Meet the managing director of Social Impact Award, Euclid Network’s newest member organisation.
Jakob is passionate about empowering the next generation of social innovators to address the most pressing challenges of our times. While Jakob was studying he founded his own social enterprise SOMARO with which he won the Social Impact Award in 2010. 5 years later Jakob started leading the Social Impact Award (SIA) team as managing director.
We sat with Jakob to speak about his organisation, the social enterprise sector and their reasons for joining Euclid Network.
SIA is 10 years old, congratulations!
Thank you, Veerle! We recently celebrated SIA’s 10-year anniversary with a multi-stakeholder event in Vienna. The event affirmed that SIA has become more than just an early-stage support program. As we not only work intensively with hundreds of impact ventures every year, but also create broad support networks around them, we have slowly built up more than 1,000 partnerships with various stakeholders in and beyond the social enterprise sector. This role as an ecosystem convener is especially important in regions with a less developed social entrepreneurship ecosystem such as Western Balkans, Central Asia or East Africa.
As an established platform in the social enterprise sector, what trends do you see?
Over the past years, we have seen that social entrepreneurship is growing as a sector. We see more and more support organisations, impact investors, and events popping up around the topic. That is a positive development, but only leads to real impact if we keep the focus on the social entrepreneurs themselves. In my opinion, one of the key questions, we have to address as a sector is: How can we inspire and attract young talent to consider social entrepreneurship as a potential career path? How can we make sure that there is a critical mass of talented, passionate innovators that contribute with fresh ideas and sustainable business cases? That’s what we aim for at SIA.
How does SIA contribute to this?
In all countries, where we operate, we offer the age group of 18 to 30 years a highly inclusive annual program, which consists of three key phases. Each spring we run a broad set of different educational events and workshops in which we annually provide around 10,000 young people with the necessary tools, skills and mindset to unfold their potential as future changemakers. In summer, we then support the most promising teams through an intense incubation program, which primarily aims at helping the ventures to validate their impact and business models. In fall, we then promote the best ventures with the Social Impact Award and connect them on an international level at the SIA Summit.
Why did SIA join Euclid Network?
We joined Euclid Network because of personal and strategic reasons. We know Neven, the president of Euclid Network, well because he is part of our global advisory board. It is a strategic decision because we would like to work more with EU funding in the future. Also, we are interested to meet like-minded organisations from other countries. What is going on in the rest of Europe, how can we collaborate and co-create? We are very thankful to the entire Euclid network for their great work and support.
Social Impact Award
Social Impact Award runs education and incubation programs in more than 20 countries in Europe, Africa and Central Asia to support early-stage social entrepreneurs in developing and implementing innovative business solutions to take on the most important societal challenges of our times. They do so by hosting events and organising workshops to raise awareness for social entrepreneurship, teaching the necessary skills to navigate from vague intentions to promising ventures, providing access to networks and promoting the best teams with the Social Impact Award.
Also want to join Euclid Network?
If you would like to find out more about how you can become a member of Euclid Network please contact the team!