Helping people towards the work in Lapland

Startup Refugees is a social innovation founded in 2015. They offer support to asylum seekers, refugees, and other immigrants in finding employment, skills development and starting a business.

The network now has more than 1500 members including companies, government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), universities, congregations, research institutes, communities and individuals.

Successful innovation

The result since 2015 when Startup Refugees was established, consists of 1508 employed, 619 trained business teams, 11 000 education opportunity offers and 7386 collected professional profiles.

In Rovaniemi the work started in 2018. The office is in Rovakatu, where there are three workers giving guidance to all Lapland.

Our main goal is to find a job for job seekers who are not able to be in connection with the new society easily. In Rovaniemi we have services in English, Arabic and Ukrainian languages. Guiding in other languages, like Kurdish and Persia, is also possible to give to newcomers, says Essi Perätalo, from network coordinator in Startup Refugees Rovaniemi.

Tueksi työpaikalle -project

The current project is called Tueksi työpaikalle and funded by European Social Fund (ESR).

The main purpose is to create support services for employers and employees. One result is that the employer can use at least first two days mother tongue at work and a mentor is handling connections in the first working days.

Next project that will last until end of this year, is to match job seekers and companies in small cities in Lapland and it is founded by Lapland TE-office.


I was one client of Startup Refugee. I met Essi last July and asked her to help me to find a working place. I was educated in M.Sc. of Physics and I was a teacher in school and university in Iran for 17 years.

In Rovaniemi here were none suitable job opportunities to work in my own field. After two months they informed me about a job in Arctic Immigrants association AMA as a project coordinator.  They helped me in writing the application and having an interview. January 1th this year I started to work in AMA. By the help of Startup Refugees, I understood it is possible to change the field of my past working history and get new work experience.


Ahad Maroufi