15th January, 2016 – Refugee Business Mentoring Programme has Kanton Zurich and Entrepreneurship support!

Capacity has been working on developing its forthcoming refugee business mentoring programme (previously ‘Idea Contest’), and has set up an official cooperation with Fachstelle für Integrationsfragen Kanton Zürich, as well as with the Impact Hub Zürich. We are delighted that these two organisations are interested in helping us to support refugees who have good business ideas and want to realise these in Switzerland.

Are you interested in becoming a partner or sponsor for this programme? Capacity will shortly be circulating requests for mentors and trainers to help implement the programme – if you are interested in getting involved, please email info@capacityzurich.ch

If you would be interested in participating in this programme, please get in touch – we will be setting up the application process shortly.

3rd December, 2015 – Refugee Business Idea Contest/ Mentoring launched

Today Capacity has launched its latest plan to support refugees in entering the Swiss work place, through a ‘Business Idea/Potential Contest’ Mentoring program, aimed at supporting refugees (who are legally allowed to be self-employed) who have business ideas, but lack the support, confidence and funding to get their idea started.

Capacity is looking for mentors and investors to support the Contest (which will run from February-August) with time, funding, co-working space and opportunities for business development. if you are interested in finding out more about this, please see the Business Ideas Contest page (in German only), or send us an email.

October, 2015 – Research collaboration with University of Zurich established

Dr. Sara Landolt at the University of Zurich has agreed to supervise two MA projects focusing on the barriers to employment of refugees in Zurich, a key issue that Capacity intends to address. Capacity helped to shape these projects, and will be involved in their implementation. Interested? Please visit the relevant page on the University of Zurich Geography Department website to find out more, or contact Capacity directly.

27th August, 2015 – “Blick zurück nach vorne”: A workshop to evaluate the ‘Summerpreneurship’ training with refugees at Social Fabric, led by Dominique Rothen (Bern) und Annika Eckel (Berlin)

The aim of the workshop was to evaluate the ‘Summerpreneurship’ that took place at Social Fabric (a sustainable textile atelier) during summer 2015, in order to consider how future collaborations between start-ups and refugees might work, in particular what challenges might be present, how these can be addressed, and so on. The lessons learnt are valuable both for Capacity’s work in connecting refugees with companies, but also for organisations wishing to engage with refugees directly. The workshop also considered how future collaborations between refugees and Social Fabric might work, including the long-term wishes and interests of Social Fabric staff and refugee participants, sewing training and product development. If you are interested, more information (in German) is available, by email.


15th June 2015 – Kickoff Workshop

At our kickoff workshop we wanted to create a space for first encounters and to further develop our project. The workshop comprised a mix of ‘getting to know each other’ games and exercises aimed at breaking down barriers and assumptions about each other, followed by a world cafe, in which refugee participants, startup participants, and team members met in small groups to discuss their various needs.We were thrilled that our kickoff workshop attracted 40 participants; these included about 20 refugees, and 20 other stakeholders, including startup representatives. We are looking forward to taking next steps to follow up.

29th April 2015 – Success at Impact HUB Zurich pitching event

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Refugee Start Up won two awards last week at the Impact Hub’s Social Impact Start competition! We won a stipend to help us develop our project idea (with workspace at the Impact Hub in Zurich who will also provide workshops on setting up and running a business) and the Audience Award. See some more pictures from the event here

The successful Refugee start up team at Impact HUB Zurich pitching event

Social Fabric is a partner in this project, and they are looking forward to piloting a programme with Refugee Start Up this summer!