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Transnational Network for Social Innovation Incubation

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Network of innovators

An EU team helped build a network of incubators for nurturing social innovation. Six new scaling centres fostered over 300 European creations, and supported 9 ready for the international market.

Society

Europeans generally see innovation as the answer to the region's social and economic problems. Yet, some countries are more innovative than others, while overall few innovations ever reach the bulk of the population. The EU-funded TRANSITION (Transnational network for social innovation incubation) project helped to foster innovation. The team worked in close association with another EU project, BENISI, to build a European network of social innovation incubators. TRANSITION examined whether innovation-based incubators and social innovation specialists could work together to help European creators scale up their ideas. The team also identified and tested a range of suitable tools, methodologies and scaling approaches. The new network included six scaling centres, and supported social innovators plus three organisations. The outcome was a community of trust. Through learning and exchange, the network supported scaling at local, regional, national and international levels. Researchers produced a common support framework. The project supported 315 innovations, across a wide range of sectors. Most innovators were at an early stage and received support from their local scaling centres. TRANSITION also offered a Transnational Startup Lab to nine innovators ready to internationalise. An experimental approach yielded deeper knowledge of the issues, published as a set of key learnings. The project also effectively shared such knowledge, and thus the group established a common vision. The developed TRANSITION network has helped to support social innovation in Europe. As a result, several programmes were able to scale up their innovations to benefit more EU citizens.

Keywords

Incubators, social innovation, scaling centres, TRANSITION, transnational network

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