REstart Refugees

Updated: 08/12/2017

Solution provider

REstart empowers refugee entrepreneurs through locally crowdsourced loans. Leveraging the experience of entrepreneurial refugees will decrease welfare spending, generate tax revenue, and form cross-cultural alliances, equipping civil society to address the crisis. Shared equity funds our operations from within.

Statistically, tens of thousands of refugees have valuable entrepreneurial experience, but remain locked out of traditional funding to restart their businesses. Thus, they remain dependent on welfare or are often forced into low-skilled jobs, isolated from the mainstream society and economy.

In an age of increasing polarization, approaching this as an economic issue as opposed to a political one bridges divides and offers an objective solution. While our primary goal is societal impact, we will also generate a profit and liberate ourselves from dependence upon donations and grants, fusing the mission-based work of NGOs with the sustainability of for-profit enterprises.

Our company combines Kiva’s crowdsourced (MFI) with the shared equity investment scheme of Y Combinator in order to fund from within and target the most productive sector of the economy: small businesses. Unlike bank loans and traditional MFI, we are local and leverage shared equity in our client companies to fund our operations. Our clients’ success is our success; our vetted entrepreneurs receive funding otherwise unavailable to them, as well as on-going support to mitigate risk.

Like a traditional investment firm, we profit from the success of our borrowers. Unlike a traditional investment firm, we provide business development and operational support alongside funding as well as a built-in consumer base. Our client’s success is our success.

Our process:
1. Experienced refugee entrepreneur applies to REstart
2. Vetting of skills, character and business plan are performed by REstart application board.
3. Once application is approved, applicant’s business plan and video profile is published on our web platform (similar to Kickstarter)
4. Private local lenders browse profiles and loan a minimum of €25 to a specific project (similar to KIVA)
5. Once all funding goals are met, funds are dispersed using invoicing methods and oversight
6. On-going, personalized support is provided to the entrepreneur continues to grow their business
7. Application fee, shared equity and cooperative memberships provide immediate funding and can partially guarantee loans.
8. We work towards a buy-out that will provide the bulk of our profits, allowing us to expand our operations and fund future generations of entrepreneurs.
9. Loans are repaid over time, and lenders have the option to reinvest.

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