About this good practice
Linköping is one of Sweden’s most segregated cities. StartUp Time is one of the continuous labour-market integration practices to reduce segregation and promote self-sufficiency. StartUp Time is a form of support and guidance service intended for people with a foreign, mainly non-EU background, who have the entrepreneurial spirit but need a little extra help and financial support to get a viable business up and running. StartUp Time is a collaboration between the non-profit business guidance organization Nyföretagarcentrum and Linköping municipality, with funding from both the municipality and private partners.
An important basis of StartUp Time is targeted activities and initiatives - free of charge - for the city’s residents, mainly in the Skäggetorp, Berga and Ryd districts, which houses many people born outside Sweden and specifically non-EU migrants. Weekly StartUp cafés are arranged in these districts, where migrants can meet over coffee and, in an informal environment, discuss business ideas with multilingual business advisors. StartUp Time also offers workshops and lectures that promote knowledge about entrepreneurship as well as the local culture and regulations. StartUp Time can also offer tailor-made guidance and support in realizing the individual’s business idea.
The activities of StartUp Time is based on knowledge obtained through a pilot study in 2021 that mapped the needs of migrants and key factors in encouraging migrant entrepreneurship.
StartUp Time is mainly funded by Linköping municipality (around 28 000 € annually) with some additional funds from private partners. Other important resources are public meeting spaces for e.g. the StartUp cafés as well as committed business advisors with diverse backgrounds and language skills.
Evidence of success
The success of StartUp Time is that it reaches the target group in new ways and provides a support system to promote migrant entrepreneurship. In 2022, 140 individuals participated in one or more StartUp café events. Some of these participants have already made solid feasibility studies and are now close to business start-up. In order to to promote gender equality in the services provided, a women's group was created in 2023 in which around 30 women from non-EU countries has participated.
Potential for learning or transfer
Sustainable labour market inclusion of non-EU nationals is an important challenge to be addressed by the member states and the different regions across Europe, since studies show that many of these migrants remain in low-income jobs. Promoting entrepreneurship and encouraging migrants to start their own business is essential, but this needs to be done professionally and systematically within a support structure that takes into account the needs of migrants as well as the realities of starting a business.
This is exactly what StartUp Time offers and why this good practice can be useful for other regions, with a clear focus on adequate tailor-made support, knowledge about regulations that affect businesses, and advisors who are business-owners themselves. Some of the key factors for success are to bring the support structure close to the target group, but also to have committed business advisors with diverse language skills and an understanding of different cultures and backgrounds.