On June 22, 2018, R Ventures Forum gathered over 150 key stakeholders in Berlin for an allday conference to engage refugee entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, and global partners on the urgent topic of how to create an effective ecosystem of support for refugee entrepreneurship in Europe and beyond. Expert panelists and audience members identified actionable solutions to challenges that refugees face in starting their own businesses. The focus was on identifying what the private sector, public sector, media, and refugees themselves can do to face these challenges and enact change. With an emphasis on taking action, several private and public sector investors announced exciting new, concrete commitments in support of refugee entrepreneurs at the event. The Forum opened with an address by Shantanu Prakash, founder of the R Ventures Foundation (RVF) and featured keynotes by Archish Mittal, Executive Director of RVF, and Dr. Henrik Syse, Member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The diverse panelists were refugee entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses in the technology, language learning, and service sectors, on to companies such as Ameria, Linklaters, and Bayer that are helping refugee entrepreneurs to thrive. Participants heard from leaders of cities such as Heidelberg, multilateral institutions such as the EU Madaad Fund, and various refugee impact organizations on how public policy can facilitate refugee entrepreneurship.
Prominent media organizations including Deutsche Welle, Thomson Reuters, and Al Arabiya, discussed how to change the narrative to highlight financial independence and selfreliance for refugees. In addition to announcing specific commitments to support refugee entrepreneurship, the Forum produced an Action Agenda to guide stakeholders in various sectors. The Action Agenda provides concrete recommendations, as well as connections to programs, networks, and funders in order to enable stakeholders at the confluence of industry, public policy, academia, media and philanthropy to take action.Archish Mittal Executive Director
Nicole Huber (City Manager , Heidelberg) with Shantanu Prakash (Founder, R VenturesFoundation) announcing the refugee incubator in Heidelberg.
Dr. Henrik Syse, Vice-Chair , Norwegian Nobel Committee speaking about the 4th Industrial Revolution and dignity of human life.