Magic happens when 100 social entrepreneurs, impact investors and Euclid Network’s members from over 20 countries mix. This year’s edition of Gathering to Grow in London confirmed the social enterprise’s supporters’ thirst to exchange knowledge and network internationally. We had provocative speakers, challenging topics and bold participants!
Alike last year, the background of this event is the Erasmus for young entrepreneurs programme, a project we run at Euclid Network to match new/aspiring social entrepreneurs with their more seasoned peers across Europe.
Our two-day event showed the added value of spending time together, exchange ideas, test concepts and simply mingle. All the sessions both inspired and challenged us. and led to candid and constructive discussions amongst the international group.
In the pitch labs some 10 social entrepreneurs got on stage to convince a panel of impact investment experts of their investment readiness. But beyond that, they also shared their personal journeys as entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Capsule Wess, the winner of this year’s Pitchlabs! Read the story of entrepreneurs Rebecca and Marine in the article When fashion addresses environmental and social issues.
Growth is not only about sharing your own story, it’s also about learning from experts in your field. Over 20 experts, from social investors to blockchain specialists and from EU representatives to researches, shared their tips on building sustainable social impact-focused businesses. Here are just a few of the quotes that stuck with me.
“We should be aware of the bubbles we find ourselves in as social entrepreneurs and how we communicate with other bubbles” European Commission representative Ulla Engelmann told listeners in London.
Charities Aid Foundation’s Holly Piper provided the participants with her top tips for social investment first timers “Get really good at explaining your impact. And, with absolutely everyone you meet.” Neven Marinovic, Euclid Network’s President, stressed the importance of creating networks and building bridges between sectors, countries and cultures.
And as our media partner Pioneers Post concludes in an article covering Gathering to Grow: “Much more support is needed to help social enterprises scale and expand their business internationally. That should include raising awareness of opportunities and encouraging businesses to consider an international element, as well as practical assistance, for example introductions to the right networks.”
So, what next?
We’re very happy to announce that Euclid Network will continue to coordinate SEED consortium for the next 3 years! The SEED consortium is the longest running consortium implementing the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs with almost exclusively social-focused entrepreneurs.
In parallel, Euclid Network is of course strengthening its work towards social enterprises and their support organisations across Europe. Our goal? Increase their access to funding, markets and skills. Join us to talk social investment and EU support on 7 of February 2019 in Brussels!