The Guardian

The potential of refugee entrepreneurs is huge. But they need our help | Philippe Legrain

Refugees are already equipped with the key skills to succeed in business and their contribution can be worth billions of dollars
‘Whether they run a shop or a cafe, or – like Westfield founder Frank Lowy – end up building a global empire, refugee entrepreneurs contribute to society in many ways.’ Photograph: Ben Rushton/AAP

Kinan Al Halabi arrived in Australia in 2016 as a refugee from the civil war in Syria. He spoke English, had a university degree, had taught computer science in Syria and had experience working for Swedish telecoms company Ericsson. Yet his qualifications weren’t recognised in Australia and obtaining an Australian degree would have taken three years, so the best job he could find was as an entry-level analyst for Telstra. But he resolved to better himself and on Sundays trained to become a driving, a non-profit, he was able to buy a car and start his own business. Now he’s so successful that he’s working flat out and is thinking of starting another venture.

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