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The Consortium 

The Fresh start team brings together different types of partners who collectively have the insights, skills, networks and organisational abilities to help aspirant migrant entrepreneurs succeed in achieving their ambitions and goals.


The core partners are three universities in different European member states, London, England, Limburg, Belgium and Maastricht, Netherlands. The three University partners to this project are each located in cities and agglomerations that have a large pull-factor for migrants. Collectively, they also have high numbers of students from less advantaged and minority backgrounds, they have experience of working with young people from many varied backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. They are skilled at promoting enterprise to their diverse student bodies (e.g. LSBU has recently won the 2016 Times Higher Education Award for Entrepreneurial University of the year and was highly commended at the 2016 Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs Awards).


Each member state has formed a partnership with local organisations to support the delivery of our proposal and to create a community based approach.


We believe that creating a collaborative endeavour between different partners, and engaging them on a project with a clear purpose – to support migrant entrepreneurs – will result in a project that has a catalytic impact and multiplier effect. By working together Educators, Enterprise Agencies, NGOS/Third Sector, Community Partners will complete the picture and collectively will have the full skill set. Together we will be more effective than each partner working individually in their own organisational silo. 




LSBU has a fantastic track record in running successful projects engaging and supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their business or business idea. The ERDF funded Investment Escalator programme provided free advice to help local businesses grow - 193 SMEs were supported, creating or safeguarding over 110 jobs and raising £1million of investment (of which over 50% were from BAME backgrounds). LSBUs new ERDF funded Momentum programme will take 30 leaders of micro enterprises on a journey that will leave them fully prepared for investment and expansion. We have now a large portfolio of business support porgrammes that can be found here:


LSBU is located in an area of London where the local population is significantly younger, more ethnically diverse and more deprived than the UK as a whole. LSBU is skilled in reaching out to diverse communities and moving them into the economic and social mainstream, either by improving their educational attainment or supporting their entrepreneurial ambitions and in many cases doing both.


Citizens UK (one of the UK project partners) has an active project ‘New Citizens Organising Team’, that is training and developing leaders from migrant communities by helping to build social campaigns that are relevant to them. ‘Stand Up Stand Out’ is a migrant youth-led movement that trains young people to be active in initiatives that will advance the cause and situation of the entire community.

‘Refugees Welcome’ is a Citizens UK project that has worked with various civil organisations to help re-settle refugee (particularly from Syria) families across the UK. Working with members of the UK Parliament, they have also been successful in securing agreement from the UK Government to increase the number of refugees to be re-settled in the UK from the Syrian war zone.


Zuyd University are working in partnership with the VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (VWN) – the Dutch Council For Refugees. VWN are one of the largest refugee assisting organisations in Europe. They have 13,000 volunteers, who together with a small number of paid employees provide practical support to refugees during their asylum procedures. They also work internationally to help capacity build NGOs abroad as part of a process called NGO twinning.

Qredits is the main micro-credit organisation in the Netherlands and they have a broad scale of activities in the field of entrepreneurship. They deliver a wide range of training via, evening classes. From 2017 they will be starting new projects with a special focus on Entrepreneurship for Refugees.

Zuyd has also has been carrying out a number activities that this project will build upon, for example work experience placements for refugees. This work is of considerable local significance and Zuyd is a leading partner (alongside the University of Maastricht, Colleges for Intermediate Vocational Training, Maastricht Council, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers etc.), who are working to support the integration of migrants into the wider community. This includes programmes to support language learning, personal independence and ultimately provide pathways for migrants to make a substantial contribution to Dutch society.


UCLL have created a sounding board of senior experts to review and advise on the project activity. The sounding board is linked to the University’s journey to become ever more entrepreneurial and better able to support the internationalisation of SMEs.

This project will build upon several past projects that UCLL has been a part of. “BIG STEP: Learning through Gamification” which helped integration of vulnerable groups via a multimedia tool – allowing adult-learners to learn about language and cultural aspects of different countries. The UCLL project “Empowering Inclusive Teachers for Today and Tomorrow’ provided training on inclusion strategies in schools. A campaign project also supported immigrants to learn the language of their new country.

UCLL's diversity funded project ‘Work for Me" researched why migrant students had difficulties entering the labour market. The medium of dance was used to look at employers explanations for this – lack of written literacy skills, lack of presentation skills and poor time management. The students ‘danced' with these assertions and come up with three alternatives: the need for a local network, the need to introduce some of their values on the work floor, the opportunity to introduce employers to an international network.

Meet the Team

Nicoletta Bonansea

As LSBU’s EU Bids and Partnerships Manager, Nicoletta is the project manager responsible for the delivery of the Fresh Start project.

She has over 8 years’ experience in bidding and delivering projects funded by international donors, the European Union in particular. In addition to this, she is a researcher and author of academic and didactic publications on Greek and Roman Art and Religions.

