Selected case studies

We have selected 8 social businesses as examples to analyze through the lenses of the business tools. During the workshops, starting from each case study and with the support of workshop leaders, experts, and specific accounts, participants will be able to deepen their knowledge of pivotal business tools such as storytelling & branding, funding, social impact, technology & innovation, partnership.



Mobilearn is a mobile website that supports rapid integration and settlement of migrants by providing selected information through access to up-to-date relevant public databases, a secure messaging platform, language education and marketing features (for surveys, job advertisement and targeted information distribution). The application is thought around its end user, the migrant, and searches can be performed in the users’ language.

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Mitt Liv

Mitt Liv is a social enterprise dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion in the Swedish labour market.  Today its work is focused on two audiences; people of foreign background who are struggling to find work equivalent to their competence, and companies/organisations who value a diverse workforce.  ”Mitt Livs Chans” mentor program brings these two groups together, offering every mentee a personal mentor from one of partner companies.

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CUCULA – Refugees Company for Crafts and Design is a model project in Berlin. The project enables refugees to build up their own future by making furniture based on the design series ‘Autoprogettazione?’ (1974) from the Italian designer Enzo Mari. Working with and not for newcomers CUCULA aims to empower them financially, socially, legally and with skills. By doing so it is also a platform for an interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange.

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Refugees Work is an online job platform that supports refugees to find work in line with their skills and helps employers to find talent and increase their diversity. The mission is to make refugees´ potential accessible to the labor market and break down negative stereotypes using a high-end online platform that streamlines the recruiting process for refugees and employers. The product is a job platform, where: refugees can find jobs for free and employers can list vacancies or search directly for candidates.

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SPEAK is a social tech startup that connects migrants & refugees with locals through a language and culture exchange program. At the core of this program are (1) language & culture exchange courses and (2) events – the key to helping migrants and refugees to feel integrated into the city where they just moved to. The result is a 1-2 punch that breaks barriers, promotes multilingualism, equality & democratizes language learning. The courses and events in SPEAK are diverse and inspiring.

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Progetto Quid

Progetto QUID is an eco-fashion business that employs disadvantaged women in the upcycle of first quality textile waste into limited edition, design collections. It was founded in 2013 with the main mission of tackling the high unemployment rate among disadvantaged workers in Italy, focusing especially on helping women who have been victims of objectification due to domestic violence or prostitution.

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Laboratorio Triciclo

Laboratorio Triciclo is a social business, part of Cooperativa Ruah, which aims at the temporary employment of immigrants and Italians in need and/or victims of social marginalization. These people retrieve and recover clothes and furnishings that are then reintroduced into the consumption cycle. Migrants are both employees (about 20 of the 50 total employees) and members. Thanks to the growing demand of second-hand clothes, Triciclo has already opened two sales outlets.

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Africa-Orient Experience

Orient Experience I and II, and Africa Experience are three ethnic food companies born from 2012 on, from political refugees and asylum seekers in Venice. The companies were born from the idea of giving meaning to the memory of the migrants’ journey. Migrants themselves developed the menu of dishes that travels the same route as the migrant: from Africa or from the Middle East to Venice. The dishes are the result of the meeting of cultures, with a final adaptation to the place where they are offered.

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During the Social Enterprise Boat Camp 2017, in addition to the case studies, we will hear several accounts from other businesses committed to having a positive social impact.

logo AidTech

AidTech (AT) is a social enterprise that develops and sells technologies that create a digital identity for refugees. The company completed the pilot stage in 2016 (Lebanon, USA). In April 2017, in partnership with UNDP, in Serbia and the government of Northern Ireland, they will launch the scaling-up process of the pilot project.

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The Barikama social cooperative (which in Bambara language means “resistant”), was founded in 2011 by a group of young migrants, who came up with the idea of promoting social integration by producing and selling organic yoghurt. Several of the founders/members have been through enormous suffering and hardship, such as fleeing their home country, alienation in the refugee center and their exploitation in  Rosarno  (infamously notorious place in Calabria, Italy).

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Chancen Reich

Chancen:reich  is one of Europe’s largest career & job fair for refugees and the first one ever in Austria. Within four months, a group lead by Stephanie Cox and Leo Widrich created a fair attended by 4.000 people, including 3.500 newcomers and 80 corporate partners. 100+ newcomers were matched with companies and the initiative reached up to 4 M people via the media in Austria and beyond.

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Cuochi a Colori

“Cuochi a Colori – cooking and culture” is the is first, project by One World Srl, profit company pursuing social objectives, operating, from 2014, in integration of foreigners coming to Italy,  retraining and competences promotion. One World is a spin-off of Arcobaleno Association, working with migrants for decades. Cuochi a Colori project is founded on this basic idea: far lands flavours open to the discovery of the other; a rich and thick exchange of knowledges disclose treasures of thousand-year old roots people.

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InterprAID bridges the divide between refugees/migrants and social and health service providers by employing interpreters directly from the community via browser-based calling system. Founded in 2015, interprAID’s interpreting platform enables NGOs to find qualified interpreters in over 40 languages.

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M'ama Food

M’AMA FOOD – catering from the world” is a service of the Cooperative Farsi Prossimo that was created in 2010 within the “Via Sammartini – Reception Center” of the Municipality of Milan. The Reception Center hosts refugee women with their children. M’AMA FOOD started initially as a kitchen lab for refugees with educational and integration goals, the project has been very successful. Given the great potential of the experience as a tool for job placement and social integration, in 2012 the Cooperative decided to create a real entrepreneurial activity.

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sos rosarno

SOS Rosarno is a Calabrian association bringing small organic producers. The Association is committed to guaranteeing workers’ rights and to improving the working conditions of its employees (Italians and migrants) and to produce food in accordance to ecologic agriculture criteria. The social cooperative “Mani e Terra” was born thanks to the experience of SOS Rosarno and to the initiative of a group of African migrants working in agriculture. Mani e Terra produces vegetables, fruits and processed goods and sells them to ethical purchasing groups in Italy and to fairtrade commercial networks.

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Refugees Welcome

Refugees Welcome Italia was founded in December 2015 as part of the international Refugees Welcome network, in order to develop a system for the reception of refugees and asylum-seekers by and into host families, and to propose a radical change to reception policies, which are outlined and managed by the Ministry of Interior with European funds, through partnership with the third sector and municipalities (for second-phase reception).

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Rigenera Nazareth

The Cooperativa Nazareth was founded in 2001 by several organizations committed to solidarity actions from Cremona. In 2013, Nazareth became a mixed social cooperative, starting to work in the employment of disadvantaged people, in particular migrants and asylum seekers and to implement a new production sector in the field of bio-farming. Nazareth started therefore the social enterprise RIGENERA, which – through the cultivation of vegetables – gives these people the opportunity to undertake a job placement and develop professional skills.

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Logo SEP Jordan

SEP Jordan: Art of Embroidery. Ethical brand SEP creates precious hand-embroidered lifestyle accessories which blend hallmarks of Middle-Eastern craftsmanship with Italian style. Every stitch tells a story: each piece is embroidered by a single talented artist. Women refugees who continue the time-honoured, cross-stitch technique that has been passed down from generation to generation. SEP high quality hand-embroidered accessories plan to bring thousands of refugees above the poverty line, empower women to become change-markers

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