The LIFE Project supports and encourages entrepreneurship, job creation and cross-cultural engagement in the food sector.
To address the global refugee crisis, CIPE and a Consortium of international partners developed the Livelihoods Innovation through Food Entrepreneurship (LIFE) Project. The LIFE Project launched the first food incubators in Turkey, where members from the refugee and host communities start and scale businesses, contributing directly to their livelihoods and economic development in their communities.
Food provides pathways for cultural preservation among displaced populations and introduces host communities to new cuisines. Entrepreneurs who introduce new products or cuisine to a market also have a competitive advantage.
The LIFE Project prides itself on its holistic and sustainable approach to building businesses and communities.
All LIFE Project activities take place at our Food Enterprise Centers (FECs) in Istanbul and Mersin. The FECs serve as hubs for training and business development support. Modern facilities offer commercial grade kitchens, coworking and meeting space, and are venues for networking, community events, and workforce development.
Anchored in the FECs, the LIFE Project incubates fledgling businesses, equipping entrepreneur members with the knowledge, skills and networks necessary to build successful food businesses. Activities include training, business coaching, support services and pitch competitions.
We offer skills-matching workshops focused on hygiene, food and workplace safety, customer service and other topics to food sector workers to increase employability.
Gastrodiplomacy - the practice of using food as a medium for cross-cultural engagement - is interwoven through all aspects of the LIFE Project by bringing refugees and host communities together through the shared language of food. In addition to gastrodiplomacy programming in Istanbul and Mersin, the LIFE Project also connects refugee and host community entrepreneurs with home cooks around the world through the cookbook The Cuisine of LIFE: Recipes and Stories of the New Food Entrepreneurs of Turkey.
BEHIND THE LIFE PROJECT IS A CONSORTIUM OF GLOBAL PARTNERS AS WELL AS LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL RESOURCE PARTNERS PROVIDING THEIR EXPERTISE FROM EVERY ANGLE.
We've teamed up with the resource partners below for their expert knowledge and support: