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An organization in Finland called Startup Refugees is working to create new opportunities for refugees and native-born Finns, according to an article in Fast Company this month. Describing immigration as "brain

gain," the project director seeks to combine the human capital of refugees with "crazy Finnish entrepreneurship." In a country where jobs are scarce, even for native-born populations, welcoming 30,000 new refugees in 2015 has meant adding to an already significant unemployment rate. "Welcome. We don't have jobs. Let's create them together," says a sign in one of Finland's immigrant reception centers.

Immigrants and refugees bring much-needed vitality, skills, and perspectives to entrepreneurship here in the United States. According to the American Immigration Council, nearly one in ten business owners in Colorado are immigrants, and their businesses netted 1.2 billion in 2010--over seven percent of state business income as a whole.

The United Nations has recognized the importance of businesses in creating future success for immigrants and refugees. Their Business Action Pledge in Response to the Refugee Crisis calls on businesses worldwide to address the refugee crisis through employment, philanthropy, and advocacy.

Here in Colorado, organizations such as the African Community Center help refugees to tap their own ingenuity and resilience to reach their goals.

Visit the Denver Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to learn more about what's happening in your community. Check out DPL's Immigrant Resource Guide to learn more about refugee services in Denver and other resources for migrants. And check out our Plaza Voices blog posts for more immigrant stories and great book, movie, and music recommendations.

Plazas are an open community space where immigrants from all over the world connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s global community. Come to practice a language, prepare for citizenship, pursue your goals, and create your future. Whatever you’re doing, we can help! To find a Plaza program near you, please see our events calendar.