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Whole Planet Foundation Launches New Partnership With Skylight in the United Kingdom

by Claire Kelly, Regional Director for West Africa/MENA & Interim Regional Director for Asia

Whole Planet Foundation Launches New Partnership With Skylight in the United Kingdom

by Claire Kelly, Regional Director for West Africa/MENA & Interim Regional Director for Asia

Published 06-08-23

Submitted by Whole Foods Market Foundation

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The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN) was launched in 2016 to recognize the failure of destination countries to include refugees in their labor and financial markets. TERN’s mission is to enable refugees to thrive through the power of their own ideas. They provide extensive business development services (BDS) for refugee-led businesses. This includes mentorship, pandemic support, and an online marketplace called Anqa.

However, beyond business development support, TERN’s community surveys revealed that their network was looking for financing opportunities and they were unable to find suitable options. Therefore, in 2020, TERN launched Skylight to introduce a finance product which was tailored specifically for their community. Loans are uncollateralized, small in size and repaid gradually and without interest cost in order to make them accessible and affordable. Loans up to 1000 GBP ($1,200 USD) are repaid over up to 24 months.

For example, Skylight client Angie, the founder of Angie’s Rainbows, invested 264 GBP ($317 USD) in her business making hair accessories. Angie donates a portion of the profits from her handmade products to support the LGBTQI+ refugee community in the UK, to give back to organizations who have previously supported her.

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The Skylight loan was specifically allocated for the purchase of a cricut machine, which has enabled Angie to make her production process much quicker and more efficient. This meant she could produce a collection of festive hair bows in time for Christmas, which she sold on the Anqa website.

Whole Planet Foundation funds will be allocated to Skylight’s micro loan product. Over three years, $150,000 USD from Whole Planet Foundation can be leveraged to disburse a total value of almost 200,000 GBP ($240,000 USD). This additional impact comes as loans are repaid and then lent back out, continuously revolving in the Skylight loan portfolio. The Whole Planet Foundation funds alone have the potential to offer much needed business capital to over 250 refugee entrepreneurs over the next three years. And in total, Skylight plans to disburse about 600,000 GBP ($720,000 USD) during this three-year period.

Person sitting with box of crafts

Beyond direct financing for their community through micro loans, Skylight’s mission is to become the inclusive home for refugee finance. This means advocating for improved inclusive practices among mainstream financial services providers. It also means developing financial literacy resources for refugee founders. With the majority of their leadership team and loan approval panel representative of people with refugee backgrounds themselves, Whole Planet Foundation sees Skylight as well placed to take on this challenge.

“Over the next year we plan to lend £60,000 ($72,000 USD) to 90 entrepreneurs, and to continue to grow our community of clients, businesses and borrowers. We will continue to support the evident and largely untapped potential of the refugee entrepreneurs we work with.”

-Isobelle Ford, Skylight Director

Learn more at

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Whole Foods Market Foundation

Whole Foods Market Foundation

Whole Foods Market Foundation works to nourish people and the planet by helping to advance economic opportunities, nutrition, and healthy food access in local and global communities. Founded by Whole Foods Market, the registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas, encompasses the projects of Whole Planet, Whole Kids and Whole Cities.  

Alleviates poverty through microcredit in communities around the globe.

Dedicated to improving children’s health and wellness through their nutrition.

Improves individual and community health through collaborative partnerships, education, and broader access to nutritious food.

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