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Integration of social innovation actors in innovation ecosystems


Target group(s): Social innovation actors/social entrepreneurs[[Social entrepreneurship is an approach by individuals, groups, start-up companies or entrepreneurs, in which they develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. This concept may be applied to a wide range of organisations, which vary in size, aims, and beliefs. Social entrepreneurs are either non-profits, or they blend for-profit goals with generating a positive ""return to society"".]], SMEs, start-ups, accelerators and business incubators, investors, industry, foundations and philanthropy societies, universities and RTOs public-owned enterprises.

The action aims to raise awareness and ease the access of social entrepreneurs to the resources of pan-European, national, regional and local innovation ecosystems. In addition, the action aims to have a lasting spill-over effect by bringing attention to the benefits of social innovation projects to the society as a whole, and to strategic priorities and objectives of the Commission in particular.

The proposals should focus on the following activities:

  • the transfer of knowledge and building capacities among the innovation actors (including universities, accelerators and incubators, networks of start-ups), so that they would be better equipped to work with the social entrepreneurs; examples may include: activities aiming at creating and improving connections of social entrepreneurs to stakeholders in innovation ecosystems (e.g. gathering, production and diffusion of relevant information materials), study visits and exchange of good practices, training activities, webinars, seminars, conferences, etc., developing business support services for social entrepreneurs (e.g. toolkits, templates, manuals and other support material), awareness raising activities among the network’s members and towards the wider audience, engagement of social entrepreneurs in business and entrepreneurial skills and knowledge enforcement trainings;
  • creation and/or connection of social innovation hubs/centres of excellence; integration of social innovation dimension to existing tech-oriented hubs;
  • detection of possible innovation models with potential of scaling and replicability at national, regional, and local level. Although one size does not fit all, the examples of social innovator’s scaling path may help public authorities to design and implement new evidence-based policies; help in detecting the local partners (e.g. other organisation and/or individuals – micro franchisees) to deploy the model;
  • creation or utilization of the already existing open platform that use digital technologies to connect a global network of social entrepreneurs to promote the best practices, alternative financing opportunities and improve their skills.