Because of the civil war in Syria, started in 2011, 4.8 million Syrians have been displaced and 2.7 million of them have settled in Turkey. After this mass migration movement, 3 percent of the Turkish population now consists of Syrian refugees. As the war continued, the Turkish government changed its migration policies in order to produce long-term solutions for the situation, and Syrian refugees who took refuge in Turkey were given temporary protection status. In the framework of this policy, Syrians who hold temporary protection status are given the right to apply for a work permit. After this development, Habitat came together with UNHCR and created the IMECE Project, which aims at sustaining the economic development of Syrian refugees and enabling them to integrate in the Turkish economy, so that the Turkish economy can also benefit from the Syrian workforce.
The IMECE Project aims at reaching, among Syrian and Turkish citizens, entrepreneurs or aspirant entrepreneurs who want to contribute to the growth of Turkey, as well as evaluating the economic resources that Syrian refugees brought to Turkey for a common future. Concerning the scope of the project, it will be implemented in 14 different cities (Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir, Kilis, Ankara, Konya, Kayseri, Adana, Mersin, Adiyaman, Gaziantep, Hatay, Mardin, Sanliurfa) and it will target 4 different groups of beneficiaries. The first group, called “future workforce”, consists of young people between 15 and 24 who will be encouraged to develop their entrepreneurial skills with trainings concerning technology, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
The second group includes individuals between the ages of 18 and 40, who have little or no work experience in the Turkish market; the activities targeted to them are aimed at supporting the processes of developing technology, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, law and ideas in order to create new and official job and employment environments. The third group incorporates individuals who have already established their own business but have not been involved in the registered economy and aspire to develop their business capacities further. The fourth group includes registered business owners, and the activities targeted to them are aimed at enlarging their existing businesses and supporting their sustainability.