In the News / October 2016

Private sector reaches out to serve refugees in Germany

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European Homecare, a German, family-established business, is the largest provider of accommodation for refugees in the country, assisting about 15,000 asylum seekers. The German government pays European Homecare to provide asylum seekers with housing, food, medical care, and other services such as language courses.

The system should benefit everyone involved: German taxpayers pay less because the government saves money by partnering with the private sector, European Homecare makes a profit, and asylum seekers are provided excellent care.

However, for-profit companies must be careful as their involvement could be seen as a way to profit off of crisis. “It’s a sensitive topic because any time a for-profit entity is involved you have to be very careful that you’re not seen as profiteering. But at the same time the private sector can be more efficient,” says Scott Wu, chairman of the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Wu has visited several refugee camps and worked as a consultant for USAID. He points out that the UN estimates 60 million displaced people, and that the average time in a refugee camp is over 15 years. For entrepreneurs looking to serve the underprivileged, there is a huge market.

Since the spring of 2015, between 150 and 200 companies have emerged to assist the refugee and asylum seeker populations in Germany. “It’s my belief that the private sector will have to be involved because the refugee crisis is too large a problem for governments … to handle on their own,” says Wu.

Read the full article in the Financial Times here.

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