About the project
NMLL supports a hugely diverse migrant and refugee student population hailing from 27 countries – the mix of languages and cultures is even more diverse. In working with these students in our language and computer courses we have found that the majority are highly motivated to find meaningful employment in Australia but face a suite of challenges that are unique to the migrant experience. Further to this, we notice that without specialised education and support services the once highly motivated student can slowly become disengaged and underemployed.
Research suggests that many migrants globally turn to microbusiness as a way to overcome some of the typical barriers to employment and generate income. This path can provide great success for some but many are left with a struggling business and in some cases debt – 50% of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. With the stakes so high for many migrant families regarding their start-up capital and family budget, the reality of financial failure is simply not an option.
After receiving continued requests and feedback from our CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) communities, NMLL began to research the ideas behind The Microbusiness Project. It became clear to us that entrepreneurship in one country does not seamlessly transfer to another, and from this viewpoint, the project was born. Developed in April 2017 the two-year pilot program offers a tailored microbusiness course (Everybody’s Business course), specialist mentoring and business development support. We also underpin every stage of our program with English language skills, technology skills and Australian business culture familiarisation.
Initially, we have offered our program exclusively to women with the view to extend it to men in 2019. Why women? We see so many talented women at NMLL with an amazing passion for their families and their culture, and we want to support them to find flexible and meaningful ways to generate income. We want them to build their confidence and expand their networks in Australia. We also hope that our efforts will encourage more community engagement leading to connected communities and social cohesion.