She is from Turin, Italy, and she has studied and worked in Brussels, Paris, Rome and, from 2012, London. As a migrant herself, she knows how exciting but also challenging is to move to a different country. For this reason, she is excited to be part of this project.

Ros Wade

Ros is Professor of Education for Sustainability (EFS) at London Southbank (LSBU)University, Chair of the London Regional Centre in Expertise in EFS (LRCE)and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Solutions.

The London RCE has been working with refugee organisations and has organised welcome events, seminars, skills’ sessions and in June  2017 an Open day for refugees, their friends, families and supporters. She is currently part of a Europe wide project with 5 other countries which is developing a youth network of refugee champions. She is also the lead for European RCEs on issues of refugees and migration.

She  was director of the PG Education for Sustainability programme for nearly 20 years at LSBU ,  with an international group of students from across all global regions especially Africa. This interdisciplinary programme has enabled students to build skills, knowledge and understanding which feed into their own future aspirations and career plans.

Peter Brierley

Pete Brierley is a lead organiser with Citizens UK. Pete has been working in South London for the last 15 years initially as a community development worker and for the last 6 years as a community organiser with citizens UK. In this time Pete has set up numerous community projects including a radio station for young people, an FA chartered standard football club for young people in Waterloo, Lewisham's first community land trust and Refugee Welcome groups across South London that have persuaded councils to take refugees from Syria and support local councils to integrate refugees into local communities. Pete has an undergraduate in theology and an MA in theology and politics.

Martine Prins

Martine is part of the Fresh Start Management Committee at Zuyd. She holds a Master degree in African Studies. After graduation she lived and worked in different countries in Europe and Africa, such as Germany, Belgium, Namibia and Cameroon. She has been involved in research projects, focused on African History and Community Based Natural Resource Management. She has also been active in international development as a technical advisor to several international development and cooperation projects in Africa.


Since 2012 Martine works as a project leader internationalization at the Faculty of International Business and Communication of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences and she has a variety of tasks and responsibilities. Areas of specialization include internationalization of (higher) education, proposal writing, overall project management, international development, capacity building in higher education, intercultural communication.

Patricia Huion

Patricia is an educational entrepreneur who writes, develops and disseminates educational programmes that address the challenges of a rapidly changing world. She writes European projects about learning environments, student-centred approaches, entrepreneurial learning and teaching, engaging learners in European learning communities. She uses design thinking and storytelling to tap into learners’ experiences and digital tools to enhance their learning experience.


She has an extensive European network of educational entrepreneurs who innovate through digital literacy or entrepreneurship in its broad and narrow sense.

She is an innovator who engages UCLL colleagues into new educational paradigms.

Ilse Van den Berckt

Ilse is researcher at UCLL, coordinator of the centre of expertise about social  innovative entrepreneurship and -organization at UCLL and a self-employed business coach and change facilitator.

Some research topics she is involved in are: entrepreneurial ecosystems, preparing students to face wicked challenges in their later jobs, social impact measurement, self- sustainable business models for social entrepreneurship, inclusive and empowering working environments,…


Ilse has a broad experience in different roles in many working environments. She’s passionate about people, organizations and societies; about their development and sustainable enfoldment. Graduated in Applied Economics her professional journey started in strategic management consultancy, and tax & finances. Discovering her fascination for people and organizational development, she turned this in 2008 into a self- employed job. Currently she combines this ‘field experience’ with research activities at UCLL. Special attention and personal interest goes to the righteous place of economics within a society, and the ‘hidden/unconscious’ presumptions our economy is built on.

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Martin Allpress

Martin was born in Lewisham, he started doing business early in life, at school he would sell his sandwiches, for a handsome profit, he liked money, this was stake money to play cards with pupils and teachers!

It wasn’t gambling Martin was keen on, it was Bridge, the card game that demanded a good memory and the ability to read people.

After completing his education, he wasn’t sure what to do, but eventually he got a job working for one of the west end accountancy practices, that specialised in Insolvency.

With this skill he eventually set up on his own and built a good business, working as an insolvency practitioner he helped many survive but also understood why business often fail.

After selling the business he then worked for some of the large American business and finally took up an offer as a business advisor at London Small Business Centre, which is now part of the NWES group, he has been there for 13 years and gets a great sense of satisfaction in helping new and fledgling business  maintain a positive set of figures and in helping them expand.

He thinks he was lucky, but has learnt that if you want your business to be successful you need to have control

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Mieke Van Riet

As of January 2016, Mieke works at Zuyd as international project manager on a central level. In this role, Mieke supports faculty members involved in international educational projects in their project implementation and contribute to further strengthening the international profile of Zuyd.

In 2016-2017, Mieke was project manager of the Zuyd refugee project and designed and developed a pre-bachelor program for refugees together with key stakeholders in the region. The program was developed with and receives funding from municipalities and the Dutch Foundation UAF for regufee students. The program, together with Maastricht University and an institute for vocational education, is coordinated by the Faculty of Education.

