Startup Refugees Fund

The only fund in Finland for newcomer founders

Third round of business grants coming in autumn of 2024!

Are you a newcomer entrepreneur, or desiring to be one soon? Do you have a clear business idea in your mind, and you have participated in our Business Program activities?

Talk to you soon!

The problem

Startup Refugees has supported newcomers in finding jobs and starting businesses since 2015. Over a thousand have participated in our Business Program and more than 80 companies have been established with our support. Everyday, we are blown away by the innovative business ideas and high entrepreneurial spirit of newcomers.

But. The fact is that underrepresented founders struggle to get funding. Most funding still goes to the three white guys in the garage. Only 3 % of seed venture funding goes to female-only founded startups in Europe, while only 1 % of tech founders self-identify as Black, Caribbean, or African.

As for any startup, the first years of running a business are extremely hard. But for newcomer founder is almost impossible

We see a problem.

Our solution

We believe that refugees and other newcomers bring huge economic and human potential to Finland. This is why we have established the Startup Refugees Fund which offers support for newcomer founders.

The founders and teams receiving the funding are from the Startup Refugees Business Program and have a promising business idea or a running business but are not attracting investors yet.

The recipients of the funding are selected by an external jury which consists of Startup Refugees network members, individuals and experienced newcomer entrepreneurs.

Meet some of our Founders

Over a thousand newcomers have participated in the Startup Refugees Business Program.
Anna, Robert and Jaisal are one of them.

Anna Sambou

Founder of Heemlig
Heemlig is an on-demand online platform that connects households with local professionals to provide in-home services.

"Being an immigrant should not limit you from becoming a successful entrepreneur. Finland is my second home, and I want to contribute to the economic growth of the country through my business and by creating more jobs."

Robert Ngenzi

Founder of Yomonitor
Yomonitor helps advertisers monitor, collect, and analyze their radio and TV advertising efforts and optimize their campaigns.

"It has been hard to get the funding as a immigrant founder in Finland. Even though I've created a successful business with the support of Startup Refugees, I need investors to scale bigger."

Jaisal Ashraf

Founder of Easy Walk
Easy Walk helps visually impaired people to navigate and have easy access to common facilities.

"I'm currently in the formation stage of my startup and looking for investors to grow the idea into a real product. Even though I have tons of technical expertise, I've struggled to find partners and investors in Finland. But I keep a positive spirit; the business idea is great and has potential for a huge impact."


collected to spark a change


The Startup Refugees Fund is administrated by Startup Refugees, a Finnish non-profit organization supporting refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in entrepreneurship and employment. The non-profit association behind Startup Refugees is called Phoenix ra and it holds a money collection permit that allows collecting donations in Finland. Startup Refugees has a history of supporting newcomers in starting businesses since 2015 and Startup Refugees Fund is the latest innovation of the association.  

The Startup Refugees Fund is for pioneering companies that want to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Donating to the Fund is a great way to bring these topics alive and communicate your values internally and externally.

The companies donating to the Fund can have their logo put on the Fund webpage and can use our logo in their communications. They can be invited to a jury that evaluates the business ideas of Startup Refugees Business Program participants and receive information about interesting startups being born in the Startup Refugees network.

A company can donate to the fund by contacting us through, individuals cannot unfortunately donate due to legal reasons. We are always looking for new partners and ready to build a tailored CSR or Diversity & Inclusion program related to Startup Refugees Fund. Just give a bell to us and let’s plan it together!

The funding is meant for all current and aspiring newcomer entrepreneurs who have participated in the Startup Refugees Business Program. A new funding round starts each autumn. 

In the first round the recipients of the fund are shortlisted by a jury consisting of Startup Refugees team members. In the second round an official jury is established with two representatives from the Startup Refugees network being either company representatives or experienced individuals and with one entrepreneur representative coming from a migrant or refugee background. 


Want to find out more?