IAJBS 23rd Annual World Forum University of Namur, Namur, Belgium

Experience level: 
Emily Grossman, Marco Tavanti

Social Enterprise Approaches to Refugee Service Management: Creating Sustainable Solutions in Education, Employment, and Community Building

Coordinated approaches to the global refugee crisis are increasingly recognizing the importance of social enterprise to contribute to sustainable solutions. Ranging from humanitarian aid to refugee resettlement, social-minded organizations may offer improved experiences in education, employment, and community building. This paper explores organizations and individual entrepreneurs involved in refugee service management, and it further examines the sector’s potential to positively impact the world’s most vulnerable populations. Jesuits have always emphasized education at the center of any sustainable solution. For refugees in particular, Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) – Higher Education at the Margins utilizes technology to provide learning, community, and paths to employment. Entrepreneurs worldwide have started following similar online models in order to encourage higher education and promote vocational training. New paradigms and best practices are detailed in our study, focused on education and employment. We ask and seek to answer how unconventional approaches to educating and training will create a better future for each refugee. Furthermore, can entrepreneurs engaged in the sharing economy offer housing, social activities, and other resources to help build community for individuals and families forced to flee their homes? One organization, likened to an “Airbnb for refugees” is highlighted in this paper, while other collaborative possibilities are discussed. Work integration social enterprise (WISE) businesses involved in creating employment paths for refugees are also underscored as contributors to sustainable communities. Each example and best practice shapes our conclusion that more can be and must be done by social enterprises when it comes to refugee education, employment, and community building.