The Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool: An ACH and OECD workshop
In March, ACH and the OECD held a workshop to discuss and pilot the Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool, a tool designed to help policy makers and other stakeholders reflect on their policy environment for inclusive and social entrepreneurship.
This workshop bought together stakeholders from the entrepreneurship support sector, who work with migrant and refugee communities in the UK to achieve their business goals.
Keep reading to find out more...
ACH is a social enterprise providing tailored integration services to migrants and refugees in Bristol, Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. ACH’s Migrant Business Support project is designed to help entrepreneurs from a migrant background navigate the world of business and get their ideas up and running, or advance a pre-existing business.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation that works to build better policies for better lives. They work with governments, policy makers and citizens ‘on establishing evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.’ (OECD, 2022).
At the workshop on the 24th March, 12 participants took part in the event, amongst them representatives from:
- ACH business advice team
- Universities: University of Bristol and CREME, at Aston University.
- West of England Growth Hub
- Hong Kong Business Hub
- Black South West Network
After a discussion about why all types of entrepreneurship are important and must be supported at a local level, ACH provided an overview of the comprehensive support services they have put in place for the people they support. Their services are provided in 3 steps:
- Helping migrant would-be entrepreneurs to be in contact with an enterprise facilitator.
- Offering training and advises from a mentor.
- Supporting the development of a business plan and the search for external funding: grants, micro-loans and loans.
All the services ACH offer are implemented in a smart environment, for example, providing interpretation services to break through potential language barriers.
The Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool is an online self-assessment and guidance tool, designed to help policy makers and other stakeholders reflect on their policy environment for inclusive and social entrepreneurship and promote better policy making in these areas.
12 people representing NGOs (9), HEIs (2) and other (1) completed the self-assessment quiz.
The results showed a relatively low score (under 5/10). The parameters: “Regulations” and “Finance” were ranked the lowest whilst “Strategies” and “Skills” had the highest score.
The questions which received the weakest score (in other words, the biggest perceived bottlenecks) are:
- Business start-up regulations and procedures pose undue difficulties for migrant entrepreneurs.
- The current suite of business development and growth financing offers is not appropriate for various profiles of migrants.
- Entrepreneurship coaching and mentoring offered for migrants is not as effective that it should be.
All the questions related to monitoring and evaluation got a poor score.
As a first result of the self-assessment is available the following actions could be launched:
- Reflecting on the weaknesses in the field of skills and finance.
- Asking more organisations to undertake the self-assessment in order to capture the perception differences between stakeholder groups,
- Building dialogue with other stakeholders such as entrepreneurs and policy makers to inform about gaps in the support system and to build on the existing strengths
- Advocate at appropriate levels to design and implement appropriate schemes to better respond to some of the identified unmet needs. Support needs to be tailored to the specific needs of different communities and different individuals to be effective.
The participants stressed that refugees have different needs than other migrants and therefore, that specific support services, including language support, have to be put in place in order to match their needs.
It was suggested their was a need to investigate whether crowdfunding lending and ‘in kinds’ mechanisms could be helpful to help young entrepreneurs to access early stage finance. Such a platform could be promoted to migrants who are already well established in the region or in the country.
The Better Entrepreneurship Policy is freely available and any organisation in the UK is encouraged to use the tool and be a part of the Better Entrepreneurship Policy community. The community is a place for policymakers and stakeholders who have used the tool to exchange about inclusive and social entrepreneurship policies, be informed of new developments on this topic and be informed of events dedicated to community members who want to share their activities and experience with the toolkit.
The OECD Better Entrepreneurship Policy Team is interested to follow the work undertaken by the University of Bristol in the field of an evaluation of the UK Migrant Business Support and to look how to participate in the concluding events and the design of future activities.
Access the Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool: https://betterentrepreneurship.eu/
Join the Better Entrepreneurship Policy Tool LinkedIn Community: www.linkedin.com/groups/12587624/
West of England Growth Hub: https://www.westofengland-ca.gov.uk/growth-hub/
OECD's work on inclusive entrepreneurship: www.oecd.org/cfe/smes/inclusive-entrepreneurship/