Los Angeles – USA for IOM (International Organization for Migration) launched Entrepreneurship in Movement today, an innovative program aimed at expanding sustainable livelihoods and positive connections for migrants and refugees and their host communities across the Americas. The program builds on a collaboration between USA for IOM and the Citi Foundation that began in 2019 and aims to help refugees and migrants from Venezuela rebuild their lives with dignity and is currently being implemented in Ecuador and Peru, with the goal of expanding to countries in the Americas.
“Entrepreneurship should be part of the long-term solutions needed to address the consequences of large movements of displaced persons, in addition to the important measures that are put in place to cope with the immediate effects of humanitarian crises,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said during the program’s launch event on the margins of the Summit of the Americas.
The socioeconomic integration of migrants is integral to building a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future is the theme of this year’s Summit.
The Americas are witnessing the largest refugee and migrant movements in the region’s recent history. According to R4V, more than six million refugees and migrants from Venezuela have left their country of origin, with more than five million being hosted in the region. Many Venezuelans possess the skills to contribute to the local economy but struggle with access to employment. Entrepreneurship in Movement creates that access by providing training, social mentorship and coaching to help migrants create sustainable livelihoods through their businesses.
In addition, the Citi Foundation enables migrant entrepreneurs to access seed capital critical to turning their vision into reality. In Ecuador and Peru combined, nearly 700 migrant entrepreneurs have been trained, with more than 500 receiving seed capital for their businesses.
“For the past three years, the Citi Foundation has proudly supported the work of USA for IOM to empower vulnerable migrants and refugees through critical job training, education and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Florencia Spangaro, Chief Operating Officer at the Citi Foundation. “Programs like Entrepreneurship in Movement help scale entrepreneurship training within the communities that need it most, and we look forward to seeing how it will support migrants and their families in achieving financial stability.”
Entrepreneurship in Movement also strengthens the local economy by launching new businesses in their host community, fostering job creation and social cohesion to fight against xenophobia and promote the shared value of diversity.