Winners of IOM, UNCTAD, WIPO Competition Arrive in Switzerland for Global Entrepreneurship Week

Geneva – Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is an international initiative that introduces entrepreneurship to young people from around the world; the 2018 edition kicked off yesterday (12/11).

This year IOM, the UN Migration Agency, joined forces with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and partners to organize a youth entrepreneurship event for GEW called Start and Scale-up for SDGs.

In August 2018, the organizations invited young entrepreneurs from around the world to pitch business ideas that contribute to at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IOM encouraged applications from young entrepreneurs with migrant or diaspora backgrounds, including returning migrants, as well as businesses or business ideas which partner with migrants.

Out of a total of 10 young entrepreneurs selected to visit Geneva during GEW, two candidates – Khaled Karri and Astride Adjinacou – had business models linked to a migration or diaspora experience.

Khaled Karri founded the Hummustown Cooperative. Hummustown was set up in Rome in 2017 to provide local communities with authentic Syrian cuisine. The business has helped migrant employees, all of whom are Syrian refugees, become financially independent and integrate into Italian society. It also builds partnerships with Italian businesses and social organizations.

Astride Adjinacou is a migrant entrepreneur who lives in Algeria and plans to start her business in Benin’s agricultural sector. Her business plan focuses on developing a cooperative called Vegetable of Hope, which will grow organic crops using sustainable techniques and monitored irrigation. Astrid plans to sell her produce to grocery stores, vegetable markets, and restaurants. Her venture will provide job opportunities for youth, women, returning migrants in rural areas, thereby contributing to the development of the local economy.

“Entrepreneurs are the change-makers,” said Adjinacou, speaking ahead of the event. “We need to work hard and persevere. At GEW 2018, it's time to get inspired and motivated!”

Since yesterday, the candidates have been taking part in a series of activities designed to improve their entrepreneurial mindset and resilience, gauge their investment readiness and prepare to pitch their business ideas and plans to a panel of experts.

During Start and Scale-up for SDGs, which will take place this Thursday (15/11), the selected candidates will showcase their business ideas to impact investors and sustainable finance partners. Experts will then provide comprehensive feedback on the submissions, and how businesses can promote sustainable and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship in line with the UN Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Geneva Entrepreneurship Week will run until 16 November.

For more information please contact IOM HQ:
Deepali Fernandes, Tel: +41 22 717 9547, Email:
Sarah McGregor, Tel: +41 22 717 9147, Email: