The Entrepreneurship by Diaspora for Development (ED4D) project has successfully been concluded end of December 2020. It was IOM the Netherland’s first involvement with diaspora entrepreneurship and an experience IOM would like to expand in the future. Now, what has contributed to the success of ED4D and what is there to look forward to?
From a final survey, it became clear that the reasons that drove the participants to enrol in the project were numerous and varied, but they mainly came down to developing entrepreneurial skills and building up a network. The hope to attract start-up capital was definitely a common aspiration too.
All participants indicated that their business has positively evolved over the course of ED4D and that they have the skills to run a successful business. They were also satisfied with the many connections that were built up throughout the project. Only the funding part remains a challenge for many. However, 71% is still keen to pursue their business and move to Ghana/Ethiopia.
Although not a first for IOM globally, it was our missions’ first experience to engage in diaspora entrepreneurship. The success of the project has inspired us to wish to further expand this in the future. As an intergovernmental organization, IOM is in a unique position to leverage the many connections required to build a successful business.
This project has shown that diaspora members often have innovative and valuable business plans which can spur the private sector in their home countries. They are well-positioned because they think differently than local entrepreneurs and are more willing to take risks than foreign entrepreneurs. Since they are in between two worlds, a specific support programme for diaspora entrepreneurs is useful since they often fall out of place in the regular support structures. Read more in the dossier on diaspora inclusion.
We are building on the transnational ecosystem that has been put in place through ED4D and are exploring further opportunities for diaspora entrepreneurship in Ethiopia and/or Ghana and even for migrant entrepreneurship in the Netherlands.