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In its sixth year, the UP Collective programme has reached 133 aspiring entrepreneurs from refugee and migrant backgrounds across three different countries in London, Manchester, Paris and Amsterdam.

Live test events and graduation showcases were attended by over 1,000 members of the public, this year trialling paid-for products and services. A growing team in Manchester enabled a more bespoke mentor matching service, enabling aspiring entrepreneurs to forge connections with specialists in their field. The UP Collective programme in Paris has evolved to form part of a holistic access to employment programme for female founders, Fast Forward. 

We are grateful to have partnered with organisations passionate about creating a more inclusive employment landscape: working alongside BMW, Starbucks and L’Oreal Fonds pour Les Femmes to open up over six permanent employment placements.

The collaborative principles of UP Collective shone in June, when three alumni launched a never-before-seen ice cream flavour with Ben & Jerry’s; Sunny Honey Home brings the flavours of their home countries to consumers in the UK, Netherlands and Nordic regions. Over 300,000 tubs have been sold in the UK to date, with part of the proceeds from sales to be reinvested to support refugee led businesses in the form of microcredit and programme support.

“UP Collective's tutorials and practical skills boosted my confidence, making me believe every small idea can become a successful project.” 

Meme Nasr, Jewellery Designer & 2023 Graduate of UP Collective Manchester.

In 2023: 133 participants, over 1000 public event attendees and 27 businesses launched. Since 2017: 496 participants, 130 businesses launched and 86 employment placements created.

Key Themes

Across the four locations, there were common strengths in the programme delivery and similarities in the participants' motivations as entrepreneurs.

Personalised 1:1 connections with industry professionals

“A great thing about this project is that you have a mentor during your course, who leads you and helps to find the way you should move on in the future.”

Iuliana, Video Content Creator and 2023 UP Collective Manchester Graduate

Increased capacity resulted in more tailored mentor matching for entrepreneurs in Manchester. One entrepreneur developing a health tourism website was strategically paired with a doctor and founder of an international health tourism business.

Peer support & community

From joint ventures on the Fast Forward programme in Paris, to returning alumnus leading workshops in all four locations, UP Collective enables powerful connections among participants and creates a sense of community that lives beyond the programme, extending to alumni and supporters.

“It is nice to have a sense of belonging and meet other newcomer women. We can discuss personal and professional things in a welcoming community and open space. I am excited to see what else there is to come.”

2023 UP Collective France Graduate

Supporting the individual over the business

“This programme provided knowledge, structure and flexibility; it was an empowering experience which was exactly what I needed, to not be defined by a forced migration background but actually valued for my skills and experiences.”

2023 UP Collective Manchester Graduate

The UP Collective programme is designed to provide a safe space to explore entrepreneurship. Whether or not participants go on to launch, the curriculum enables them to gain confidence in their skillset as an entrepreneur and test out their business idea in a supportive environment.

95% of 2023 participants in the UK and Netherlands said UP Collective helped them to become a better entrepreneur.

Business with purpose

Over 85% of 2023 UP Collective graduates’ business ideas were focused on making the world a better place either as a nonprofit or purpose-driven business.

Innovations & Opportunities

Developments in our curriculum design & partnerships for the 2023 cohort.

In France, the UP Collective curriculum was embedded as an entrepreneurship module into the Fast Forward programme, in order to provide holistic access to employment support for newcomer women. 

“This is a wonderful experience meeting so many wonderful women that are working hard for their entrepreneurial freedom.”

2023 UP Collective France Participant

Across all four locations, this year’s cohorts gained industry insights from guest facilitators at masterclasses exploring topical themes such as social entrepreneurship, neurodiversity and sustainability. A growing network of supporters enabled more personalised matches with business mentors. 

“The program exceeded all my expectations. I am very grateful to Delitelabs team for organizing such an excellent program and providing me with a chance to be part of it, all events and connecting me with Tijs - a great marketing professional who mentored me. His support, adjustments and always positive mood was very valuable to me.”

Oleksii, 2023 UP Collective Netherlands Graduate (Business Idea - Digital marketing automation agency)

Photo of an entrepreneur presenting. She is wearing a pink shirt and green headscarf.

What's next?

Looking ahead, we are excited to partner with innovative organisations passionate about inclusive entrepreneurship.

There’s so much more we can do to support and empower refugees when we work together.

If you’re interested in widening the reach of UP Collective’s bespoke, holistic business support for aspiring refugee and migrant entrepreneurs, we want to hear from you. 

Book a call here to meet with the UP Collective Partnerships Team.

Discover more

UP Collective Manchester: 2023 Impact Report

UP Collective Netherlands: 2023 Impact Report

UP Collective

UP Collective 2023: Our Impact Summary

stories, partner, alumni

UP Collective International
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