April 23, 2015

More Than Money: Competitions and Awards Boost Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Recognize immigrant entrepreneurs, and support them, with a high profile competition or award ceremony.

Despite language barriers, immigrant entrepreneurs in cities world-wide are posting big dividends for local economies. In many cities around the world, immigrant entrepreneurs account for a far higher percentage of entrepreneurs than their share of the population would suggest. Modern local economic development initiatives recognize how immigrants are an increasingly vital source of city growth.

Building a competition or awards ceremony to recognize immigrant entrepreneur achievements and contributions also serves to highlight their important place in local economies. Partnerships with local industry leaders and important institutions provide expertise, influence and incentives for winners. Not only does that continue to build on the innovation and efforts of immigrant entrepreneurs, it also signals to others that they are valued and can find similar support for their efforts.

The following good ideas in immigrant entrepreneur integration and support come from our sister site, Cities of Migration.

Competition THRIVE: Making the City Stronger

Recognizing the contribution of immigrant entrepreneurs helps promote small business success and build a network of business leaders. Competition To Help Reach Immigrant Ventures and Entrepreneurs (THRIVE) is an immigrant entrepreneur support competition. Launched by the city of New York’s Economic Development Corporation in 2011 as part of its mission to “make the city stronger,” the project generates financially sustainable business plans that can address the challenges faced by immigrant entrepreneurs in New York City.

Rather than award individual entrepreneurs, Competition THRIVE invites established non-profit organizations to develop proposals for scalable programs that promote growth opportunities for the city’s immigrant businesses. The plans must address the challenges they face, such as access to credit, financial management, language barriers, and access to business networks and are judged according to feasibility, applicability, scalability, and sustainability. Learn more.

Reaching out to Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Munich

A business plan competition to help immigrant entrepreneurs with small business ventures. Since 2010, the City of Munich has handed out the Phoenix Prize at an annual gala at City Hall, awarding €1,000 to each of three winners who exemplify “outstanding economic achievements and social responsibility efforts of migrant enterprises.” These exemplary individuals may be successful entrepreneurs. They may have hired or created opportunities for young trainees or apprentices from migrant backgrounds, supported diversity within their workforce, or invested within the city.

The Phoenix Prize is one of four components of the Migrant Entrepreneurs in Munich (MEM) program, run by the city’s Department of Labour and Economic Development, Local Employment and Qualification Policy. It’s part of the Munich Employment and Qualification Program (MBQ), through which the City of Munich pursues its primary labour market strategy. Currently sponsoring more than 110 projects and activities, the program seeks to improve the employment prospects of disadvantaged persons in Munich’s labour market. Migrant entrepreneurs are one of the key target groups. Learn more.

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