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29 Oct 2020


Former refugee and entrepreneur empowers fellow newcomers

SSI Ignite® entrepreneur Hedayat Osyan giving a TED talk at the TEDxSydney 2019 conference

Since Hedayat came to Australia in 2010, his passion for pairing social responsibility and entrepreneurship has been significant. After graduating with a bachelor degree in politics and international relations and an honours degree from the University of Canberra, he worked as a youth consultant for the Cumberland Council, MYAN NSW and Community Migrant Resource Centre.

As the passionate founder and managing director of social enterprise Nick Tiling Services, Hedayat harnesses his lived experience and trains, employs and supports other refugees and asylum seekers.

Hedayat says that his “main goal” is “to help [refugees] become independent and empower them”.

Testament to his dedication to the cause was his selection as Young Social Pioneer by Foundation for Young Australians in 2018 and First Gens Accelerator by ygap in 2019. Also in 2019, Hedayat was selected as a speaker at TEDxSydney 2019, after being part of SSI’s Pay it Forward contingent at TEDxSydney 2018. Pay it Forward was a key component of a partnership between TEDx and SSI where community members from a range of SSI programs were given the opportunity to attend the conference by generous conference participants.

Hedayat was so inspired by his 2018 TEDx experience that he took part in one of the 2019 pitch nights and finally spoke at the main event, where his message around welcoming refugees reached an audience of 5,000 people.

Hedayat was supported by Ignite® to found Nick Tiling Services, which has trained and supported more than 43 people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds and has completed 85 projects in NSW.

SSI developed Ignite® to facilitate small business creation for people from a refugee background who want to start their own business or expand an existing one.

Research indicates that people from a refugee background display strong entrepreneurial qualities, with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business compared to the general Australian population.

Ignite® harnesses these qualities and delivers the first start-ups program in Australia to focus on refugees, based on an enterprise facilitation model developed by the Sirolli Institute.

Find out more about the SSI Ignite® Small Business Start-ups program and help other refugee entrepreneurs by making a donation.

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