8th March 2016 – Successful #refugeepower event at Impact Hub Zurich!

Around 80 people joined staff from Capacity, Social Fabric and Action from Switzerland at Impact Hub Zurich to discuss how to empower refugees. Three questions (around the needs of refugees, economic independence and innovative ideas for impact) were discussed, in both German and English. Results were also shared online (look for @CapacityZurich and #refugeepower to follow the discussion and see the conclusions that we came to and ideas that we had!). A Facebook group was spontaneously formed from the participants at the event, to encourage greater contact between Zurich based locals and refugees: https://www.facebook.com/groups/refugeeZurich/ Do join if you are interested in this issue! The event catering was generously supported by EBay and Alternative Bank Schweiz. The discussion will be written up jointly by Capacity, Social Fabric and Action from Switzerland in the next week or so, and will be shared online.

(c) Photos by PJ Jayathissa

10th February 2016 – Join us for a Twitter debate on refugee empowerment on 8th of March

An event co-hosted by Capacity, Social Fabric and Action from Switzerland, online via Twitter using the hashtag #refugeepower and with a live event at the Impact Hub in Zürich at Viaduktstrasse 93, starting 8th of march at 18.15. Join us to discuss how we can disrupt current discussions about the refugee crisis, and engage with refugees to co-create innovative solutions that allow refugees to maximise their human potential whilst benefiting their new host societies.

We are looking for a corporate partner to participate in this event with us. Does your company want to engage in refugee empowerment? Let us know!

Twitter debate advert v2 cropped

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.