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News and Activities

Programme to Policy

The House of Commons

Fresh Start organised a dissemination event on Thursday June 20th, 2019 in the House of Commons in London.  Hosted by Neil Coyle, MP of the Southwark and Old Bermondsey, this event was organised during the Refugee Week 2019 and aimed to present the results of Fresh Start and to help shape the policy. In addition to  Neil Coyle, the Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Lewisham Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability and the representatives from Refugee Action and Refugee Council attended the event.

The event started with the presentation of Dr. Nicoletta Bonansea about the Fresh Start Programme. Funded by the EU,  the Fresh Start Programmed helped migrant entrepreneurs in 3 EU Members States to develop business skills.  LSBU, ZUYD and UCLL opened their doors to migrant entrepreneurs and enabled them to access the expertise of their business schools.

Fresh Start Programme Participants Hafiza Risour and Melissa Sue Cardeanas Rossi presented their entrepreneurial journey and how Fresh Start equipped them with necessary skills and knowledge to become successful entrepreneurs.

Fresh Start Policy document presented by Prof. Ros Wade incorporates the challenges that the migrant entrepreneurs encounter in the UK.  Two following challenges  were identified  and presented to the event audience in order to find immediate solutions: 

Integration challenges include media and host community perceptions and stereotypes around migrant employment.

Employment challenges include lack of UK recognition for prior qualifications and experience, lack of a national or regional ESOL strategy for language support, an inflexible benefit system, lack of freely available childcare.


Fresh Start London Programme asked policy makers:

  • Lobby for more support for migrant parents – especially free childcare

  • Support changes to the benefit system so that migrants can get an allowance for benefit while on training courses, as they currently risk losing benefits if they start a business

  • Develop a strategy for ESOL in London and support a UK wide strategy

  • Support the need for separate business support programmes for migrants – mainstream courses do not work

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Programme to Policy

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The Fresh Start Programme is organising an event during Refugee Week at the House of Commons on June 20th.

Led by LSBU, Fresh Start supported 120 migrant entrepreneurs across 3 EU Member Countries over 2 years and offered them the chance to acquire the skills and abilities necessary for a future as an entrepreneur.

This event aims to include voices from all relevant organisations in London so that we can build on their valuable expertise to help to shape future policy and practice.

This will be an opportunity to share Fresh Start experience across policy makers, the refugee and migrant support sector in London. A policy paper will be produced following this event and your contributions will be greatly valued. 



Fresh Start London Closing Ceremony on May 23rd , 2019

Fresh Start Closing Ceremony was organised on Wednesday May 23rd, 2019 at Clarence Centre in to celebrate the end of the second round of London Programme. 

Fresh Start Closing Ceremony started with the speech of Prof. Ros Wade.  Fresh Start Programme selected 120 migrants in the last 3 years to fulfil their potential in 3 EU Member States:  Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.


This event brought together the Participants  from the first round and the second  to celebrate the commitment and success of Second Round Participants.  Besides its intensive training, Fresh Starts provides a professional networking platform with participants from various backgrounds and business fields.  “Remain in contact with your classmates and keep your network” said Prof. Ros Wade.

The event continued with the testimonials of Round 2 Participants,.“Without the EU, we would not be here and benefit from this great opportunity. Fresh Start provided an encouraging environment where we could transform our ideas into businesses and helped us be the best version of ourselves" said Lucy Isaiah, a Fresh Start Second Round Participant.

Business Idea Presentations: 
The event continued with the pitching session. Fresh Start Participants presented their business ideas varying from organic beauty brands to Peruvian fusion catering company.  

Fresh Start Award Ceremony:
Prof. Paul Ivey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Business Officer at London South Bank University congratulated the participants and handed the certificates to the successful Round 2 Participants. Certificates were issued based on the level of attendance of Second Round Participants to the Fresh Start programme. 4 participants who attended more than 95 per cent of the Fresh Start Workshops won access to the Clarence Centre Business Lounge for three months. 


Following the award Ceremony, Dr.  Nicoletta Bonansea presented the other support programmes delivered by LSBU and encourage participants to improve their business skills by attending additional, free-of charge workshops. 



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Fresh Start Hasselt Demo day

After 12 weeks of intensive core workshops and master classes, that motivate and encourage participants to tap their potentials and reach for their dreams in the host country, UCLL had organized a second DEMODAY & Iftar event in Hasselt to celebrate the milestone. Fresh Start participants got an opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts, and also to had a chance enlarge their networks.

