Lost in the debate over the Trump travel ban, which has now partially gone into effect, is a vital fact about refugees. Many of them bring huge benefits to the nations in which they settle — because time and again, starting up businesses is a part of starting over for those finding a new home.
In Canada, one of the country’s most talked-about — and sought-after — sweets companies is the product of Assam Hadhad who launched Peace by Chocolate out of his kitchen in his adopted home in Nova Scotia after a missile struck his factory in Syria and his family finally decided to flee the danger.
The Canadian catering company Syrian Cuisine Made With Love has a similar story of a family thrown out of its own country by the conflict’s violence and now creating growth and opportunity for others by feeding Canadians — and hiring other Syrians.
Likewise, in the United Kingdom, one cheese company is winning fans — including among the country’s royal family and the nation’s prime minister — as it provides a living to Syrians who’ve lost everything to the war.
Turkey is now home to roughly three million Syrian refugees. Only 10% of this group lives in refugee camps; nearly all are working to find homes in cities and battling high rents and stiff competition for work in a very tight labor market full of people seeking to make a living. Today, Syrians are leading the list of foreign nationals launching businesses there.
A recent report from the non-profit organization Building Markets finds that since the Syrian civil war started in 2011, Syrians in Turkey have started more than 6,000 new companies. If you add in informal businesses that aren’t registered with the government, that number would top 10,000. This year alone Syrians are on track to start 2,000 new enterprises. On average, the companies in the Building Markets study offer jobs to nine people — with close to a third of the companies saying they plan to expand.
[Read full CNN article]