Press Release on Launch of Innovation Lab

Geneva 15.07.2021 – The Global Solidarity Fund, the not-for-profit alliance established to create partnerships across the private sector, development sector, and Catholic communities, to advance social and economic opportunities for the most vulnerable, today announced a new initiative to overcome obstacles to employment and social integration of migrants and refugees in the Global South.

The Innovation Lab, launched at a virtual event today,  seeks to develop new, and cost-effective, customized technology and other solutions to enhance job opportunities and placement in collaboration with the Tent Partnership for Refugees and Goal 17 Partners.

Migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) face particular challenges in accessing the labour market. Many businesses need highly motivated workers and recognize that migrants can contribute to their workforces. But they often struggle to access credible systems to connect with prospective hires. Covid-19 has exacerbated the range of challenges to connecting migrants with good private sector jobs.

The central concept of the Innovation Lab is to bring together private sector companies and communities working closely with migrants to find solutions to challenges promoting economic inclusion while the world recovers from the shock of the pandemic.  Business expertise will be applied to solve problems through the Lab with technological innovation, advocacy to improve government migration policies, and  the application of operational best practices to support employment of migrants.

Marta Guglielmetti, Executive Director, Global Solidarity Fund, said: “The Global Solidarity Fund has been created to catalyze high-level global partnerships on behalf of those on the margin. Today’s event is a clear example of the GSF mandate and action, as we are launching an exciting new venture called Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab creates a global-level platform to connect the extensive networks of businesses with the knowledge and historic experiences of Catholic congregations and other faith-based organizations. It will create pathways to job opportunities for millions of migrants, refugees, and IDPs. The Innovation Lab is not a one-time event or webinar. It is an interactive platform and a process to develop concrete and actionable solutions going forward! We invite you to join us today and especially in the coming months, to create together a more inclusive and fairer world!”

One of the key actors involved in the Innovation Lab is the Catholic men’s and women’s congregations (such as the Jesuits, Pope Francis’s order), which have immense expertise and knowledge in supporting migrants to gain employment through job training and placement programs. In Mexico, for example, the Scalabrinian congregation has partnered with Cisco to hire migrants as information technology workers, with the congregation providing workers referrals and administrative support in making the program successful.

The Innovation Lab will shape a set of commitments by private sector partners in October 2021, then bring solutions to a 2022 GSF summit to broaden and scale some of the findings. Specifically, the lab will spur migrant employment by:

  1. Creating actionable technology solutions to drive employment of migrants;
  2. Creating actionable opportunities for advocacy from CEOs to governments that will drive employment of, and respect for human rights of, migrants;
  3. Creating actionable solutions to drive improved business processes to support employment of migrants.

Father Leonir Chiarello CS, Superior General, Scalabrinian Missionaries, said: “Faith communities have deep relationships with migrants and refugees. Through the Innovation Lab we’ll build on our existing successful partnerships with businesses in order to foster an inclusive economy.”

Susan Myers, Strategic Adviser, Goal 17 Partners, commented: “The challenge of creating pathways to job creation for migrants and refugees underscores the need for unique partnerships. The critical role of business to deliver solutions is needed more than ever to shape socio-economic recovery from Covid-19 and ensure everyone has access to decent work to improve livelihoods and economies.”

Scarlet Cronin, Acting Executive Director, Tent, said: “Once a refugee gets a job, that’s the moment they can start giving back to the community that has welcomed them. As a network of over 170 major companies committed to integrating refugees into their new communities, we are excited to be a part of the Innovation Lab, to create even more opportunities for refugees to live full, dignified lives.”


For further information, please contact:



About the Global Solidarity Fund:

The Global Solidarity Fund (GSF) is a unique alliance catalyzing partnerships for the most vulnerable across the private sector, the development sector, and Catholic communities. GSF’s vision is a world where everyone has access to social and economic opportunity and a healthy life, and where essential human dignity is fully respected. GSF is inspired by Pope Francis’ leadership and ambitious vision and is focused on empowering the most vulnerable in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

With a network spanning the Catholic and broader development communities, along with members’ expertise, GSF fosters synergies among Catholic entities and systemic connections with businesses, investors, philanthropies, international bodies and governments. As a catalyst, GSF supports these development partners in finding coherent solutions to meet the needs of marginalized people holistically and efficiently, accelerating progress toward the SDGs. Learn more at

About the Tent Partnership for Refugees:

With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of 30 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 140 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. Find out more at

About Goal 17 Partners:

Goal 17 Partners is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works with private sector leaders, non-profit organizations and governments to integrate the UN’s sustainable development goals into business models and practices. Goal 17 refers to the 17 goals that are at the heart of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs tackle climate change, poverty, economic and gender inequality, responsible infrastructure investing, and peaceful institutions. The final goal, Goal 17, recognizes that strong global partnerships among governments, the private sector, and civil society are necessary to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda. Learn more at

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