Start-Ups Without Borders: Showcasing refugee and migrant entrepreneurship

SWB Logo

Start-Ups Without Borders, SWB for short, is an organization founded by Valentina Primo, an Italian journalist-turned-entrepreneur, who wishes to fundamentally reshape the narrative surrounding refugees by including them in the start-up ecosystem. Valentina moved to Egypt almost a decade ago and started reporting on positive stories of Egyptian innovation. Working for Cairo Scene and Start Up Scene ME, she realized the incredible yet hidden potential refugee entrepreneurs had. From that point on, she embarked on a quest: connecting refugee and migrant entrepreneurs with relevant business opportunities, resources and network. That unrelentless quest led to the birth of SWB.

Valentina Primo, SWB’s founder.

SWB’s main mission is to help refugees and migrant entrepreneurs with any challenges they may face. For example, refugees often face legal obstacles when trying to set up businesses in their host countries: SWB helps them partner with local founders as a way to overcome those legal barriers. SWB also has a broader mission: showcasing refugee talent to the world in an effort to break damaging and victimizing stereotypes. To do so, SWB has been producing inspiring, uplifting and helpful content surrounding refugee entrepreneurship.

I’m going to create so much content that no one is going to be able to ignore refugee entrepreneurs. — Valentina Primo in an interview to Start-Up Scene ME

SWB’s content is conscise, well produced and shines a positive lights on a community often shunned by traditional media. SWB produces a wide range of great content such as:

  • Articles: Their articles cover a wide range of topics, and are generally divided into news or opportunities. News stories generally talk about incredible success stories, such as the app Mygrants (a micro-learning platform) raising a $300,000 investment round. On the other hand, their opportunities highlight exciting upcoming events, such as a Woman’s Right Hackathon in Iraq.
  • Podcasts: The SWB podcast, hosted by Valentina, appeals to a broader, start-up oriented public, making it valuable for anyone in the start-up world, refugee or otherwise. Guests on the podcast cover crucial business topics such diversity in the start-up ecosystem, impact investment, or how to build a leading website.

SWB also got creative during the Covid-19 pandemic by hosting so-called “quarantine sessions”, aimed at helping businesses navigate this complicated period.

The fantastic content SWB produces is complemented by their flagship initiatives: events.

SWB held a fantastic Summit in 2019. The events are really the epitome of all of SWB’s hard work. The summits include incredible panels, opportunities for entrepreneurs to pitch to investors, and the atmosphere is one that helps to kickstart one’s venture.

SWB didn’t let the pandemic hinder their 2020 summit plans. Instead, they use the opportunity to make an even bigger, better, more impactful summit. The 2020 summit, aplty named “Brave New World”, offered its participants a range of activities such as an IT clinic, an influencer workshop with Facebook, top notch speakers, gamified network, and an investor room. They used online tools to their advantage, with virtual stages live from Amsterdam, San Francisco and Cairo. Click here to check out a recap of the event.

Get in touch

SWB is continously innovating, offering even better content and organizing better events. They are also launching “The Directory”, “a platform for business angels and investors to access an incredible pool of high-potential migrant and refugee-led startups, while offering entrepreneurs exclusive resources and access to opportunities.”.

If you want early access to the BETA, sign up here as an entrepreneur and here as an investor.

Follow SWB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube and check out their website.

Who are we?

GrowHome is a platform connecting diasporas to entrepreneurs back home. We enable diasporas to use their network, professional skills and financial resources to mentor, collaborate and fund entrepreneurs making real change back home.

We are launching our BETA product in Jordan and Palestine, early 2021.

To get updated on our progress, follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube.

Listen to the GrowHome podcast on Spotify, in which our founder Marwan Abdelhamid interviews successful and impactful Arabs in the diaspora and locally.

A start-up connecting diasporas to entrepreneurs back home. Sign up as either a diaspora or an entrepreneur at