Dishing Up DELI: Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration

September 30th, 2014

DELI_Supplier-diversity-logoImmigrant entrepreneurs have always played a key role in global trade and the economic success of host countries. Governments and organizations across the world are paying renewed attention to this very element as means towards economic integration of newcomers.

Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration (DELI) is one such effort co-funded by the Council of Europe and the European Integration Fund. It aims to foster more efficient local policies in support of immigrant-owned Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and immigrant entrepreneurship as part of wider diversity and inclusion policies.

The project is based on a partnership network of 10 cities, working towards systemic change in the economic integration of migrants and reducing gaps in access to rights. Vienna’s Mingo business counselling service and Munich’s Phoenix Prize are part of this  promising strategy to incubate entrepreneurial success and long-term urban prosperity.

In Vienna, Mingo identified language as a critical tool to address the unique needs of immigrant entrepreneurs. The Vienna Business Agency adopted the “Let’s talk business in your mother tongue” model after earlier outreach failed to attract those with an immigrant background.  Mingo Migrant Enterprises was launched to deliver services in the language of the migrants when needed.

Since 2010, Munich has handed out the Phoenix Prize annually to three winners who exemplify “outstanding economic achievements and social responsibility efforts of migrant enterprises.” Their stories are seen as part of the city of Munich’s overall success.

The DELI project will also address the under-appreciated potential of procurement and supplier diversity policies to promote greater economic inclusion in awarding contracts.  Municipal governments have an enormous economic imprint; cities are not only major employers but also major buyers and sellers of services in the local and regional economy. In Europe, for example, London and Copenhagen have taken an early lead to meet these goals.

In its build-up for the 2012 Olympics, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) had a mandate that included working with the Greater London Authority to ensure the city stood by its commitments to diversity by making the process of getting involved fair and open to all Londoners.

The LOCOG Diversity and Inclusion Strategy emphasized that diversity and inclusion must be “an intrinsic part of business life” to create a work culture where everyone feels welcome and respected. The LOCOG strategy incorporated these values into all aspects of its day-to-day business activities – from recruitment to communication, decision-making and procurement.

As the country’s largest employer, Copenhagen has a long tradition of working closely with employers and unions on job creation. When developing its first Integration Policy in 2006, it aimed for  a positive approach to diversity that was consistent with the city’s  leadership on good recruitment and management practices in its own offices. That included a proactive procurement policy that instituted the insertion of mandatory “social clauses” in any municipal contract with suppliers of goods and service.

About DELI

DELI is part of the living together in diversity action strand of the Council of Europe and builds upon the knowledge base developed in the framework of the joint CoE/EU programme Intercultural Cities, as well as the projects INTI-Cities, DIVE and Supplier Diversity – developed by Migration Policy Group. Both the Council of Europe and Migration Policy Group share the responsibilities of the overall coordination and implementation of the project.For more information on the DELI project, visit the Diversity in the Economy and Integration (DELI) website.

Join us in Milan at the 2014 International Metropolis Conference

Join DELI and Cities of Migration in Milan at the upcoming Metropolis Conference for the workshop, “Lessons from Local Leaders: Migration Policy Development at the Municipal Level,” November 4, 2014 Co-facilitated by the Center for Mediterranean Integration, the World Bank, and the Cities of Migration project, a panel of experts and municipal leaders will review existing municipal policy interventions, evaluate their impacts, and propose an initial set of policy recommendations for local governance of migrant integration and inclusion. Our guest speakers include Kameran Shwani, Program Manager for DELI (Migrant Enterprises),  Dept. of Labor and Economic Development, with the City of Munich, home of the city’s Phoenix Prize.

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