Providing refugee and migrant entrepreneurs with workspaces and access to infrastructure (e.g. internet, phone, electricity) can be an effective means to support them in developing their business ideas. Such co-working among people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives, ideas and skill sets promotes innovation, and can help social integration and cohesion, driving networking and collaboration between students, refugees, volunteers and other stakeholders to test, implement and accelerate ideas for tech-enabled businesses.
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.