Mieke is part of the Fresh Start Management Committee at Zuyd.


Ahmet Sayer

Ahmet is a PhD Candidate at Leuven Institute of Criminology and a project researcher and community builder at Fresh Start, UCLL. He holds a Master degree in International Political Economy with EU External Relations at Brussels School of International Studies.

As an auditor, he has over ten years’ experience in public sector auditing  which equipped comprehensively in the fields of regularity (financial and compliance) and performance audits. Moreover, he has also a great deal of experience in the fields of EU funded projects, policy advocacy and networking, organizing events, working closely with NGOs, delivering trainings and seminars concerning ethics, anti-corruption and integrity along with academic studies.

Discovering his fascination for people and communities, he’s passion about unlocking the potentials among immigrants both for adding value to the society and integration in the host county.

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Paulina Tamborrel Signoret

Paulina Tamborrel is a community organiser based in South London. As part of the Citizens UK Diaspora Organising Team, Paulina brought to Fresh Start existing connections to a vast pool of migrant communities with whom she worked to promote the programme while developing local ownership and leadership. 


Born and raise in Mexico, Paulina has a a BFA in Textile Design and a MDes in Social Innovation. She started her own business at age 22 and carried that business overseas when she relocated to London. With personal experience of entrepreneurship and migration, Paulina is particularly invested in highlighting the courage of migrant entrepreneurship and growing recognition of the social and economic value of migrant communities. 

London Partners

London South Bank University are leading the programme as an organisation that is committed to entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion. London South Bank University’s ambition  is  to  deliver  outstanding  economic,  social  and  cultural  benefits from  our  intellectual  capital  by  connecting  our  teaching,  research  and  enterprise  activities to the real world.  London South Bank University has been recognised for our entrepreneurial activity and have recently been awarded the Times Higher Education Awards for Entrepreneurial University of the year 2016, and received a highly commended award at the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) Celebrating Enterprise awards 2016.


A new Research and Enterprise Institute has been formed to address Global Challenges; working to bring academia and industry together to tackle issues such as forced migration. LSBU deliver courses for refugee studies and hosts The Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA).


LSBU has run a number of successful projects engaging and supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their business or business idea. The ERDF funded Investment Escalator programme provided free advice to help local businesses grow - 193 SMEs were supported, creating or safeguarding over 110 jobs and raising £1million of investment (of which over 50% were from BAME backgrounds). LSBUs successful Momentum programme took 30 leaders of micro enterprises on a journey that left them fully prepared for investment and expansion. LSBU is also a part of a number of current business support programmes including Enterprise Steps and dek. Enterprise Steps provides a tailored programme of support for new enterprises, offering guidance and direction during their creation and establishment. The project also offers specialised mentoring and advice to help existing enterprises survive, prosper and grow. dek Growth is an ERDF funded project that delivers strategic, practical and innovative support to businesses who want to progress. This programme focuses on developing business people using a mix of traditional business, social science and creative thinking based training.


LSBU is located in a highly diverse area of London where the local population is significantly younger, more ethnically diverse and more deprived than the UK as a whole. LSBU is skilled in reaching out to diverse communities and moving them into the economic and social mainstream, both by improving their educational attainment or supporting their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Through the Fresh Start project LSBU would like to replicate and adapt our successes in entrepreneurship education and practise and our expertise in migration and refugees to enrich the local community by supporting migrants to nurture their entrepreneurial spirit and guide them through the start-up landscape in the UK. 


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Netherlands Partners

Fresh Start – Maastricht exists of various parties playing all important but different roles. The lead party is Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, and more specifically its Faculty of International Business and Communication. Zuyd already has specific programmes in place for migrants. In academic year 2016-2017 Zuyd started with the Zuyd Refugee project with 3 sub-projects:

  1. Developing a Pre-Bachelor program (Schakeltraject) to increase access to higher education for refugees. This program consists of intensive language modules, modules on a.o. Dutch, Mathematics, English, study skills, study advice and mentoring and coaching. The program started on 4 September 2017 with 25 participants;

  2. Offering part-time work experience internships for "statushouders" (refugees with asylum status). Zuyd realized 10 internships (work placements) 2016-2017 in different departments and units within Zuyd;

  3. Informing refugees about education possibilities in the Netherlands and Zuyd in particular including access to support structures and financing possibilities. This resulted in approximately 20-40 enrollments of students with a refugee background in bachelor programs at Zuyd in September 2017.


Zuyd's refugee policy is in line with Zuyd's mission: to contribute to the development of professionals. This means recognizing the talents and potential of professionals, including the talents and potential of refugees, and contribute to the integration process of new inhabitants within the communities of Zuid-Limburg.

The Faculty of International Business and Communication offers educational programmes in International Business with a strong focus on entrepreneurship. It also had the lead role in a EU-funded project that supported three Russian universities in the set-up of a Master in Sustainable Entrepreneurship.


Belgium Partners

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