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Business community steps up to refugee crisis at first-ever Global Refugee Forum

In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the IKEA Foundation and the International Chamber of Commerce, the Tent Partnership for Refugees co-hosted the private sector dinner at the first ever Global Refugee Forum, held in Geneva on December 16, 2019.

Attended by representatives from dozens of businesses, Tent member companies publicly announced commitments to hire refugees, include more refugees in their supply chains, and support refugee entrepreneurs:

  • Ingka Group, Inter IKEA Group and IKEA Foundation announced commitments across their value chains to support refugees. By 2022, they will support 2,500 refugees through job training and language skills initiatives in 300 IKEA stores and units in 30 countries. Additionally, Inter IKEA Group will create sustainable livelihoods for 400 women through its partnership with Jordan River Foundation. These commitments will be boosted by the IKEA Foundation’s commitment of EUR 100 million in program grants over the next five years.
  • Swedish fashion company H&M committed to doubling the number of suppliers it works with to hire refugees, from 20 to 40, with the aim of reaching at least 2,000 refugees by 2025. In addition, H&M Group will use the power of its brand to advocate for formal employment opportunities for refugees in host countries such as Ethiopia.
  • Uber committed to helping 1,000 refugees become driver-partners on its platform in Africa by December 2022, starting with a pilot of 50 refugees in Uganda and then scaling this initiative in Uganda and other countries in the region. To help refugees gain access to finance to lease a car, Uber, in partnership with Tent, will provide a grant whose funds will serve as a first loss guarantee against potential defaults on the refugees’ car loans. With this assurance, PostBank, a bank in Uganda, will offer car loans to refugees at a competitive rate. Uber will also partner with the Norwegian Refugee Council and YARID to support the refugee driver-partners onboarding, upskilling and performance.
  • Reaffirming their commitment from Tent’s Latin American Business Summit on Refugees, BBVA announced plans for the social development bank, Bancamia, to provide loans, bank accounts, and insurance products to 200 Venezuelan entrepreneurs in Colombia by 2020 – helping to support the growth of Venezuelan-owned small businesses in Colombia.
  • Generali/The Human Safety Net announced plans to build on their current commitment to help refugees set up 500 new businesses by 2020, with a new partnership and a co-investment from the French Labor Ministry. The new partnership will allow them to expand their refugee entrepreneurship program in France to three new locations: in Montreuil, St Denis and Strasbourg.

Speaking at a press conference at the Palais de Nations in Geneva on December 16, Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and Founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, said, “When brands bring refugees to the center of their operations you can see immediate impact. From the employment perspective [hiring refugees] can positively impact the work environment, the morale of your employees & help attract better talent.”

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