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Refugees and access to entrepreneurship: what are the legal and policy obstacles?
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When: May 16, 2019
11:00 AM
Contact: Mina Alemzadeh
202 736 5846

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ANDE Policy, Legal and Regulatory (PLR) Learning Lab Webinar


Refugees and access to entrepreneurship: what are the legal and policy obstacles?


According to the UNHCR, an unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home; among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees. An estimated 2.6 million refugees live in camps and thousands have spent most of their lives in these settlements. The UNHCR has developed a Policy on Alternatives to Camps but there is no denying that the existing infrastructures remain a major obstacle to refugees’ self-reliance, access to work and entrepreneurship.  

Having reached the conclusion that it is not sustainable to handle the refugees crisis through the traditional humanitarian lens, the international community has been exploring new solutions to promote refugees’ self-reliance. Access to social entrepreneurship for refugees is an increasing trend that has proven successful in several host countries. However, refugees outside of camps are still facing legal and policy obstacles to access entrepreneurship. Some host countries’ laws are restrictive or silent, leaving the refugees unable to sustainably provide for them and their families. This webinar will feature two experts who empower refugees through entrepreneurship in Western Asia and the Middle East and will address:

  • the legal framework applicable to refugees in these countries;
  • what are the most common legal and policy obstacles faced by the refugee community they support and work with, and
  • how they managed to overcome some of these obstacles. 



Alice Bosley, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Five One Labs 
Alice is passionate about business approaches to humanitarian challenges. She was an Innovation Specialist with the UN Refugee Agency’s Innovation Unit, using design thinking to solve humanitarian challenges worldwide. She has also worked at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, and consulted with Mercy Corp’s Social Ventures team. Before Five One Labs, she served as the Design Lead at the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio, running trainings and coaching sessions for entrepreneurs launching their businesses in NYC.

Alice has a Master of International Affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she focused on humanitarian action, economic development, and entrepreneurship. She obtained her BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

About Five One Labs
Five One Labs is a start-up incubator that helps refugees and conflict-affected entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Five One Labs entrepreneurs are provided with training; mentorship by world class entrepreneurs from the USA and the Middle East; and a community of creative change makers to share their experiences with.  Our vision is to develop an inclusive network of innovators and entrepreneurs that have the support, skills, and connections to positively change their communities and countries. 




Mohammed Skaik, Regional Business Development Manager, MENA,SPARK

Mr. Skaik has been an entrepreneurship development and economic empowerment expert in the MENA region since the last 12 years. Mr. Skaik is the MENA Regional Business Development Manager of SPARK. He works on business development in the Middle East fragile states. He is focused on providing employment opportunities, particularly for bulges of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in neighboring host countries. Given his former role as the founder and leader of Business Incubator (BTI) in Palestine, Mohammed is considered a regional figure in the Middle East to empower youth through employment and entrepreneurship. He is actively engaged in the private sector development and entrepreneurship support in the MENA region, in particular countries that SPARK is active in. Mohammed worked closely with international agencies like the World Bank, BTC, UNDP, and Mercy Corps. He is a member of the international network for innovation and entrepreneurship experts and has done and published several researches in youth empowerment. 

About SPARK:

SPARK has a thorough understanding of the economic empowerment and higher education context in the OIC member states due to the fact that it has been working actively in the region the last 30 years. SPARK’s mission is to offer access to higher education and to support entrepreneurship development in fragile states so that young, ambitious people can lead their societies into stability and prosperity.