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Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration


DELI_logo_2Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration (DELI) is a project funded by the European Integration Fund and led by the Council of Europe, and involving 10 European cities. It aims to:

  • Support the development of local partnership platforms with a view to engaging local public & private actors in supporting migrant entrepreneurship at local level;
  • Facilitate access of migrant-owned SMEs to public and private procurement;
  • Develop quality management standards and assessment tools for local governments supporting the design and implementation of economic policies consistent with the principles of equal treatment, integration and diversity management.


The project involves a multi-stakeholder process that will include following activities:

DATA COLLECTION & MAPPING: aiming at organizing the minimum of data needed by city-partners, local governments, local policy makers, and other stakeholders in order to facilitate delivery and management of DELI activities, and implementation of project-related policies at local level. Data collection & mapping will include (1) diversity profiles per city based on contextual data within broader political, economic, and social systems and (2) description of legal and policy frameworks governing business & diversity (positive action mechanisms, anti-discrimination, social clauses and procurement).

intercultural-citiesDEVELOPMENT OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT STANDARDS: aiming at (1) supporting under-represented migrant and ethnic businesses and (2) designing & implementing diversity procurement strategies at the local level, standards will be established on the bases of tools previously developed by the Council of Europe (Intercultural Cities Index) and Migration Policy Group (Supplier Diversity, INTI-CitiesDIVE and BUYDIS benchmarks); these standards will be consistent with internationally agreed principles of good policy & strategy planning, implementation and monitoring.

DIVERSITY & ECONOMY ROUNDTABLES (DER): the DER process will be launched in January-February 2014 (launch meeting) to establish private & public dialogue to improve the environment for economic integration of migrants and support of migrant entrepreneurship. DER will involve local administrations and relevant departments (city planning, economic development, procurement), non-governmental agencies, including business support agencies as well as local private actors. Two DER meetings will be organized during the project lifespan (launch and post-assessment) and are expected to continue after the project termination.

DEVELOPMENT OF ON-LINE SELF-ASSESSESSMENT TOOLS: the primary purpose of the tools is to help local governments engage with different stakeholders to map and understand existing gaps and challenges in implementing strategies that support migrant entrepreneurship and diversity procurement; the tools set a baseline and develop status reports for cities and municipalities that have committed to supporting migrants’ economic integration.

SELF-ASSESSMENT REVIEW: with assistance of the Council of Europe and Migration Policy Group, and using the quality management standards described above, cities will conduct self-assessment reviews. Building on the gaps identified and recommendations made throughout the review process, the identification of follow up activities will help local governments to incorporate support to migrant entrepreneurship in the local planning processes. The self-assessment will lead to a certification as well as a list of organizational changes (road maps) to be implemented to confirm certification

FOLLOW-UP AND SUSTAINABILITY: the call back process for confirming and renewing the certification will be carried out two years after the project termination by the Council of Europe and Migration Policy Group. As a long-term follow-up, it is expected that self-assessment reviews will also complement information gathered through European monitoring systems, (Council of Europe Intercultural cities index review and reporting based on EU integration indicators). Cities can choose to share their results with corresponding ministries as part of the national reporting process.

Outcomes and impact

Short-term outcomes include
  • Local policies and structures reviewed to be adapted to the needs of economic integration of migrants & migrant entrepreneurship;
  • Stronger public & private dialogue and increased involvement of local stakeholders in the development of integration policies and inclusive economic strategies;
  • Local administrations effective in catering the needs of economic integration of migrants & migrant entrepreneurship;
  • Implementation of Diversity Procurement Strategy facilitates the participation of migrants in public procurement, allows a better use of state aid possibilities and increases access of under-represented migrant businesses to supply chains through flexible and inclusive public and private procurement;
Medium-term impact
  • Business development and migrant entrepreneurship becomes a key dimension of local integration strategies; 
  • Implementation of Diversity Procurement Strategy facilitates the participation of migrants in public procurement, allows a better use of state aid possibilities and increases access of under-represented migrant businesses to “diversity supplier” chain through flexible and inclusive private procurement;
Long-term impact

The project is expected to provide long-term impact on deeper integration of migrants at the local level and successful growth of migrant enterprises which in their turn contribute to development of a thriving, diverse economic climate and growth.

Background and rationale

The current economic crisis has brought to the fore the idea of a shared responsibility for the common good. The EU has publicly recognized the key contribution that migrant entrepreneurs can make to sustainable growth and employment. European Agenda for the Integration stresses the important role of migrants as entrepreneurs and states that “their creativity and innovation capacity should also be reinforced”.

