Throughout SPARK’s annual IGNITE conference at Muziekgebow in 2018, attendees will have noticed a huge sheet of paper errected against the glass overlooking Amsterdam’s IJ river. As the day went on, the paper started to fill up with penned illustrations, slowly being added to by a group of talented artists: Ink Strategy.

The aim of the visualisation was to capture the ‘new stories’ and narratives told during the conference, including successes from fragile and conflict affectes states, as well as challenges faced and available opportunities for students and entrepeneurs

What you’re looking at

From left:

  1. The first story featured in the bottom left corner is the Ugandan story that Prof. Alexander Betts shared in his keynote address. Uganda offers refugees the freedom to move and the right to work. Could this be the new refugee model?
  2. Above this you can see the winning entrepreneur of the Startup Roadshow by SPARK and Jusoor. The business idea, Shiffer, started with a problem – delivering documents across borders – and came up with a solution by creating a mobile delivery app.
  3. On the top left you can see the visualisation of the business of Raneem Faisal who co-founded a textile manufacturing company in Jordan, called Teenah, which employs rural Syrian and Jordanian women. The women have the chance to earn their own money and get further educated to reach their own dreams.
  4. The visualisation of peace was developed by Marcel Smits, Director of Institute for Economics & Peace in The Hague, who presented the institute’s latest research into the key factors that influence and facilitate peaceful environments.
  5. To the right, in the middle, are various quotes from attendees of IGNITE on what young people in fragile regions need to rebuild their countries: “Surrender to defeat in order to be successful”,  “Rebuilding trust”, “Realise we are all human”.
  6. In the bottom right corner, the story of Ayham Maksoud, the Syrian Founder of a steel construction company, is depicted. He was forced to relocate his business three times, from Syria to Libya then to Turkey, as a result of various crises, demonstrating the resilience required to be a refugee entrepreneur.

 

Illustrations from workshops
The visualisers were also present in four key workshops, facilitating and documenting the discussions taking place and putting pen to paper. 

What Businesses Can Do to Support Refugees

The workshop focused on businesses, NGO’s and financiers and the many things each stakeholder can do to support refugees. Giving refugees the opportunitity to meaningfully contribute to their host society is one of the most important issues. The visual shows best practices, such as building real partnerships between businesses and NGOs, building on existing skills by companies to involve refugees and mentoring talent.  

Reconstructing Syria with Vocational Education

The left part of the visual illustrates the collaboration between NGOs such as SPARK with universities, in this case in Turkey, as well as language qualifications, such as TOMER. In the middle the conclusion of the interactive discussion with the audience is depicted, including the main challenges, solutions and practical next steps for reconstructing Syria with vocational education. The right part is the “Master Plan” that attendees developed, 3 practical steps for how vocational education can lead to rebuilding in 2019.

New Stories: Syrian Entrepreneurs Outside Syria

The workshop identified potential hurdles for Syrian entrepreneurs doing business in host countries. The visual shows solutions to these issues, which include documentation issues, business education and access to finance. A digital ID, for example, can help refugees who have lost their identity papers, networking events help to build business education and backing by incubator experts helps with credibility and thus access to finance.

Bridging the Gap: Graduation to EmploymentThis workshop focused on the path of refugees from higher (vocational) education to finding their place in the labour market, either through employment or entrepreneurship. In the visual you can follow the road from graduation on the left to employment to the right. You can see on the bridge how people get supported on their way to their place in economy but also how people take short cuts by developing, for example, their own IT solutions and become entrepreneurs.

Read more about the workshops during IGNITE 2018 in the report

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