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Ahead of the inaugural Euclid Summit 2016, we present some of our masterclasses featuring Ebanka from Croatia, Said Business School from Oxford University and Social Investment Business from the UK. Join us at the Summit!

Whether you’re discussing the varied state of the social economy, social impact bonds or the social investment readiness, understanding the latest trends and financial tools for driving social innovation in Europe can be somewhat challenging.

Shrinking resources, coupled with growing societal challenges, are disrupting the traditional ways in which services and solutions are provided in the social space, pushing us towards an ecosystem in which the public-private-third sectors boundaries become blurred. The financing of social ventures, likewise, has become a complex algorithm of possibilities…so where to begin?

With the Euclid Summit fast approaching, we turn our attention to Zagreb where international experts and stakeholders will come together on 24-26 February to showcase and discuss the latest trends and skills needed to drive positive change. The summit’s ‘knowhow for money’ stream will shed some welcome light on many of these issues.

Cooperative banking supporting social innovation in Croatia

The first ethical bank in Croatia, Ebanka, has recently been launched to develop a more social economy and support social innovation in Croatia. Goran Jeras, its founder, is a physicist whose years of experience as a financial consultant in the Netherlands prompted him to change the situation in Croatian banking.

Integrated with cooperative support services and including partners such as CEDRA (national network of social entrepreneurs), the National Foundation for Civil Society Development and the Public Ombudsman, the bank will serve as a service to the community by supporting ventures in local areas such as sustainable ecological agriculture, new technologies and innovation and social entrepreneurship.

At the Euclid Summit, Goran Jeras will run a masterclass on ethical banking, sharing his inspiring story and insights on the importance of developing a strong social economy.

Social Impact Bonds: opportunities & challenges for the social innovation sector

Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) are designed to promote social innovation, scale social investment and tackle social exclusion through dynamic services provided by civil society organisations and social enterprises.

According to research undertaken as part of the EC-funded CRESSI project, in the mixed economy of welfare, there are currently relatively few SIBs across Europe. However, as an emerging policy field, the number of contracts is growing and at a remarkably fast rate. Their research shows that SIBs are not only changing the way civil society organisations realise their social mission, they also represent a concerted commitment to transform the landscape and ethos of public sector commissioning.

Recent trends in public sector commissioning offer novel opportunities to innovate and secure funding. In certain respects, SIBs offer a viable economic model through which to foster social innovation and tackle social exclusion. However, the attempt to embed an entrepreneurial approach in social purpose organisations has also had a number of unique and unintended effects. These effects point to new operational tensions between impact measurement, service innovation and risk aversion.

Said Business School(Oxford University), the lead partner of the CRESSI project, will run a masterclass at the Euclid Summit which will present findings from a recent evaluation of social impact investment and consider what these developments mean for future activity and capacity within the social innovation sector.

Insights on social investment readiness

Social Investment Business (SIB) has developed and implemented over £35 million in investment readiness programmes. At the Euclid Summit in Zagreb, their masterclass will explore some of the insights and lessons from SIB’s experience of designing and setting up investment readiness programmes, and will aim to stimulate discussion on how these could be applied within broader European contexts.

Investment readiness enables social enterprises to secure new forms of investment by building their capacity and improving their performance to increase their financial sustainability and social impact. A targeted investment readiness programme can help to build a stronger and more joined-up ecosystem, bringing together social enterprises, investors, and expert providers.

However, these organisations often cite a huge difficulty in raising the right type of investment to achieve their goals, despite the emergence of an impact investing industry existing to serve this very demand. One of the reasons for this failure, from the impact investors’ side, is the persistent challenge in finding an investible pipeline of ventures. In the UK, success is beginning to emerge in resolving this quandary, which could offer similar opportunities across Europe.

With more sessions on philanthropic giving (Charities Aid Foundation, Bulgaria) and ‘for-profit’ funding (Smart Kolektiv, Serbia), you can find out more on the latest financial skills and trends for social innovation at the Euclid Summit in Zagreb, 24-26 February. It’s happening very soon but there is still time to register here!

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