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The Government must back job-creating migrant entrepreneurs to help make a success of Brexit, a report being launched today, Monday September 12 2016, in Parliament will suggest.

The study, conducted by the Institute of Directors and mi-HUB, found that there were particular challenges for entrepreneurs from overseas, including their qualifications not being recognised, not being able to transfer their credit history to the UK, difficulty in accessing finance and lack of support networks.

The authors claim that addressing these issues would help migrant-led businesses to create even more jobs and boost the UK economy.

The report, Migrant Entrepreneurship in the UK: The benefits to Britain, built on interviews and surveys undertaken by mi-HUB and the IoD, will be launched at an event today hosted by Neil Coyle MP.

The report was authored by Rafael dos Santos, a Brazilian-born entrepreneur who has created London’s first co-working space specifically for migrant entrepreneurs, and Andy Silvester, Head of Campaigns at the IoD.

The research found that:

  • The majority of those interviewed - foreign entrepreneurs now leading companies - either employ native born workers or are planning to do so in the near future.

  • The majority came to study or to work in established firms. The report argues that any post-Brexit policies designed to restrict or complicate visas would have a damaging long-term effect on the UK economy.

  • Despite the success of many migrant entrepreneurs, presented in a series of case studies in the report, there remain significant challenges around networks, contacts, and knowledge of Government support, with many migrants to the UK unaware of official schemes and advice often used by native-born entrepreneurs.

80 migrant entrepreneurs were asked specifically about the issues they faced:

  • 44% believe that a lack of contacts and networks holds them back.

  • 38% suggest there is a lack of knowledge of Government and non-Government schemes designed to help start-up businesses, and 33% believe accessing finance is more difficult.

  • In particular, difficulties transferring credit histories from abroad, particularly outside the European Union, often means entrepreneurs struggle to access finance or obtain credit cards to fund early stage business.

  • While more than half of the IoD 99, a group of business founders predominantly born in the UK, have used government grants or loans in the past five years, less than one in ten migrant entrepreneurs have benefitted from those schemes.

In advance of the report, Rafael dos Santos, co-author of the report and founder of the migrant-friendly co-working space mi-HUB, said, “This report demonstrates clearly the value of migrant entrepreneurship to the UK economy. Anybody who spends time in the start-up ecosystem immediately realises that allowing the brightest and best to build their businesses in Britain has been a huge benefit to the UK. There is much that Government can do, from working with community groups to simplifying the visa process, to ensure that migrant entrepreneurs continue to thrive.”

Simon Walker, Director General of the IoD, said “For all the talk of migrants ‘taking our jobs,’ it’s more likely that they will be creating them. As we move towards our departure from the European Union and rewrite our immigration policy, ensuring that we are still open to those who want to grow their businesses in the UK will be absolutely crucial.”

Lord Young of Graffham, former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and author of the Coalition Government’s report into start-up enterprise, writes in the report’s foreword, “The vast majority of those who arrive on our shores come here looking for the opportunity to better themselves, to enable their family to enjoy a decent life and many can do that best by setting up their own business. I commend this report for demonstrating how much we should welcome those immigrants, how much we should assist them in their endeavours to work for themselves and, ultimately, how much their efforts will benefit the whole economy.”


mi-HUB http://www.mi-hub.com/

Rafael Dos Santos http://www.rafaeldossantos.com/

IoD https://www.iod.com/about
mi-HUB Twitter: https://twitter.com/mihublondon
mi-HUB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mihublondon/?fref=ts
Migrant Business Accelerator: http://www.mi-hub.com/training/
Rafael dos Santos: http://www.rafaeldossantos.com/
Rafael dos Santos Twitter: https://twitter.com/ARafael_Santos
Rafael’s TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwUnUiyh-8Q


If you would like an interview Rafael dos Santos please get in touch and we will be happy to arrange this.

Further information and high resolution images are available on request.

Media information provided by Famous Publicity. For more information please contact Adam Betteridge at adam@famouspublicity.com or 0333 344 2341, Tabitha Monkhouse at tabitha@famouspublicity.com or 0333 344 2341 or Tina Fotherby at tina@famouspublicity.com or 07703 409 622.

About mi-HUB

mi-HUB is a business initiative created by entrepreneur Rafael Dos Santos. Located in London, the co-working space houses 150 desks to provide a place for migrant business owners to network, exchange knowledge and run their businesses. The hub also provides training in tax, marketing and branding, while offering the UK’s only co-working space that provides a business accelerator programme to help migrants access finance.

About Rafael dos Santos

Rafael dos Santos, born in 1981, is a Brazilian-British multi-award winning entrepreneur who has lived in London since 2002.

Rafael was born in Santa Catarina, a state in the south of Brazil. The son of a fisherman and a housewife, his humble beginnings led to his parents’ move to Santos (a city in Sao Paulo state) so Rafael and his two sisters could receive a better education.

At the age of 21, in 2002 Rafael moved to London, after living for two years in Sao Paulo, one of the world’s largest cities.

He left his job as a support analyst at Microsoft, to learn English in London. Until 2003 Rafael worked as a kitchen porter, cleaner, glass collector and waiter to pay his expenses.

In 2003 an opportunity came along and he started managing houses. Between 2005 and 2014 he ran his own business – an agency that managed and let rooms in flat-shares. For eleven years Rafael rented accommodation to more than 2,000 young professionals and student migrants in London.

He grew the portfolio under his management from 1 to 50 homes, 15 members of staff and reached a turnover of £1.2m. In 2013 Rafael wrote a book – ‘Moving Abroad, One Step at a Time’ – published in English, Portuguese and Chinese and in Singapore and Malaysia.

In 2015 Rafael decided to support migrant entrepreneurs in their quest to start and grow their businesses. The first pilot project was the Migrant Business Accelerator – a 16-week programme where 10 migrants were selected to attend workshops in marketing, finance and operations and 25 mentors are donating their time to help the participants to launch their businesses. The programme evolved to become a co-working space named mi-HUB.

mi-HUB.com is London’s first co-working space to help migrant entrepreneurs to have an office space as well as develop strategies to raise finance for their businesses. The office hub - which can house up to 150 entrepreneurs - is situated in Batty Street, close to Aldgate East tube station in Whitechapel.

Rafael is a guest lecturer at Regent’s University in London, where he teaches Entrepreneurship. He has won six business awards and has been the keynote speaker at several events around the world, including the World Entrepreneurship Forum in China in October 2015.

Most recently Rafael was featured in the Sunday Times as one of the ‘Top 100 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs in the UK’, an award organised by Maserati and the Centre for Entrepreneurs.

His recent TEDx talk about his life story has been very well received and can be seen here. Rafael’s vision is to help 1 million migrants become entrepreneurs over the next 10 years.

With the recent launch of his Migrant Business Show and the news of the opening of mi-HUB co-working space for migrant entrepreneurs, he is getting there closer by the day.

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