At the end of pitching sessions, the Fresh Start program handed each participant a certificate graduating the course. Besides entrepreneurship, participants enjoyed the music, Sema dance, Ebru & Handicraft exhibition.  By the end of the ceremony, we had finished the DEMODAY with the Iftar to end the day.

Fresh Start at SIETAR 2019

Fresh Start project partners will join SIETAR Europa Congress 2019 to present how to reach out to refugees through Entrepreneurship Training during a panel discussion on Friday 31st of May, 2019.

SIETAR Europa Congress 2019 takes place in Leuven from the 27th of May to the 2nd of June 2019. This congress is a platform for the exchange of experiences and know-how. It will also serve as unique opportunity for networking.

Fresh Start was launched in 2017 and supported more than 100 migrant entrepreneurs across 3 EU Member States. It went beyond the simple provision of support and developed a platform and created an ecosystem of support services to empower and enable migrants, nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit. Fresh Start project members will share their learnings with the SIETAR Europa Congress participants and present the Fresh Start Model which can be replicated and scaled.


Fresh Start Limburg

Demo day and Intense Cases 

January 22nd, 2019 

After 12 weeks of core workshops and master classes, UCLL organised a Demo Day, a half day event where Fresh Start Limburg Programme participants pitched their business ideas to a panel of experts. Experts provided the programme participants with constructive feedback  and helped  them get  ready to take the next steps  to apply for a job, become or continue to be self-employed.

Fresh Start London Launch Event January 17th , 2019

January 18, 2019 – London, UK -  Second Round of Fresh Start London Programme has kicked off with a launch event on January 17, 2019 at LSBU Keyworth Building.

Fresh Start is a project funded by the European Commission, DG GROW and delivered by London South Bank University (LSBU), NWES and Citizens UK (CUK) in the UK, Stichting Zuyd Hogeschool (ZUYD) in the Netherlands and University College Leuven Limburg (UCLL) in Belgium. Fresh Start provides first generation migrants with the possibility to acquire the necessary competencies and the abilities for an entrepreneurial future. UK Partners of Fresh Start Programme; LSBU, NWES and Citizens UK organised this successful event bringing together academics, business advisors, migrant champions and most importantly the Fresh Start Programme Participants.

The event started with the welcome speech of Dr. Nicoletta Bonansea, Fresh Start Project Manager. Citizens UK Representatives, Peter Brierly moderated the event and provided hands on support to the Fresh Start Programme participants together with his colleague Paulina Tamborrel Signoret.

Nora Ponton, a migrant champion, presented her own journey and encouraged Fresh Start Programme Participants to enhance their skills and to take bold steps in putting their business ideas into practice. Hafiza Risour and Adolfo Perez, first round participants, provided their insight into Fresh Start Programme and shared their experiences. “We left our countries, we left our comfort zones.  Take the time to invest in yourself through Fresh Start and build up your self-confidence” said Adolfo Perez.    

Participants Workshop – Timeline Activity

Prof. Ros Wade, LSBU, who is the brains behind the Fresh Start and Mo Obadina, the lead academic in delivering the Fresh Start Education Programme in London, organised a timeline activity to help programme participants present their journey so far and envisage the future of their businesses.

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SBC - Fresh Start 17.01.19 - High Res -
SBC - Fresh Start 17.01.19 - High Res -

Fresh Start London Launch Event
January 17th, 2019

Join us!

The Second Round of Fresh Start programme in London will kick off with the Launch Event on the 17th of January 2019.

The Fresh Start programme supports 120 migrant entrepreneurs across 3 EU states over 2 years. It offers them the chance to get the necessary skills and abilities necessary as a future entrepreneur. The first round of Fresh Start programme in London completed with the certificate ceremony for 21 successful participants on May 31, 2018.

The Launch Event offers the perfect opportunity to bring together the second round programme participants, migrant entrepreneurs, trainers and business advisers. The aim of this event is to help programme participants get to know each other and Fresh Start Team Members.

This event will show the attendees why migrant entrepreneurship is important and provide insider views from the former participants of Fresh Start Programme. In addition, a successful migrant entrepreneur, Ms Swati Kandala will share her first-hand experience in putting her idea into practice.

One of the highlights of the Launch Event will be the Interactive Workshop ran by the Fresh Start Programme trainer, Ms Mo Obadina. It will engage the participants in introducing themselves and their business ideas.

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