Refugee Entrepreneurs in Turkey are Gathering in “İMECE Circle”
“İMECE Circle” was established within the scope of the “İMECE Project”, which is conducted by Habitat Association and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), with the aim of being a wide network by gathering refugee entrepreneurs, freelancers, mentors and anyone who has entrepreneurial spirit and motivation in Turkey.
The İMECE Project, which was realized in 2016 by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Habitat Association, aims at achieving the employment of Syrian refugees and the realization of their business ideas by improving their skills. The employment and entrepreneurship activities being realized within the scope of the project are supporting the social cohesion of both the refugees and the host society. “İMECE Circle”, which is aimed at beinga wide network by gathering refugee entrepreneurs, freelancers, mentors and anyone with entrepreneurial spirit and motivation in Turkey, was established. İMECE Circle Opening Meeting was held with the moderation of Habitat Association Socioeconomic Cohesion Programme Director Elif Bilge Erdölek on November 14, 2020. The meeting began with the opening speeches of UNHCR Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Programs Deputy Manager İmren Arslanoğlu and Habitat Association Board Manager Sezai Hazır.
Habitat Association Board Manager Sezai Hazır stated in his speech that:
“By our İMECE Project, which we started in partnership with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2016, we aimed at supporting to improve refugees’ competences to set up their own businesses and to increase their employabilities. Within the scope of this project, we have carried on our works in 3 parts as Job Support Programme, Entrepreneurship Support Programme, Employment Support Program and Social Cohesion Activities. In the mean time, we have given trainings to over 9 thousand people and supported the establishment of 172 companies. Rather than just gathering refugee entrepreneurs, freelancers and mentors with newly established İMECE Circle, I think, it is also an important opportunity to make them come together with other actors of country’s economy.”
“We achieved very good results with our İMECE Project which puts forward the refugee entrepreneurship and does this by means of the trainings at the center of new generation technologies. UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is an organization, which primarily carries on works about the protection of refugees’ legal rights in the host countries. As UNHCR Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Programs, our main objective is to provide a person with self-sufficiencyand make it possible for her/him to decide about her/his own life. Today, there are over 3 million Syrian refugees and around 300 thousand refugees from different nationalities in Turkey. One third of the refugees that live in Turkey are workable. As beginning our works to provide the contribution of this section to the economy, we paid attention to not only carrying on our works that are specific to the entrepreneurs, but also giving vocational trainings. By the works we have done in collaboration with Habitat Association, we organized technology-centered trainings towards entrepreneurs. We work on networking with public institutes alongside the civil societyand making this sustainable.”
The event, in which Cem Uluyüceand Erdinç Kalıntaş from UNHCR Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion Programs participated, continued with the phase of acquainting that 50 members of the network took part. The network members, who are involved in İMECE Circle, later in the process when exchanging knowledge, experience, skills and services among themselves, at the same time will find opportunity to come together with several sector leaders and improve their businesses.