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Our entrepreneurship work with migrants

Rising youth unemployment is an indicator of the impact of unemployment rates for migrants.

In January 2019, the Australian Government identified that the unemployment rate for migrants who have arrived in the past 5 years is consistently high with almost 10 percent of people from 'Other than Main English Speaking Countries' unemployed annually. For migrants from 'Main English Speaking Countries,' the unemployment rate is approximately 5%.

And yet, many migrants have experience of small business ownership in their country of origin or countries through which they have passed on their way to Australia.​

Reasons for higher unemployment rates for migrant are varied and include:

  • English proficiency

  • access to networks which open informal employment opportunities

  • relevant work experience

  • relevant Australian work experience

  • skill and education levels

  • job application and job interview discrimination

  • workplace discrimination leading to short -term employment experience

  • recency of arrival - unemployment reduces the longer a migrant has been in Australia

But unemployment does not need to be an issue for migrants.

If the third 'E' - entrepreneurship - is added to the pillars of Education, Employment and Training, a lot of these issues would be alleviated.

To run a business, a migrant does not need to have:

  • English proficiency if the business is based on customers from that language community

  • relevant Australian work experience

  • skills or educational levels required by an employer


  • could use previous skills and experience

  • would not experience workplace/job interview discrimination

  • may be in a position to employ family or other local people

  • would not receive unemployment benefits

  • could use existing diaspora networks to export goods and services around the world

  • would contribute to the local social and economic development of a community

Business ownership for migrants as a legitimate post-arrival life outcome makes sense to the development of the Australian society and economy.

Book a free 30 min migrant entrepreneurship discussion
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Hear from Cultov8 participants about the difference learning the skills of entrepreneurship has made to them.

Cultov8 is the abbreviation for intercultural innovation, a program with social and economic impact.


Social impact as a result of people from diverse cultural and faith backgrounds meetings, sharing experiences, understanding each other's history, beliefs and practices and working together to create innovation leads to economic outcomes for themselves and their local communities.

Funded by LaunchVic, Cultov8 drives migrants into the startup ecosystem in Victoria with a particular focus on creating female entrepreneurs.

Cultov8 is a blended learning program of:

  • two day business startup events

  • 12 week pre-accelerator programs

Each of these events are managed by facilitators who have experience in building a business and a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The mix of experience and theory is critical to successful outcomes for participants.


Assisting us with Business Startup Weekends, our 'Support Crew' of young people aged under 30 bring a wealth of experience in building their own businesses in game, web and app development, multimedia, digital media and design and provide support to participants at each of the events.

Over the past two years, Cultov8 has:

  • had almost 500 migrant business registrations

  • worked extensively with 247 migrant business owners from 64 countries 

  • assisted 63 migrant-owned businesses in pre-accelerator programs

  • provided more than $75,000 in seed grants to establish or grow businesses

  • supported participants with onsite trauma counsellors

  • partnered with 44 not-for-profits and local governments

  • delivered programs across 15 Victorian metropolitan and regional locations.

To see the stories of some of the people we've worked with and the awesome progress of some of Getting Down to Business and Cultov8 participants' businesses, take a look at the Business building page. 

To find out more about the success and learnings for migrant entrepreneurship, you can download the Cultov8 report.

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Cultov8 was made possible with funding from LaunchVic

Download report

Click here to download

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