ARhus Café, Friday November 22nd, 11:00 AM
On Thursday November 22nd it is ‘The Day of the Entrepreneur’ in Belgium. On this day ARhus Café will receive a statue that is part of the broader art exhibition “Floating Dreams”, previously exhibited in the Yser Tower in Diksmuide, Belgium. Within the SIREE Project ARhus is one of the project partners that allocates a mentor to starting entrepreneurs with a migration background. ‘The piece or art ARhus received is a statue of a girl that refers to the conflict in Syria. The backpack she is wearing symbolizes a traumatic past, the balloon she is holding represent the dreams that empower her to believe in her future. Therefore, the statue also symbolizes the support we want to give as a municipality, so these dreams can be realized", according to Kris Declerq, Mayor of Roeselare.
For many, starting your own business in a country you are new to is an example of such a dream, but realizing this is not always self-evident. Therefore, ARhus allocates mentors to newcomers that wish to become business owners. “As an educational institution ARhus focusses on literacy in all its forms. A great example of this is the SIREE-project. SIREE stands for Social Integration of Refugees through Education and Self-Employment", says Yves Rosseel, ARhus’ managing director.
One of these entrepreneurial mentors is Reinout Van Zandycke, manager at marketing agency Exposure. He mentors Adelia Kodia, originally from Angola. She just started her own business. Reinout himself became an entrepreneur while he was still a student and has experienced first hand how useful advice can be in the starting up phase of a company. “I am quite jealous of the new entrepreneurs that receive guidance from SIREE. I would have loved an opportunity like this, when I started I didn’t even know what a VAT identification number was. I had to find it out myself. Having a mentor that helps you with that probably saves you hours of work. By the way, I get a lot of energy to work with newcomer entrepreneurs like Adelia. She uses my advice in such a practical sense. I am convinced that Adelia and others within SIREE will get very far.“
Adelia tells us about her business. “In 2013 I started watching Youtube video’s of girls that make hairpieces. I was interested in doing this myself and in 2017 I started to make them myself.” Adelia worked very hard to start her own company Hair By Londa, and the help of Reinout and SIREE contributed to her success. “With my new collection I want to show that hairpieces are not only for cancer patients or people from other cultures. Everyone can wear wigs, and for any reason. Besides that, I want to show how much variation is out there.”
ARhus is also involved in monitoring and supporting the integration of younger migrants, particularly in schools. Currently, a collaboration has been initiated that brings together students, parents and teachers so potential obstacles can be identified and ways to react to them can be suggested.
Are you a passionate entrepreneur and would you like to share your knowledge? Become a mentor and help newcomer entrepreneurs! Or are you new to Belgium and do you want to start your own business? Mail to: email@example.com
For more information about ARhus, visit: www.arhus.be/siree
For more information about the art exhibition Floating Dreams, visit: www.floatingdreams.be