Thrive applied for funding from Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation in response to a huge increase in loan applications from Victoria. The Foundation’s grant has enabled Thrive to employ a credit manager to process loan applications in its newly established Melbourne office.
Mahir Momand, Thrive’s Chief Executive Officer, said that by enabling asylum seekers and refugees to establish their own small businesses, it created self-employment, financial independence and social integration.
"Our work shows that when a refugee starts a small business, they create jobs for themselves and others, which leads to financial independence and reduces their reliance on welfare benefits.”
Business loans of up to $20,000 are provided at low interest rates for three years. Thrive also provides a business mentor to the new small business owner who provides guidance and advice regarding managing a business in Victoria. Thrive expects to provide over 400 small business loans within the next three years.
“Together we are enabling refugees to positively contribute to the Australian economy and society. Through their business activities, refugees and asylum seekers contribute to and connect to their new communities, resulting in mutual respect and understanding of diverse cultures.”
The Foundation’s Healthy & Resilient Communities Program Manager Harriet McCallum said that Thrive is helping to challenge the misconception that people with refugee backgrounds in our communities are reliant on social security payments.
“They are coming here seeking a better life away from war or persecution, and they want to contribute to their new communities. Thrive is enabling them to do this by starting their own businesses and creating employment opportunities.”