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Mentoring takes and gives - for refugees and immigrants it can open doors to Finnish working life


Together with Telia and Tietoevry, Startup Refugees is launching a mentoring program to support refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants to find employment in the IT industry. Startup Refugees will be organizing the popular mentoring program with its partners for the seventh time now.

Refugees and immigrants are international experts. However, many need information about the labor market and networks in their field in order to find their place in Finnish working life. The mentoring program lasts ten weeks and consists of one-on-one meetings between the mentor and the mentee, as well as joint meetings between all participants.

About 20 professionals will be selected for the mentoring program, all of whom will receive a personal mentor from Telia or Tietoevry. Mentoring pairs are selected based on competence and professional interests. There are professionals from ICT, coding, sales, marketing, and administration. This year, there are people to be mentored from at least Iraq, Iran, and Ukraine.

“The mentoring program is a great way to provide personal guidance in job hunting and building important networks. So far, 76 people have participated in the program, about 60 percent of whom have found jobs shortly after the mentoring program,” says Arkan Aal-Owayef, Startup Refugees’ training manager.

The mentoring program is part of Telia and Tietoevry’s responsibility work. Cooperation with Startup Refugees has been appreciated among employees because of the concreteness it offers. Employees of companies can participate in the program during working hours.

“Obstacles to equality are often related to unconscious prejudices or lack of understanding. Immigrants are discriminated against, and that is why we have chosen the equality and diversity of working communities as the focus of our cooperation. The purpose of promoting equality is to prevent discrimination, secure equal opportunities for everyone, and eliminate inequality at work due to discrimination. Together with Startup Refugees, we continue to work to ensure that creators and job opportunities find each other,” says Telia Finland’s responsibility manager Ira Vainio.

“We have worked long-term to strengthen digital equality, and our cooperation with Startup Refugees, which began in 2018, is in many ways meaningful. We are implementing the mentoring program for the fourth time now, and our employees have again enthusiastically joined along. By supporting immigrants in developing their digital skills, we support the construction of their future and working life. The technology sector needs talented people, and diverse work communities are a strength in this, as in many other sectors,” says Jonna Peltola, Tietoevry’s director of communications.

For Startup Refugees, cooperation with companies is an important part of the organization’s operations.

“Startup Refugees wants to build a diverse, equal, and cooperative society, where every immigrant can find their place and settle in. This is not possible without business partnerships, that’s why the mentoring program implemented with Telia and Tietoevry is even more important,” Startup Refugees CEO Aicha Manai says.


Startup Refugees provides employment and entrepreneurship support to refugees, asylum seekers, and other immigrants to Finland. Founded in 2015, the network has provided more than 1,600 jobs, trained more than 900 budding entrepreneurs, and mapped the skills of more than 8,500 people.
In recent years, Telia has grown from a traditional telecommunications operator to a modern technology and media company offering a wide range of telecommunications, IT, and digital services to its millions of consumer and business customers. Telia has 4,100 employees and over four million subscription customers in Finland. We invest each year about EUR 200 million in connections in Finland.

Telia Finland is part of Telia Company, which operates in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The company’s turnover in 2021 was EUR 8.7 billion. The company is committed to being CO2 neutral and waste-free throughout its value chain from suppliers to customers by 2030.

See what kind of company Telia is in Finland and participate in the discussion on social media @teliafinland.

Tietoevry creates purposeful technology that reinvents the world for good. We are a leading technology company with a strong Nordic heritage and global capabilities. Based on our core values of openness, trust, and diversity, we work with our customers to develop digital futures where businesses, societies, and humanity thrive.

Our 24,000 experts globally specialize in cloud, data, and software, serving thousands of enterprise and public-sector customers in more than 90 countries. Tietoevry’s annual turnover is approximately EUR 3 billion and the company’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ exchange in Helsinki and Stockholm, as well as on Oslo Børs.

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