Following in the footsteps of Marks & Spencer - website launched to help refugee entrepreneurs - Refugee Council
June 22, 2006

Following in the footsteps of Marks & Spencer – website launched to help refugee entrepreneurs

A unique website aimed at helping refugees to develop their own business launched this week.

Refugees have higher education levels than the general UK population but they are six times more likely to be unemployed. Many have business skills honed in their country of origin, but face difficulties in a new culture. The new website, Refugees into Business, provides advice and resources including:

  • A self-help guide on how to start-up a business in the UK

  • A basic business advice toolkit for advisers in refugee communities

  • A refugee awareness toolkit for mainstream business advisers

  • Details on training

Among the problems faced by refugees are language problems, accessing capital, discrimination, non-recognition of their qualifications and suspicion of authority. Adrian Marshall of the Refugee Council said the website was intended to help overcome these barriers:

“People know that Michael Marks and Sir Montague Burton, among others, were refugees, and they did better than okay in the business world. But refugees today face a lot of barriers, so this website intends to help them overcome those barriers and unleash their potential.”

He added: ”Providing refugees with the right help and advice to start successful businesses is hugely complex. The launch of the web-site is an important step to providing would-be refugee entrepreneurs with the targetted help and advice they need.

”Refugees into Business is unique. We are bringing together expertise from the refugee and enterprise sectors in a national project in a new way. As the project progresses and we discover what is most effective we will encourage regional agencies and local government in other regions of the UK to provide targetted business support for refugees, to provide real support that works.”

The website is part of a year-long project run by the Refugee Enterprise Partnership and supported by the Small Business Service Phoenix Fund which aims to provide long-term improvement in the support available to refugees wishing to set up in business.

For more information see

The Refugee Enterprise Partnership, led by The Refugee Council, is made up of: Social Enterprise London, Education Action International, Refugee Women’s Association, Community Action Network, The Princes Trust and Refugee Action.


For further information and interviews contact press office: Chris Pitt 0207 346 1213 (Switchboard: 0207 346 6700). For urgent or out of hours inquiries ring 0870 0555500 and ask for pager 865169.