The Entrepreneurship Support Program for Refugee Empowerment (ESPRE) delivered the first loan to an entrepreneur with a refugee background- exporting used vehicles from Japan to his business branch in Africa. Interviews and assessments consistently demonstrated his commitment and potential.
October 31st 2012 is a proud day for ESPRE. ESPRE supports the entrepreneur by providing the loan as well as technical assistance. Meanwhile, ESPRE will continue to provide opportunities for other applicants of the program, as ESPRE strives to meet its goals.
1. About the entrepreneur*
The entrepreneur is a refugee born in Pakistan. He has studied a master in business in Europe and then moved to Japan. He worked some years as part-time and then opened an Indian restaurant. The restaurant changed its business to catering service when the financial crisis hit the economy affecting the restaurant’s sale. He didn’t give up on himself and found another opportunity to export vehicles from Japan. He now actively operates it and expands deals in Mozambique.
*Security and confidentiality are fundamental to the protection of refugees. Therefore, ESPRE will limit the amount of detail it provides to protect the identity of the entrepreneur and his business.
2. ESPRE’s Process
The entrepreneur applied to the program in June 2012 when ESPRE announced the launch of its application procedure. The procedure aims to build a supportive relationship between ESPRE and applicants. ESPRE staff advises on the enterprise and its financial scheme. ESPRE approved of the selected business proposal was compelling and the applicant put in the effort throughout the process and the entrepreneur also demonstrated a need. The loan committee reviewed his financial report and conducted interviews before approving the proposal for an ESPRE micro-credit loan.
3. What Next?
ESPRE will provide ongoing support to the entrepreneur including technical assistance and business counseling. ESPRE is hoping for his success. Other loan deliveries are to be announced, as ESPRE continues to raise awareness that the refugees do not have to lean on the Japanese society for support but can bring valuable potential in.
Originally proposed and established by an NPO, the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), which provides comprehensive support to refugees in Japan, the Entrepreneur Support Program for Refugee Empowerment (ESPRE) is a Non Profit Organization that supports refugee entrepreneurs with microfinance funding and business assistance. On March 1st, the Japanese government approved ESPRE to engage in microfinance operation for refugees. ESPRE believes that refugee entrepreneurship will spur Japanese society with energy and a venture spirit: providing culturally unique goods and services, increasing employment opportunities to others, and building strong networks among communities.