Culture, Heritage and Diversity


DELI: Cities maximising benefits of diverse end inclusive entrepreneurship


Launched in January 2014, the project DELI focuses on two important issues for the European society and economy: migrants and entrepreneurship. While it is recognised that the entrepreneurship is essential to economic growth and innovation, the impact of migrants on European economy remains the issue subject to many misconceptions and doubts. Nevertheless, migrants and people from ethnic minorities represent an important pool of entrepreneurs in Europe. At present there are roughly 24 million non-nationals living in the countries of the European Union, many of them from ethnic minority populations. Their businesses - mainly small and micro enterprises - play an important role in the European society and in particular in urban areas.


In fact, cities have a critical role to play in driving transition to effective policy planning that takes due account of the population diversity and the benefits provided by diversity (Diversity advantage). Many cities that have already engaged in the positive management of diversity are exploring new approaches to enhance the contribution of migrants to local economies and to make the entrepreneurship more accessible for all. Exploring these new approaches demands the consideration of interacting factors at multiple scales, both socio-cultural and economic, and requires a multi-disciplinary assessment of information and integrated policy making that can provide for optimisation of relationships between migrants and the host societies.


Statistics from several European countries indicate that proportionately more migrants and members of ethnic minorities than nationals start small businesses. At the same time migrants – more than nationals - face legal and socioeconomic difficulties in accessing the mainstream economy. Despite higher business creation rates than the rest of the population, migrants fail more due to a lack of information, knowledge and language skills (OECD report 2010). Furthermore, support measures for SMEs remain unbalanced, with a substantial number of EU countries still failing to take into account the characteristics of migrant-owned businesses, when designing policies and laws. Moreover, often these businesses experience structural barriers in becoming suppliers for mainstream businesses. The challenge for public authorities is to create an environment that actively encourages the development of migrant entrepreneurship and supports their inclusion into local economies.


The DELI partners share a common concern to open up the entrepreneurship to migrants and make support systems work better. With the rights conditions and policies, the DELI partners believe migrants have the potential to unleash the economic creativity and energy and to help local economies flourish and grow.


The project DELI was launched officially on 4-5 March 2014 in Brussels. It aims at fostering more efficient local policies in support of migrant-owned SMEs and migrant entrepreneurship as part of wider diversity and inclusion policies. More specifically, it will focus at:

Creating awareness about diversity and equality issues in economic policies and stratgies by providing fora for multidepartment cooperation and public-private dialogue;

Developing quality standards for supporting entrepreneurship and promoting “supplier diversity” approach in procurement;

Assisting cities in meeting those standards by self-assessment, setting targets, exchange of good practice and benchmarking.


DELI is a joint project of the Council of Europe and the European Commission and is carried out in co-operation with the Migration Policy Group. The ten partner cities are Bucharest, Cartagena, Dublin, Getxo, Lisbon, London Lewisham, Munich, Reggio Emilia, Rotterdam, and Vienna”.


For more information, please contact:

Lilia Kolombet

CoE Project Manager

+33 390 21 53 85

+32 22 35 05 05 (Brussels)