In 2017, Ben & Jerry’s teamed up with The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN) to launch the Ice Academy, a programme for refugees looking to start a business in the UK. The Ice Academy combines part-time employment with a four-month entrepreneurship training programme that allows participants to test their business ideas.
Chris Gale, European Head of Social Mission for Ben & Jerry’s, says: “Refugees face high levels of unemployment and underemployment. And yet, refugees often demonstrate incredible creativity and resilience in starting a new life in another country – clearly important factors for success in entrepreneurship.
“The Ice Academy programme offers refugees – who want to start their own business – the tools and connections they need to unlock their potential, supporting them to create some pretty cool ideas and ultimately, make a decision on what the best next step is personally.
“Refugees face a tough challenge in having to rebuild their lives in a new country. Too often there isn’t enough information or support for people to access, as well as the time and space to develop a business idea. The Ice Academy, while small, shows us what is possible for people to achieve with the right help at the right times.”
Asraa, who joined last year after arriving from Libya, agrees: “It was really good for my CV, as I learned about business and selling. I also grew in confidence. When you have confidence, you can speak loudly, you can laugh. You have to be confident. I think it’s the first step if you want to be successful.”