However, migrants often face legal and socioeconomic difficulties in accessing the mainstream economy. Today European migrant businesses are mainly micro-businesses, smaller in comparison with indigenous businesses as regards turnover and profit. Although migrants have higher business creation rates than the rest of the population, they fail more due to a lack of information, knowledge and language skills (OECD 2010). Furthermore, support measures for SMEs remain unbalanced, with a substantial number of EU countries still failing to take into account the characteristics of migrant-owned businesses, when designing policies and laws. Moreover, often these businesses experience structural barriers in becoming suppliers for mainstream businesses. The challenge for public authorities is to create an environment that actively encourages the development of migrant entrepreneurship and supports their inclusion into local economies. The EC Communication (2012) Entrepreneurship Action Plan 2020 explicitly recommends the member states to propose policy initiatives to attract migrant entrepreneurs & facilitate entrepreneurship among migrants, using the best practices developed locally; remove legal obstacles to establishment of businesses by migrants; and to facilitate their access to information and networking.

The Council of Europe in partnership with Migration Policy Group, proposes to follow up to these recommendations by setting up local platforms that will benefit from both the knowledge base developed in the framework of Intercultural Cities (CoE) programme and Supplier Diversity project (MPG).The project DELI rests on the premise that successful shift to an inclusive and participatory society will require a distinct way of decision-making to negotiate disagreements, build trust among stakeholders and foster a long-term common vision. A major challenge in integration field is cross-sectoral integrated planning and achieving multi-stakeholder consensus for collaborative projects. DELI will help cities develop a flexible public-private dialogue framework that will negotiate and drive policies supporting migrant entrepreneurship and development of migrant-owned SMEs. It offers methods to identify and map key sectors and stakeholders to participate in the integration process, and provides practical guidance and toolkits intended to support cities in creating opportunities for migrants in the private and public sector. DELI involves a city-driven, multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral five-step process that identifies, assesses and prioritizes opportunities and trade-offs (“supplier diversity” and “responsible business”), as well as appropriate public and private financial mechanisms (diversity procurement strategies). The process culminates in establishing policy road maps for cities that will support migrants’ economic integration.


  • Council of Europe (lead)
  • MPG
  • Cartagena (Spain)
  • Bucharest (Romania)
  • Dublin (Ireland)
  • Gexto (Spain)
  • Munich (Germany)
  • Lisbon (Portugal)
  • London Lewisham (UK)
  • Reggio Emilia (Italy)
  • Rotterdam (Netherlands)
  • Vienna (Austria)  
This project builds upon MPG’s past work with municipalities (INTI-Cities and DIVE projects) and with multinational corporations (Supplier Diversity). Two Integration Dossiers written by MPG for the European Web Site on Integration also provide useful background information. Publications from these projects are therefore relevant to the DELI project and may be downloaded below.
Check the DELI website at the Council of Europe for additional information and resources. 

DELI work in context

New Public Procurement Directives – Good News for Immigrant Integration?

On Friday 15th January the European Parliament approved the new EU Public Procurement Directives, paving the way for their formal adoption by the Council of Ministers in the near future.

The new Directives represent a major overhaul of the procurement rules across the EU.  With Member States spending 18% of GDP on procuring goods, services and works, will the changes have an impact on immigrant integration?

The main aim of the EU Procurement Directives has always been to help public bodies get the best value for money by opening up tenders to competition from all over the EU.  The detailed rules and procedures put in place to achieve this goal favour bids that bring the most economic benefits and make it difficult for public bodies to take due account of the social benefits that could be achieved, such as providing equal employment opportunities for migrants.  In addition, the administrative burden placed on tendering companies puts small immigrant-owned businesses at a disadvantage, meaning that they are particularly under-represented among suppliers of public contracts (a more detailed analysis is available in the EWSI Integration Dossier on Public Procurement, authored by MPG).

DELI_summaryThe new rules have the potential to change this.  Firstly, they allow public bodies to take into account social aspects of the process of production or provision of the goods or services when awarding contracts, for example the employment conditions of workers performing the contract.  This is good news for the MPG’s BUYDIS project, which seeks to identify and experiment anti-discrimination clauses in public contracts awarded by local authorities.  Secondly, the rules should allow for better access to the market for immigrant-owned businesses by simplifying the documentation requirements in procurement procedures, creating a standardised document for selection purposes, and offering incentives to public bodies to divide contracts into smaller lots that are more accessible to small businesses.

This all comes in good time for the kick-off of the Diversity in the Economy and Local Integration project later this month, which will see MPG team up with the Council of Europe and ten European cities to facilitate access of migrant-owned SMEs to public and private procurement and help local governments develop procurement policies that are consistent with the principles of equal opportunities, integration and diversity management.

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