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Startup Refugees launches new mentoring program with Telia and Tietoevry

07 September 2022

Together with Telia and Tietoevry, Finnish social innovation Startup Refugees is launching a new mentoring program to support refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants in finding employment in Finland’s IT industry. This is the fifth time Startup Refugees has organized a mentoring program with external partners.

People arriving in Finland have a wide range of knowledge and skills to offer. But in order to find their place in Finnish working life, many need information about the local labor market and introductions to professional networks in their fields.

The latest mentoring program – launching in September – is aimed at 25 participants with an immigrant or refugee background. Each participant will be partnered with a mentor from Telia or Tietoevry. The program lasts for 10 weeks and comprises one-on-one meetings between the mentor and their mentee, as well as joint meetings between all participants.

Mentors include professionals from ICT, coding, sales, marketing and administration, and are paired with mentees based on shared competences and professional interests. This year, program participants come from countries such as Iran, Iraq and Ukraine.

"Mentoring is a great way to build networks and provide personal guidance for job hunting. To date, 51 immigrants and refugees have participated in the mentoring program, 29 of whom found jobs shortly after," says Arkan Aal-Owayef, Skills Development Manager at Startup Refugees.

The mentoring program is part of Telia and Tietoevry's corporate social responsibility work, and is widely appreciated among employees for the concrete assistance it provides to people. Employees who take up mentoring roles can participate in the program during their paid working hours.

"We want to make sure no one is left off the digitalization bandwagon. This is the third time Telia Finland is participating in the mentoring program, which has been incredibly rewarding for our employees and mentees. With the help of the program, we can develop people’s skills while promoting culturally rich work environments. Together with Startup Refugees, we continue to work to ensure that creators are matched with the right job opportunities,” says Telia Finland's Sustainability Manager Ira Vainio.

"The theme of digital inequality is very relevant at the moment. It’s important for us to be involved in supporting immigrants in developing their digital skills and speeding up their integration into Finnish society and working life. There is a constant shortage of talent in the technology sector, and we see the cooperation with Startup Refugees as a good springboard for many to have a career in digital solutions," says Kia Haring, Tietoevry's Director of Marketing, Communications and Responsibility.

For Startup Refugees, cooperation with companies is an invaluable part of the network's operations.

"Our network comprises more than 1,500 companies, educational institutions, organizations and individuals who want to provide employment and entrepreneurship support to people who have moved to Finland. Our work would not be possible without the contribution of our network members," says Aal-Owayef.

For more information, please contact:

Anni Lehtonen, Communications & Brand Manager, Startup Refugees,, tel. +358 44 238 2564

Telia Finland Newsdesk,, tel. +358 2040 54000

Tietoevry Newsdesk,, tel. +358 40 570 4072

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 1,300 jobs, trained more than 550 budding entrepreneurs, and mapped the skills of more than 6,000 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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Kia Haring

Tietoevry alumni

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