The Baltic Sea Initiative for the Development of Business Activity of Refugee Women

The Resilient Spirit of Refugee Women in Norway

19 March 2024
The BSI_4Women project survey results highlight that refugee women in Norway, primarily of Ukrainian descent, are proactively seeking to enhance their language and business skills, with many utilizing online training and expressing a need for increased knowledge in start-up financing. These women, supported by a strong network of local authorities, NGOs, and initiatives like Innovation Norway and Refugee Women and Enterprise, are contributing significantly to the Norwegian labor market.
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The Resilient Spirit of Refugee Women in Norway

Integration and Entrepreneurship

In the heart of Norway, a remarkable story of resilience and determination is unfolding as refugee women, mainly from Ukraine, cope with the challenges of starting their lives over again. A recent study throws light on their journey, revealing a group of skilled, adaptable and enterprising individuals who are not only rebuilding their life, but also enriching Norwegian society with their diverse knowledge.

Support Systems and Resources

The Norwegian landscape offers a strong support system for these women, with local authorities, NGOs, and government initiatives providing comprehensive assistance. Organizations such as Innovation Norway and Refugee Women andEnterprise (RWE) play a key role, offering specialized training, mentoring and support tailored to the unique needs of refugee entrepreneurs. These resources play a key role in helping women with business planning, financial management, marketing or securing funding for their ventures.

Online Learning and Employment Trends

To reflect a global trend, 19% of refugee women in Norway consider online training, courses and group workshops to be a highly effective way of acquiring new skills. This preference highlights the importance of digital platforms in facilitating continuous learning and professional development. While most of these women are actively looking for work, others are involved in language integration courses or are on parental leave. A smaller but significant number are already entrepreneurs or are employed, contributing to the Norwegian job market.

Skill Development and Entrepreneurial Aspirations

The survey highlights the urgent need for increased knowledge of start-up financing among refugee women, with a significant proportion seeking to improve their knowledge of this key aspect of entrepreneurship. There is an equally strong demand for industry-specific language courses and workshops on business start-ups and financial management, indicating a proactive approach to overcoming barriers and seizing opportunities.

Diverse Expertise and Professional Backgrounds

Refugee women in Norway bring a wealth of professional knowledge spanning IT development, accounting, podiatry, legal scholarship, and more. Their diverse backgrounds include experience in hotel management, graphic design, health services, and even niche markets like grooming exhibition dog breeds. These competencies, coupled with traits such as creativity, patience, motivation, and leadership, make them well-suited for entrepreneurial endeavors.

What is the typical refugee woman in Norway based on our survey?

The typical refugee woman in Norway is likely to be of Ukrainian origin, as Ukrainian women made up the largest group of refugees in Norway in 2023, with a population of 33,000. She is part of a well-supported community, benefiting from a robust support system provided by local authorities, NGOs, and government initiatives. This system is designed to aid her integration into Norwegian society through language training, employment assistance, and social support services, including education, healthcare, and counseling.

Her skill set is diverse and valuable, encompassing professional knowledge in fields such as IT development, accounting, podiatry, legal scholarship, management, childcare, culinary arts, public administration, law, healthcare, marketing, and sports. She is characterized by her resilience, adaptability, and a range of competencies that make her well-suited for entrepreneurial endeavors. Traits such as purposefulness, creativity, patience, stability, motivation, empathy, courage, and leadership are common among these women, along with practical organizational and problem-solving abilities.

In terms of professional experience, she may have been involved in various businesses, including hotel management, graphic design, media, health and aesthetics services, or managing a private medical practice. She might have also run a business related to grooming exhibition dog breeds or operated a massage parlor.

If she is interested in starting or has already started a business in Norway, she has access to resources such as Innovation Norway and Refugee Women and Enterprise (RWE), which offer training, mentoring, and support specifically tailored to her needs as a refugee entrepreneur. These organizations can assist her with counseling, business planning, financial management, marketing, sales, and obtaining funding for business development.

The typical refugee woman in Norway is not only rebuilding her life in a new country but is also contributing to the development of Norway with her diverse expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. Despite the challenges of cultural adjustment and employment barriers, she is equipped with the skills, support, and determination to succeed in her new environment.