Aurora: A program to change migrants' lives

Aurora, a program meant to cater the main needs of migrants, providing them with a trust score through which directly access jobs and loans

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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Abdoulaye Fall

Initiative's representative date of birth

7th August 1971

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • Spain

Where are you making a difference?

There is a pilot project in Barcelona and it will be soon replicated to several European cities.

Website or social media url(s)

1) ACAF organization website: 2) ACAF Facebook account: 3) ACAF twitter account: @ACAFWinkomun 4) Other Aurora stakeholders websites: 5) Video with beneficiaries:

When was your organisation founded?


Focus areas

  • Financial skills and capability

Project Stage

  • Pilot (have done first proof of concept)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Jean Claude Rodríguez-Ferrera (Ashoka Fellow 2006) had been working in community banking in Barcelona, where he became close friends with Abdoulaye, from Senegal. Jean Claude thought that Abdoulaye was one of the most trustworthy persons he knew; he always helped his friends, was super responsible at work, always repaid on time if he borrowed money from peers and had a high entrepreneurial spirit. However, when he came to Barcelona, nobody knew his background. He could excel at any job requiring trustworthiness (delivery, guard...), but nobody knew how trustworthy he was. Like Abdoulaye, there are thousands of migrants in this situation. By the way, after some years, Abdoulaye became ACAF´s director and did a PhD in a Spanish University.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

There are 5 million economic migrants in Europe every year, only 20% of which have labour permits. More than 1 million asked for asylum in Europe, only 20% were accepted. Besides, integration policies for migrant people have proven ineffective. Every day, new economic migrants arrive to a new country with a great will to work, but have left all their labour and financial history behind and are unable to prove their value and assets to get a job.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Aurora means to accompany migrant people from their arrival in their new country of residence, catering their needs in a flexible, tech-supported, community-based and each person-oriented way. Beneficiaries are accompanied during their personal development, so specialist nonprofits train them in several needed competencies such as languages, business, psicosocial and so on. Concurrently, beneficiaries take part of a Self-Funded Community, that will provide them with a support and information network, financial education and a place to save and take loans. After the training is completed, they will enter a new SFC formed by entrepreneurs and continue their training for 8 months. During all this time, each person’s activities in the SFC and trainings will contribute to create a trust score through which will be able to show and prove his or her value to partners such as banks (for credits needed for entrepreneurial projects) or companies (that look for specific profiles for their job opportunities). So, after the process ends, beneficiaries will be fully integrated and capacitated workers or empowered entrepreneurs, running their new venture with the group support.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

i) Collaboration and partnerships: 1-Work with organisations in charge of specialised support to migrants. 2- Links with MFIs, Banks and companies, as potential employers. ii) Innovation on the job training via SFC methodology iii) FinTech: 1- Creation of Aurora App to create and manage credit and trust score for migrants in SFC groups 2- Blockchain technology within the app to guarantee information trustworthiness iv) Networking for migrants: through entrepreneur SFCs they can connect and support each other. SFC “Emprendedores”, formed by 10 people of different countries that didn’t know each other previously, started small businesses with a bank credit, exchange products, services and use SFC credits for their projects’ expenses.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

In Barcelona, ACAF created and accompanied SFCs belonging to the project, whereas Servei Solidari Foundation has carried out the trainings in several fields such as entrepreneurship and job skills. The idea behind Aurora is that, in the next stages and cities, local organizations and innovators will take charge of the different teachings in the field that they excel at. This way, we can ensure that trainers are proficient and that they are familiarized with the idiosyncrasy of the country and region concerning entrepreneurial, business and job-related aspects. Besides, these training organizations will be the best actors in order to find other project stakeholders such as banks or companies. A key difference in employability is that Aurora is not only teaching skills but also directly facilitating beneficiaries being employed or taking a microloan through links with our partners.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Aurora is centered both in entrepreneurship and paid work skills, although most focused in the former, as it’s an easier way for many migrant people to get a job; as well as specific skills for migrants such as financial education, psicosocial/emotional skills, working skills and legal aspects, complemented by SFC assets. Our progress is measured by 1) Number of migrants finishing the comprehensive program (breadth/scale of impact) 2) No. of SFCs created (breadth/scale of impact) 3) No. of migrants starting a business (depth of impact) 4) No. of migrants accessing a job (depth of impact)

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many organizations deal with both issues from countless perspectives and strategies. Some of the main differences: 1) Aurora is a comprehensive project that means to cover all the main needs of each beneficiary in order to help them achieve welfare. 2) Beneficiaries access real jobs and microloan chances through partner companies and banks. 3) Adapted to each community and person capacitation-wise. SFCs, as they are driven by their members, are naturally adapted to their objectives. 4) Replicated through specialized national or local organizations so each one will provide its expertise.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Aurora started in 2016 with the name “Seeds of interculturality and cohabitation” with a first pilot group, the SFC “Emprendedores”. Some of the data for 2019 is: -73 migrants of 20 different nationalities finished the comprehensive program. - 6 SFCs created with 30 loans disbursed from groups, 10.900 total savings and 16.660€ working capital. - 100% of beneficiaries started a business or an entrepreneurial project. - 30% of migrants received a microloan from MicroBank. Beyond numbers, one of the most important outcomes of the project is that the people participating on it are fully capacitated to run their microentrepreneurial projects and to thrive in the new territory. Besides, after the end of the project they still will belong to a Self-Funded Community in which they can save, take loans for their businesses, exchange services and products and give and receive mutual help.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Aurora needs funds in order to have the required structure (replication in first cities with the help of stakeholders and a coordinating team) and mostly to develop the digital base of the program (the Aurora mobile App and the blockchain tech applied in order to digitally build the app’s Trust Score for each user). Once the program is fully running both physically and digitally in several cities, the program is planned to be at least 50% self-sustainable thanks to financing through options such as 1) App premium functions 2) Fees to employing companies 3) Social Impact Bonds 4) Tailoring Aurora for big companies 5) Paid third-party use of the app 6) Advertising within the app.

10. Team

Our current team is formed mainly by: 1) In ACAF (Association of Self-Funded Communities), Dr. Abdoulaye Fall and Dr. Roger Fonts, experts in SFC methodology, microfinances and migration. 2) In Servei Solidari Foundation, Sandra Rodríguez, Mª Eugenia Blandon and Jordi Balcells, experts in entrepreneurship and migrant training. 3) In RedSalmons, Dr. Jean-Claude Rodríguez-Ferrera, SFC founder, Ashoka fellow and expert in social innovation, and Angel Herraiz, expert in digital scaling.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Socioeconomic class
  • Status as a migrant

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

The regulations that encompass the life of migrants and ethnic minorities in Spain do not favour our full integration. Key aspects towards our personal fulfilment such as political participation or a fair access to labour market are not adequately addressed in the inclusion policies. Furthermore, institutional discrimination is still visible in our society. Consequently, the common societal project is seriously hindered because we miss a clear political determination to see us as full citizens.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Other

Attachments (1)


This document is a short presentation of the Aurora project including several data, explanation of the app and project budget.

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