Refugees@work is a network, a working group and a sharing space bringing together private companies and public institutions. The initiative promotes social innovation to facilitate the integration of refugees into the world of work in French-speaking Switzerland.
Refugees@work also coordinates communication campaigns through which the network makes available to companies, associations and public institutions the information necessary to facilitate the involvement of refugees.
The first edition of the hackathon, in 2018, came from an idea of SDG Solution Space students. It brought together more than 100 people from various backgrounds (refugees, students, associations, international organizations, private companies, public institutions, etc.) around 7 challenges.
The aim of the event was to promote the emergence of innovative practices in the field of professional integration of refugees, while encouraging dialogue between private and public actors. The partners of this edition were: Academic Horizon, the BIE (Bureau for the Integration of Foreigners) and the Alliance4Youth (Nestlé, Ernst & Young and Firmenich). The afterhack, three months later, gave the most promising projects the opportunity to present their ideas. The organisation Vivre Ensemble was able to put into practice its project, which was conceived during the hackathon.
For the second edition of the hackathon, the number of places was limited to about 60, while maintaining a wide diversity of people active in the relevant fields. This year, registration was open to everyone, which encouraged a surge of innovation during the idea development phase. The limited number of people allowed the teams to work more serenely and to benefit from better coaching for the social business plan or the pitch.
During the afterhack, the 5 teams chosen by Refugees@work were able to present their project to a jury composed of the following members: Abdallah Chatila (President, Sesam Foundation), Bettina Ferdman (Head of Development, FIDES Foundation), Céline Carrère (Future Director in charge of Interdisciplinarity and Governance of Interfaculty Centers, UNIGE), Laurence Briola (Head of NRCC, Nestlé) and Nicolas Roguet (Delegate for Integration of the Canton of Geneva). The association Flag21 was designated as having the most promising project.