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PLACE : change the migrant and refugee narrative with innovation

For our latest article, FAIRE shines the spotlight on our partner : PLACE. PLACE was created in late 2016 as a response to the negative media-fueled rhetoric surrounding migration in Europe. PLACE's mission was and continues to be, to change the migrant narrative.

Empower and support refugees to get started as entrepreneurs in France

One of PLACE’S strengths is their belief that newcomers are valuable sources of innovation for Europe that bring opportunities to create new economic, social and cultural value. They also put private, public and civil society in the position of proactive actors, having strategic roles to play in unlocking newcomer talent.

The keys actions of PLACE are to support newcomers, helping them build their entrepreneurial projects and to match newcomers with opportunities for employment, incubation and higher education.

To achieve their mission and help refugee startups achieve growth, PLACE created PLACE Labs, one of PLACE's many forms of intervention. PLACE Labs take on an immersive workshop format where newcomers are guided through the design process for early-stage ideas by a multi-cultural & multi-lingual team. Taking place in emblematic-spaces in European capitals, the PLACE Labs are spaces where the possibilities for migrant-led-innovation are endless. Newcomers learn tools from design thinking and human-centred design methodology and transform a problem into a tested and prototyped solution in a mere 24 hours.

However, PLACE's approach to developing newcomer talent goes beyond the Lab format. Over the past three years, PLACE has leveraged several forms of capacity building - including public speaking training, coaching, collaborative art projects, interactive storytelling and immersive fellowship models.

The catalysts : exceptional talents from unexpected places.

PLACE goes beyond support to refugees entrepreneurs and provides a leadership training for high potential newcomers : the catalysts. Catalysts are high-potential newcomers who have chosen the develop their projects and acquire new skills through PLACE.

With deep connections in informal networks, PLACE has a track record for sourcing exceptional talent from unexpected places. Catalysts are identified by PLACE's Talent & Connections coordinated Shawgi and are selected based on their potential to lead and act in France. Many come to PLACE with countless ideas for projects and start-ups, looking for a place where they can test & grow their idea and develop a network.

In addition to managing their entrepreneurial project, catalysts play an important role for newcomers by leading PLACE labs.

Recently, PLACE decided to continue to invest in catalysts, by creating the Catalyst Academy, a program designed for newcomers to accelerate their positioning in France. The Catalyst Academy has been designed to provide the skills required for our shifting economies and meet the needs of newcomers for long-term meaningful integration in France. All Catalysts have access to training on key Future of Work skills (entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and intercultural collaboration), opportunities to anchor their economic integration in France (full-time incubation, employment or certified learning) and the opportunity to build a far-reaching professional network.

Next steps : an innovative and promising fall for PLACE

Stay tuned to discover more exciting news from PLACE, such as a brand new program for catalysts, and the launch of their blog PLACE Makers; providing news and stories that aim to change the narrative around migrants and refugees.

You can take a look at their new website here.


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