“It’s not because they fled their country that they lost their talent. This is the motto of Singa, an organization that supports “newcomers” to promote their social and professional integration. And for this last subject, Singa has set up incubators to help its beneficiaries in their entrepreneurial endeavors. There are 5 of them, spread over the French territory, having already enabled the creation of more than 300 start-ups. The last, which opened in Lille, in the North, has already recruited its first promotion.
“Singa brings together locals and newcomers, refugees, asylum seekers, and encourages them to engage together in social, professional and entrepreneurial projects”, briefly explains Pascal Dubaele, director of Singa Lille. Because many of these people, around 30% according to him, were already entrepreneurs in their countries of origin, why not help them set up their own business in France via an incubator? The first opened in Paris in 2016, followed by Lyon, Nantes, Strasbourg and now Lille. Due to approximately two annual promotions, 320 diverse and varied companies have been launched. “We have an average job creation rate of 54% after only 6 months,” he continues.
Very different projects and profiles
In Lille, therefore, ten candidates of 7 different nationalities have joined the incubator. Six women and 4 men. “The projects and profiles are very different, there is restoration, computer reconditioning, literary publishing or even the creation of a Franco-Albanian media”, lists Marie Patfoort, manager of the Lille incubator. And no, Singa doesn’t even discriminate positively. If the target audience is indeed newcomers in a regular situation, “the incubator is also open to French people who have a project to create a business or association related to interculturality or migration”, adds the manager. .
Singa does not finance the projects, but its support is worth gold. “Starting a business in France can be a little scary, even if our audiences are a minimum of experienced in our administration, recognizes Marie Patfoort. We also help to structure projects, build a business plan, seek financing, prepare interviews, especially with banks”. Referents then follow the entrepreneurs in the early stages of the life of their activities.
In addition to the competence of its staff and its community, Singa can also take advantage of an enticing network. “We are labeled French Tech but the organization is also recognized internationally, by the United Nations, the EU, the Obama Foundation, Forbes, Microsoft, Facebook”, insists Pascal Dubaele. And the head of the incubator recognizes it, “more and more projects revolve around digital technology”. Like that of Loriane, who is setting up a service platform for entrepreneurial mothers. Or that of Françoise, who created a collaborative digital space around family backgrounds. “Basically, insists Marie Patfoort, revealing the potential of new arrivals shows that cultural diversity is a driving force for creation and innovation. »