The Alter-Start incubator supports migrants with the launch of their own microenterprises in the Canton de Vaud. In a co-working space and free of charge, the program offers them personalized coaching, the requested training and a follow-up during the first year after their business is launched.
Microenterprises are an effective tool for the economic development and professional integration of people from distinct cultural backgrounds. Personalized support is provided to each beneficiary during the key steps of his/her project: business plan, communication and marketing, test phases and launch. Generic training modules (administrative and legal procedures, technical standards, etc.) are given in groups in collaboration with external experts and in partnership with the Chambre vaudoise du commerce et d'industrie (CVCI – Trade and Industry Chamber of the Canton de Vaud).
Alter-Start began in October 2017 in partnership with the Etablissement Vaudois d'Accueil des Migrants (EVAM – public institution dealing with the hosting of migrants). At present, some fifteen project holders benefit from the services offered by the program. Coaching sessions take place every week in the premises of EVAM; 14 volunteers, whose professional background is closely linked to the world of business management, are currently collaborating as coaches with Alter-Start.
Project holders are aged between 25 and 50 years; they come from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, Irak, Iran, Sub-Saharan Africa and Morocco. They hold an F permit, and all have at least a B2 level in French. Their projects are manifold: beauty, hairdressing, catering, food home delivery for elderly people, 24/24 food store, tailoring, caretaker, foodtruck.