit : header ©FOLIO

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