The Changemakers Lab in Lesvos runs several activities, with the most important one to be the Accelerator, a four-month incubation programme in collaboration with the University of the Aegean where students, refugees, volunteers and other stakeholders collaborate to test, implement and accelerate ideas for tech-enabled businesses.
The organisation’s longer-term vision is to build a global humanitarian tech hub in Lesvos, attracting start-ups, investors and digitally skilled workers, in order to demonstrate the economic opportunity that refugees and asylum seekers represent.
The island of Lesvos was one of the places that experienced a large influx of refugees during the 2015 and 2016 refugee crisis. The influx put pressure on the island’s tourism-dependent economy and, without meaningful interactions between locals and refugees, risked generating social tensions.
The inflows of migrants and refugees as still high – according to UNHCR statistics a number of 4.675 migrants have arrived in the island of Lesvos in 2020