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Build migrant and Refugee Entrepreneurial ecosystem

Helping migrant and refugee entrepreneur thrive through mentoring

Photo of Selassie. K. Amenorhu

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Problem we are trying to solve Migrant and refugee entrepreneurs face monumental challenges trying to integrate into host communities. These include geographic, cultural and socio-economic barriers. Our social mission is to serve disadvantaged migrants who have shown signs of entrepreneurship. We focus on startups to micro/early stage to growth and beyond. Our group of seven (7) designers from the Netherlands, France, USA and Ghana were inspired to work on this mission after a design research highlighted the impediments faced by disadvantaged entrepreneurs mainly young, migrants and refugees. The impediments are as follows 1. Difficulty connecting with people that will help the business succeed (social capital). The insight from this design challenge is that we need to create an ecosystem for disadvantaged entrepreneurs that enhances their chances of success through guidance from experienced professionals. 2. Getting the education needed to enhance their business knowledge. The insight from this design challenge is that we need to provide entrepreneurial education that focuses on starting, scaling and sustaining businesses. 3. Difficulty getting community support. The insight from this design challenge is that we need to build a community dedicated to supporting disadvantaged entrepreneurs within the community. For example, providing market and trade hub association linkage etc. Solution Our project is designed to support disadvantaged entrepreneurs (migrants and refugees) aspiring to start their own business with the help of a mobile application by matching their questions with answers from experts. DOSOC (Do Social) is a platform designed to support members who want to start a business. The program is available to all entrepreneurs regardless of their position within the business cycle, from those starting out with a brilliant idea, to more established business owners who want to scale. The platform allows these entrepreneurs to learn and connect virtually

Geography of focus (500 characters)

It’s global. We leverage technology to make it easier to connect migrants and refugees with entrepreneurs, local communities, educators and investors in our network. Migrants and refuges can log in from anywhere in the world, learn and collaborate with mentors and other members in real-time. To make it user friendly, we need to build in different language options such French, Dutch, and Spanish in addition to the English version and also get collaborators on board.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

Migration is often associated with poverty. Our concept will help to solve some of the geographic, cultural and social-economic barriers that impede disadvantaged entrepreneurs mainly refugees, migrant and young entrepreneurs. 1.) We intend to bridge the gap between access to information and the networks that use information.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Migrants and refugees face thousands of barriers of barriers that business creation skills alone simply cannot adequately resolve. Dosoc hopes to alleviate solve poverty by helping migrant and refugees achieve economic independence through venture creation by means of mentoring and business knowledge (irrespective of geographic, cultural and socio-economic barriers). Our concept also helps participants acquire mentors, build support systems, learn new skills such as personal finance and goal setting, and adopting habits for their daily and weekly routines. By fostering a community through meet-up events we help remove the social integration barriers.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

We believe supporting small businesses transforms the lives of individuals, families and employees and create wealth in the community. Our mission is to empower our community to create jobs across the globe. We aim to deliver value to migrants and refugees who have experienced economic shock and stress and those who do not have access to business resources. 4 years after our operations, we expect to: a.) Increase the number of job creation b.) Increase business revenue growth c.) Increase access to support system and networks d.) Reduce the number of members that live below the area median incomes. To measure Dosoc progress, each year we will reach back to the entrepreneurs and mentors who joined Dosoc in previous calendar year to evaluate their performance. We will conduct impact survey for participants who sign up and use the statistics to measure our progress so that we can improve on our social mission.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

We drew inspiration from our design research which highlighted the challenges that impede disadvantaged entrepreneurs mainly young, migrant and refugee. For many, lack of social capital, entrepreneurial education and mentorship mainly due to geography, cultural and socio-economic can limit their chances of success. Our point of view is that we believe everyone, irrespective of the geography, cultural and socio-economic barrier deserves an opportunity. Our European Team Lead Monique Dee Hass, since then has being inspired to help refugees in this regard. On March 2019, Monique flew to Lesbos to help mothers with babies with buggies and baby carriers after watching an inspiring story from Team Lead Africa Selassie, since then has being sharing a workbook chronicle by the team on Design Thinking to guide disadvantaged entrepreneurs on how to find opportunity with design thinking in these times of high level unemployment in Ghana.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

Migrants and refugees can log in from anywhere in the world, learn and collaborate with mentors and other members in real-time irrespective of the geographic, cultural and socio-economic barriers. To make it user friendly, we need to build in different language options such French, Dutch, and Spanish in addition to the English version to enhance global reach and accessibility. In Africa, almost half of the 10 million graduates churned out of the over 668 universities yearly do not get jobs. This has resulted in high level of migration in Africa. Employment is the main driver of migration followed by armed conflict. Most African countries are making policies to help their citizens. It follows that migrants may or may not benefit from these initiative or policies. So our solutions that we are coming up with is capable of being replicated in other part of Africa.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

For entrepreneurs, turning a passion into a business is the ultimate dream. But that dream doesn’t come easily. It’s hard work and there are challenges around every corner. Fortunately, entrepreneurs don’t have to go it alone. Their chance of success increases with access to the business knowledge and guidance of experienced professionals. Dosoc is where they meet. It is easy to use services that connect entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors so they can solve problems together. Our mission is to leverage the power of mentorship to help small businesses thrive.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

Effective collaborations and partnerships are central to Dosoc’s model. For scaling up, we will depend on establishing the development of smart, effective and often multi-actor partnerships. We will seek collaborations with smart individual, organization and groups that could help us achieve this mission. We will partner with startup schools such as Arizona State University Startup school to help provide course content for the entrepreneurs. DOSOC will seek partner with local and International Corporation to engage their employees as volunteer business mentor and provide them with professional development training in effective mentoring. We will also work with trade associations and organization networks such as, USAID under African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA). DOSOC will partner with organization through our Affiliate Program, helping them to provide affordable, high-quality services to their clients.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Arriving and settling at a destination community

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Prototype: We have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Group or Organization Name

DOSOC (Do Social)

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

We are a group of seven (7) people originating from The Netherlands, France, Ghana and the United State. We got to know each other through the online course of NovoEd/ IDEO on Human Centered Design to work on the challenge. We have use a human centered design approach to accurately identify the problems young, migrant and refugee entrepreneurs’ faces in our respective countries. We worked with user groups in our respective countries to identify their biggest challenge and sketched out potential solutions. We managed to get our prototype out to see what user group thought. After testing the prototype and getting a positive response, we hope to take our social mission global with our Minimum Viable Product.

Type of submitter

  • We are not yet a registered organization but plan to in future

Organization Headquarters: Country

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Attachments (5)

PDF Version of the Problem & Solution.pdf

This is the Pdf version of the Problem and Solution

BridgeWater User experience map.pdf

This is the User experience map

Video of the Idea.mp4

The Project in Video

Interface of our mentorship solution.pdf

The final version of the Prototype. This is refine as well

Part of the Journey to our discovery.pdf

The team journey on the Project of discovering the challenges for Young, Migrant and Refugee entreprenuers


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Photo of George

Thank you for adding me to your team Selassie!

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