Some of the most prominent and successful entrepreneurs of the 21st century have made their millions – and in some cases, billions – in countries that they were not born in. Despite this, immigrants continue to face adversity when striving towards innovation and self sufficiency. At this year’s World Business Angels Investment Forum, President of the European Trade Association for Business Angels – the daughter of a Romanian immigrant – discussed the issues surrounding migrant entrepreneurs with celebrated cosmonaut Muhammed Ahmed Faris.
Q: As a pioneer in space, a pioneer in the 21st century, and a bona fide freedom fighter, share your inner thoughts with us. When you went to space, when you left your home to explore completely new territory; what were the thoughts that led you to break new frontiers?
A: I am very passionate about recognising people as humans – not as refugees or migrants – and the thing that struck me looking down on the world, was that I was seeing the whole planet, and all the people in it, and they were all humans. When I am asked about the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, I say it is that view of space, of our planet, because all I could see was equality. The planet is the mother of humanity, and although it is not always an easy place, we should always take advantage of its many resources and its wealth of knowledge.
Q: As pioneering immigrants, we are so fortunate to be in the business of building things, of creating things. We invest in the future and in the next generation. The current generation, the likes of Elon Musk, have not only shown how successful foreign-born entrepreneurs can be, but that our business interests are not limited to the world around us, and space is something we can all invest in, something that entrepreneurs can be very active in. What do you think the future holds for entrepreneurs being active in space?
A: Investment in space is a vast opportunity, but the difficulty is in finding the investment to make it happen. But I would like to say, that investors should be giving migrant entrepreneurs the attention they deserve. Despite thousands of millions of them living in poverty, they are very creative and very productive in the investment sector. For this reason, among others, I would like for the spotlight to be aimed at immigrants, and for investors to focus on them, because they have so much to offer.
Q: Angel investors are providing these sorts of opportunities, because we are not governmental, we are not corporate, we are just people and we invest in people, and for this reason, I believe we are the most open in the investment arena. I truly hope that we can join together to invest in people, as we always do, for the next generations, in a world and in a space that is for humanity.
A: My final word would be that we should all look at refugees as human beings. We should push them to develop their creativity and to express the creativity they have, despite the pressures of the difficult lives they lead.
Official translator of the session was Cyrine Sellami of Tunisia.To find out more, watch the discussion in full here: