Immipreneurs - supporting promising migrant entrepreneurs
What did the young multicultural group that gathered in the Webster University residence, including a Chinese, Pakistani, two Egyptians and two Polish nationals, have in common? They are all promising “immipreneurs”,there for the premiere of Café ImmiCo, a mentoring program for immigrant entrepreneurs.
Webster Vienna Private University is proud to host Café ImmiCo, the initiative of Ahmad Madjid of Immipreneurs and adjunct faculty member in the Business and Management Department of Webster. Café ImmiCo brings together promising migrant entrepreneurs, mentors, and professionals to discuss over breakfast the challenges of starting a business and how to establish strategic partnerships and support structures. In addition, consultants are on site to cover strategy, innovation, marketing, social media and financial management. Through the program, the startups may also be eligible for funding of up to 50,000 EUR.
Webster’s partners in supporting this initiative include Immipreneurs of Austria, the Austrian Council, the Centre for Micro Enterprise, WIFI, Austrian Wirtschafts Service, Radio Afrika TV, Erstebank, Webster University, and ÖSB – MikroKredit.
Immigrant entrepreneurs make up 30% to 40% percent of entrepreneurs in Austria; immigrants are far more likely to start their own businesses than locals. As HE Alexa Wesner, U.S. Ambassador to Austria, commented in her remarks at the event:
Considering all that entrepreneurs and immigrants contribute to society, we should be better about supporting and encouraging them. That is why today’s discussion is so important. Today can serve as a starting point for a larger discussion about the value and needs of immigrant entrepreneurs.
Click here for the full opening remark by HE Alexa Wesner, U.S. Ambassador to Austria
Prof. Dr. Bernd Marin feels that Webster University is well placed to support immigrant entrepreneurs. First of all, the Webster community understands the challenges that immigrants face in Austria. Webster Vienna’s students represent over 70 nationalities, and faculty and staff over 20. With no national representation exceeding 20%, everyone on the Vienna campus is a minority. Secondly, Webster Vienna offers a new certificate for entrepreneurship. Courses in the certificate promote entrepreneurial awareness and thinking among students and develop the necessary real-world skills and abilities to become self-employed or start and grow an entrepreneurial venture. In addition, students must demonstrate these skills as part of the program by developing and presenting a viable business plan to a review panel made up of successful entrepreneurs.
Webster Vienna has also served as an incubator for two start-ups founded by immigrants. The successful consultancy ILIA Corporation that focuses on the Iranian market and hopes to expand into China, was started at the Webster University Campus (then called VIA Consultants) by students S. Hossein Nabavi from Iran and Marlon D. Jünemann from Germany. Webster now is the home of Feels Like Home, an interactive relocation platform that helps international students get settled into Vienna and Bratislava with an easy step-by-step process, co-founded by Webster Alum Richard Ludmer from the US.
The topic of immigrant entrepreneurs is current and highly interesting. The first breakfast organized byImmipreneurs got a lot of coverage in the media: Click here to see what the media reported from the event.