London Partners

Fresh Start is a project funded by the European Commission, DG GROW under the Entrepreneurial capacity building for young migrants Programme and delivered by London South Bank University (LSBU), NWES and Citizens UK (CUK) in the UK. Stichting Zuyd Hogeschool (ZUYD) in the Netherlands University College Leuven Limburg (UCLL) in Belgium.


The project started on the 1st June 2017 and will run for 2 years finishing on the 31st May 2019.


The overall objective is to develop and deliver a programme to support 120 migrant entrepreneurs across 3 EU states - UK, Belgium and The Netherlands - offering the possibility to acquire the necessary competencies and the abilities for an entrepreneurial future.


The programme supports migrants who:


  • Would like to start their own business

  • Already have an idea and want to put it in practice

  • Already have started a business and need to grow or overcome specific difficulties


In London the Programme is delivered by London South Bank University (LSBU), Norfolk and Waveney Enterprises Services (NWES) and Citizens UK (CUK).

London South Bank University (LSBU) is leading the programme. As an organisation that is committed to entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion, LSBU’s ambition is to deliver outstanding economic, social and cultural benefits from its intellectual capital by connecting teaching, research and enterprise activities with the real world. London South Bank University’s entrepreneurial activity has been recognised, being named Entrepreneurial University of the year in the Times Higher Education Awards, and being highly commended at the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) Celebrating Enterprise awards, both in 2016


LSBU has formed a new Research and Enterprise Institute to address Global Challenges, working to bring together academia and industry to tackle issues such as forced migration. LSBU delivers courses for refugees and hosts the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA). It has run a number of successful projects to engage with small businesses and entrepreneurs locally, supporting them to develop their business or business idea. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)-funded Investment Escalator programme has provided free advice to help local businesses grow - 193 SMEs have been supported (with over 50% from BAME backgrounds), in the process creating or safeguarding over 110 jobs and raising £1million of investment. LSBU’s successful Momentum programme took 30 leaders of micro enterprises on a journey to prepare them to invest and expand.


LSBU is currently also a part of a number of business support programmes, including Enterprise Steps and dek Growth. Enterprise Steps provides a tailored support programme for new enterprises, offering guidance and direction as they are created and establish themselves. The project also offers specialised mentoring and advice to help existing enterprises survive, prosper and grow. dek Growth is an ERDF-funded programme that delivers strategic, practical and innovative support to businesses that want to progress. It focuses on developing businesspeople, using a mix of traditional approaches to business, social science methods and creative-thinking-based training.


LSBU is located in a highly diverse area of London, with a local population that is significantly younger, more ethnically diverse and more deprived than the UK as a whole. LSBU is skilled at reaching out to diverse communities and moving them into the economic and social mainstream, both by improving educational attainment or supporting entrepreneurial ambitions.

Through Fresh Start, LSBU aims to replicate and adapt its success in entrepreneurship education and practise, and its expertise in handling issues surrounding immigration and refugees. It plans to enrich the local community by supporting migrants, nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit and guiding them through the UK start-up landscape. 

Citizens UK is a national charity with a reach of 350 civil society institutions across the UK, with over 230 in London. It organises communities to act together for power, social justice and the common good. It is the home of community organising in the UK specialising, in developing the leadership capacity of its members.

Citizens UK has been successful in enabling many community-led campaigns such as the Living Wage campaign, founded in 2001 after years of listening to migrant workers on very low wages, many of them in low skilled jobs. Now the Living Wage Foundation, the campaign has grown massively and today has over 2500 Living Wage employers.


Citizens UK has a department called NCOT (New Citizens Organising Team), whose purpose is to train and develop leaders from migrant backgrounds while building campaigns relevant to them. Citizens UK use their expertise in enabling minority and community groups to engage with and empower people who can be part of the Fresh Start Programme and become entrepreneurs. 


Citizens UK has worked on many issues to do with refugees and migration, including a campaign to end child detention for immigration purposes. In 2013 Citizens UK successfully campaigned for a cross party inquiry that led to changes to the law, with the result that since then no child under the age of 18 can be detained for the purposes of immigration. 


Since 2013 Citizens UK has been calling on the government to resettle refugee families. When the refugee crisis broke in 2015, Citizens UK was one of the few organisations already campaigning on the subject. Its work put pressure on the UK Home Office to allow child refugees to come to the UK, in particular when the ‘Jungle’ in Calais was destroyed.


Other activities include: ‘Stand Up Stand Out’, a movement led by migrant youth that trains young people to be active and join initiatives to further the cause and improve the situation of the entire community; and ‘Refugees Welcome’, a Citizens UK project across the UK that works with various civil organisations to help re-settle refugee families, in particular from Syria.

The Nwes Group has a 39-year history of delivering business support, workspace and finance to new and established businesses across London, East Anglia and the East Midlands. Nwes and its subsidiaries are registered as not for profit distribution companies and are exemplars in the provision of business support, improvement and incubation. The Group creates over 1,500 new businesses each year, and provides advice and training to over 3,500 clients.


Nwes delivers business start-up and growth services through one-to-one business support and workshops. Its qualified business advisors deliver bespoke support to those at any stage of starting or growing a business. Itsnetwork spreads across all 33 London Local Authorities, with 4 business centres to assist in its objective of providing independent, confidential, impartial business advice and training, access to finance and business premises.


Nwes was highlighted in a 2008 report by the European Commission ‘Entrepreneurial Diversity in a Unified Europe: Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship/Migrant Entrepreneurship’. This report praised Nwes, (at the time of writing ELSBC) for having ‘established an immigrant community outreach that mainstream organisations normally do not achieve’. In addition the report highlighted the long-term effectiveness of support offered through Nwes, ‘illustrated by the 3-year survival rate of over 80 % for ELSBC’s start-ups against a national survival rate of 62.5 %’.