Refugees can certainly look like risky business propositions. Of the eventual recipients of EIF microfinance funding, half of those who started their own company were unemployed before they received the loan. But when they get the finance they need, refugees enrich their new community by creating jobs and adding cultural diversity. Take Vardan Babayan, who successfully brought Armenian cuisine to a place where food is taken rather seriously – the Tuscan city of Florence.
Babayan fled Armenia during a period of internal strife. He bounced from Russia, to Ukraine, and to Austria, before he reached Italy in 2012. Rejected by local banks and unemployed for a year in Florence, he finally found PerMicro, a microcredit company that was founded in Turin and now operates across Italy. Branch manager Francesca di Giuseppe gave Babayan a loan of EUR 25,000, which he used to create Ararat Le Bracerie, a bio-grill café selling traditional Armenian foods. “It was my chance to open a little corner of Armenia in Italy and to feel at home,” says Babayan. “I had no other option. I had no Plan B.”Type of business: Grill-café
For further information about EIF intermediaries in Italy, please refer to: