Better Incubation is a project by LIAISE

Registrations open for the Madeira Startup Retreat

The Incubation Center for startups and business in Madeira Island (Portugal) has launched the registration for the 4th Edition of Madeira Startup Retreat, a 6-week acceleration program for 10 travel & tourism startups.

This acceleration programme not only enables and improves company culture, but also promotes leisure & networking opportunities to all participants. Selected startups will take part in special curated workshops and mentoring sessions from experienced professionals, while exploring opportunities to grow and scale.

Each startup will be granted €2.500 euros for expenses.

Promoted by Startup Madeira, Turismo de Portugal and NOVA School of Business and Economics, the event will take place from October 6th to November 19th, 2021, in Madeira.

The registrations are now open. The interested participants are invited to register until August 20th 2021 at

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Micaela Vieira,

Invitation to participate in the online survey on entrepreneurship incubation

The University of Bologna would like to invite practitioners, coaches, mentors and programme managers working with the incubation programmes across Europe, especially in Italy, France, and the Netherlands to share their experience and feedback regarding services/competences to serve entrepreneurs.

You are invited to provide your input through the online survey available at TAKE THE SURVEY.

The survey is conducted within a European project called MIG.EN.CUBE – fostering MIGrant ENtrepreneurship inCUBation in Europe, aiming at understanding the approaches and methodologies that work best in serving migrant entrepreneurs and the gaps in the competences in incubators/accelerators in this area of expertise.

Better Incubation Communities of Practice / Sandilya: Building the Pillars for Migrants Inclusion Through Social Innovation

How to make the field of entrepreneurship more inclusive to groups that have been historically and systematically left behind, namely migrants and refugees, people with disability, seniors, women and youth? Together with members of the European Business & Innovation Centre Network (EBN), the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) and Caritas organizations, Impact Hub gathered experts and entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups in a series of virtual working sessions – Communities of Practice – to debate, exchange, investigate, plan, prototype and evaluate the activities in the field of inclusive entrepreneurship.

Throughout our Better Incubation working sessions, we were inspired to delve deeper into the participants’ diverse stories and to learn more about the “whats”, “whys” and “hows” behind their efforts to build inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems. One of the entrepreneurs who greatly sparked our curiosity was Hrishabh Sandilya.

Sandilya considers himself to be “a multipotentialite and systems-thinker” and is committed to a more resilient future, where there’s social, climate and gender justice for all. Premised on the pillars of sustainability, economic empowerment through entrepreneurship and socio-cultural integration, Sandilya’s incredible work at Project Phoenix is dedicated to providing social innovation training for refugees, migrants and asylum-seekers on European grounds.

Besides founding and leading Project Phoenix on the ground in Nicosia, Cyprus capital, he is also responsible for mentoring Project Phoenix’s fellows and volunteers. To learn more about Sandilya’s background, his journey and his plans to keep impacting the world in a positive and lasting way, check our conversation below:

Q: To get us started, how would you describe yourself in 3 words? 

A: I’d describe myself as a neophile who challenges existing systems.

Q: We definitely need more systems’ challengers like you to keep changing our world for the better. And talking about making this world a better place, what’s your purpose, both in the professional and personal spheres? How do you believe them to be aligned? 

Personally, I want to see a more just and equitable world, where we are more in sync with each other and nature, and a high level of trust within society. Professionally, I want to work towards that goal, specifically in the migrant-inclusion space, through systemic and sustainable solutions,  harnessing the power of social innovation.

Q: In getting acquainted with your work, when preparing for this interview, it seems to us that you’re doing a great job in making your purposes real and tangible with Project Phoenix. Could you tell us more about it? Why does it exist and how did it start? 

Project Phoenix is a migrant-led European NGO and social enterprise dedicated to systemic change of the inclusion ecosystem. It was founded by my colleague Michael Goecken in Belgium and I joined him as a Co-Founder and moved to Cyprus to set it up in mid-2019.

We are currently running a pilot project in Cyprus, where our programming involves an intensive fellowship program focused on entrepreneurship and skills development, the creation of innovative partnerships with other civil society groups for collective action, and solutions-based research and advocacy pillar that aims to influence policy for systems change.

Q: That’s amazing! When looking back on this inspiring two-year journey, what recent achievements with Project Phoenix would you say to be most proud of? 

A: There’s been a few, but the most satisfying ones involve co-creating with our fellows, empowering them and giving them agency. Helping our fellow Laetitia Tchakoute to launch her clothing label Aphrogee, has been a success we keep celebrating, as it goes from one strength to another.

Other recent big wins include finishing a transdisciplinary research study on the impact of COVID-19 on refugees in Cyprus and multiple iterations of online professional English skills and mentoring program for asylum seekers in Cyprus, led by ELT professionals in India.


Q: That’s very fruitful for such a short period of time, especially considering that the COVID-19 pandemic was taking place for most of it (and still is). Considering all that, what do you think were the biggest forces and drivers of your perseverance and success? 

A: The biggest drivers of our success have definitely been our incredible fellows, staff and volunteers (and extended network of partners, mentors and advisors). Without them, we wouldn’t exist!

As a new organisation, we’ve struggled for funding our entire existence (especially through the pandemic), but they’ve made it possible through their hard work, substituting funds for passion and skills. This has allowed us to have an outsized impact that many better-funded and better-staffed organisations would have failed to have.

Q: In the end, it’s been all about a resilient community driven by a common purpose. Now, when you look ahead, what are Project Phoenix’s goals for the upcoming year? What impact do you aim to make? 

A: Our goal over the next 12 months is to launch Constellation! our refugee social innovation lab in Nicosia, accelerate a few more fellow businesses and further the conversation in Cyprus on addressing migrant inclusion systemically – based on our research and experience with innovation.

Q: This systemic vision you have is really very important to generate real, sustainable and lasting social change. We wish you all the best in these next steps! And on the topic of next steps, we all know that entrepreneurship requires courage. What is courage to you? 

A: Courage, as an entrepreneur, is not losing that self-belief that led you to take that step in the first place. It involves trusting your instinct by doubling down on it through hard work when things don’t seem to be turning out the way they should.

Q: We couldn’t agree more with your words. Thank you very much for sharing your inspirational story and thoughts with us! To end this conversation on a high note, would you like to share what was your key takeaway from the first Community of Practice session? 

A: My key takeaway was that there are so many other great initiatives and allies out there doing the same important work. Connecting to them for inspiration and building on a vision together is what excites me about our Community of Practice.

Picture description: Hrishabh Sandilya and Laetitia Tchakoute at the launch of her clothing label Aphrogee.

Follow Hrishabh Sandilya and his impactful work at Project Phoenix on LinkedInInstagramFacebook or Twitter.

Author: ImpactHub, 

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