The Desire for Independence


Faced with great difficulty in finding work, refugees often have no choice but to start their own business. A blessing in disguise for people accustomed to getting by, who nevertheless have to navigate the intricacies of the Luxembourg administration and the demands of the banks. The Touchpoints association comes to their aid.


About 200 people a year walk through the doors of Touchpoints for information. This results in between 10 and 15 business creations each year. The non-profit association stands out from the incubators which are already legion in the country, its objective is quite different: "We do not aim to coach entrepreneurs with strategic support for their project. Our goal is to inform as much as possible about the administrative vagaries,

on the documents that are requested, the steps to be taken. In general, these people know their job, it is what they did in their country of origin. They don't need any help there. But we take a lot of time to orient on the basics of business creation, we have a lot of experience with exceptional cases, ”explains Fabienne Colling, the director of Touchpoint ASBL.


It accompanies refugees and people from third countries so that they can start their own business because "it is often due to a lack of alternatives on the labour market, or because they don't see the prospect of growth" that entrepreneurship is opening up to them, says Ms. Colling. Language problems, lack of recognition of diplomas and skills, these people are generally lost.


A grocery store, like in Syria with his father


Assad Halabe is behind the counter of his grocery store, rue de Bonnevoie in Luxembourg, he is filling bags with pine nuts, with his two employees. He arrived in Luxembourg in 2016 from Aleppo, after a long journey through the Middle East and Europe, when he was 26 years old. He quickly obtains his refugee status, but on the job side, the difficulties accumulate. Assad multiplies the odd jobs but he quickly wants to have his groceries, as was the case in Syria with his father: "I left with nothing, I could not stay and be enrolled in the army, I had to leave “, explains the young man who speaks in almost impeccable French. Languages, a prerequisite before tackling the Luxembourg labour market: "I had a point of contact at Touchpoints who spoke Arabic, that helped me a lot. Even before finding a job, he advised me to learn French,” Assad said.


Assad Halabe runs his neighbourhood grocery store in Bonnevoie, Family Market.


"Becoming independent means taking into account that half of the time will be devoted to administration, which is quite heavy," says Fabienne Colling. The latter testifies that she usually deals with people who are quite resourceful and who know how to adapt to different environments. “The risk for these people is first and foremost an administrative error. Our goal is to strengthen their skills in this area. »


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