The Capacity Launch & Boost entrepreneurship programmes, as well as our Storytelling Module, are supported by a multi-stakeholder engagement across sectors (public, private, non-profit and start-up). Capacity empowers entrepreneurs to develop their ideas through self-sustaining, collaborative frameworks, rather than to reinforce any form of dependency.
Capacity Launch – March to June
All you need is to have one idea that you are committed to developing! Capacity Launch is a start-up ideation programme to move from having an idea to launching it. The programme ends with a public Pop-Up Fair as a graduation celebration. The programme curriculum includes:
- Strong focus on personal and skill-based development
- Ideation, effectuation and Lean Startup
- Key Swiss business skills
- Prototyping and testing
- Storytelling and personal branding
Capacity Boost – September to November
Start-up incubator programme to move from market entry to sustainable business. This programme is in German and English and is free-of-charge for entrepreneurs as it is fully subsidised by The Human Safety Net.
The programme curriculum includes:
- Strong focus on developing a business plan
- Accounting and budgeting
- Advanced business law
- Product cycles and key partners
- Pricing, negotiation and customer relationships
- Marketing: Branding, communication, and networking
Storytelling Module – All year
This module is a training and coaching module that uses the impact of personal stories to change individual and societal attitudes towards migration. It also offers participants the opportunity to use their experiences with migration, as well as their skills as newcomers in their new society, to improve their business and project management, and to strengthen their self-confidence and engagement in local communities. Storytelling:
- is central to strengthen mental models and social beliefs and practices that guide individual decision-making and behaviour
- serves as an essential tool for bringing about personal and professional transformations
- challenges assumptions and prejudices about refugees and migrants and changes the narratives about stigmatised groups and segments of identity
- allows practising and improving business pitches for entrepreneurs
- uses improvisational theatre to tell personal and professional experiences as stories that go beyond simple events and are attractive to different target groups
The Capacity entrepreneurship programmes are aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and ‘wannapreneurs’ with a migration or refugee background to set up their own business or social/cultural project in Switzerland.
The flagship entrepreneurship programme started because we identified a need to support individuals in creating opportunities for themselves, as many migrants and refugees in Switzerland face considerable hurdles in entering the job market, and many bring creative ideas and lots of energy to developing their own business or project. We want to support this liveliness, and ensure that everyone fulfils their full personal and professional potential.
We are currently based in Zurich and accept participants from the greater Zurich area. If you live outside of the greater Zurich area and would like to participate, please note that we are not able to cover any transport or accommodation costs you may have as a result of the programme.
If you come from outside the greater Zurich area and would like to bring the Capacity programme to your city/canton, please contact us as we’d love to offer our programme more widely.
We ask our participants to contribute a 150chf deposit for the duration of the programme (50chf if you receive social benefits). This is returned to the participants at the end of the programme, or the participant can choose to donate it to the programme to support future participants if they wish.
Our programmes take place in English and German. We expect all our participants to have basic German and either English or German to a high standard (B1-B2 Level). Workshops, co-working sessions and events are primarily in German, with English translation. Mentoring takes place in whatever language the mentor and the mentee agree on.
At Capacity, we focus on supporting individuals to achieve their full personal and professional potential through entrepreneurship. Through the entrepreneurship programme, we provide each participant with a mentor who will help them to understand the basic concepts around Lean Start-Up Methods.
Our mentors are individuals with experience in Swiss businesses or start-ups contexts, often both in Switzerland and internationally, and with local networks that they will use to support their mentees.
Typically, a mentor will support a mentee on the following fronts:
- Ideation: mentors will support mentees to shape your idea into a realistic business model
- Administrative: mentors may help mentees understand forms (especially if mentee does not speak German and they do)
- Pitch: mentors typically support their mentees by co-developing a pitch and identify methods to approach potential partners and funders
- Resource allocation: A mentor may support a mentee in finding the necessary resources to test and launch the start-up idea
- Network: A mentor can help a mentee by building connections and a network within Zurich and beyond
- Learn from their mentee: Many of our mentors state that they also learn a lot from their mentees. Mentors will receive a comprehensive training on how to benefit and learn from their mentee’s wealth of experiences
A mentor will NOT:
- Become a business partner unless both parties are happy with this arrangement
- Fund or otherwise financially support their mentee’s project
- Necessarily be an expert in the mentee’s exact same field. Mentees are expected to bring specialist knowledge for their respective fields.
- Necessarily support their mentee after the end of the Programme