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We had a chat with Elise Leclerc, Social Impact Assessment Lab Director at the ESSEC Business School, one of the participants to the EU Project-Building Workshop, organised by Euclid Network (EN) in February 2019.

Why did you join the EU Project-Building Workshop and what were your initial objectives?

In terms of partnership, we were looking into helping another university to help set up an incubator for social entrepreneurs and find funding together. We needed a third partner in order to access EU funding. At that point, we knew the basics about the Erasmus+ programme in terms of staff and capacity building but we also wanted to exchange good practice.

That’s when I decided to join Euclid Network’s Project Building Workshop in February 2019 and see if other organisations would be interested in taking part in our bid. We had lots of people interested and we were lucky to have the chance to select the most suitable partners. It was our first transnational projects, so we didn’t want to have lots of partners, rather start small and go ahead with the minimum-requirement of three countries. After many meetings and discussions, the three partners that are on the bid currently are ourselves, located in Paris, France, the Social Impact Award (SIA) in Austria, TED University in Turkey (Ankara). The latter two we met during the workshop and are active members of Euclid Network.

Ultimately the objective of our project is to share good practices around setting up an incubator for social entrepreneurship within higher education institutions. We’re focusing on trying to build an incubator within a university context.


How easy was it to proceed from the moment you had the partners on-board?

It’s always tricky when you start writing an EU bid that involves answering questions on the EU platform, figuring out all the finances, re-doing calculations, re-editing some parts, and it was particularly difficult for us as a first. The challenge was writing the bid in a way that reflects everybody was complimentary, as the partnership came in really late. The most demanding part was finding exactly what would be the elements provided by each party involved, and wrapping that into one proposal that made sense, all within a very short timeframe. We’re thrilled that after all our hard work we managed to access the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships in the field of higher education programme.

 EN’s Workshop helped us see the need and interest in the impact practitioners’ ecosystem and we were surprised by the number of requests we received from other participants to join our project. Besides meeting two of our current partners in this project, we also received valuable feedback from other participants, which on one hand helped me identify the needs for this type of project, assessing the networks that are already involved, which confirmed to us that we were on the right track with a valuable idea to put into practice, with wider potential than just helping one university. On the other hand, it helped me identify which partner would be most suited to this particular bid. There were representatives from higher education, from NGOs, public officials from all around Europe, so it became clearer who was most suited to be our partner.


How do you see the Incubators 4 Change evolving over the next years?

We designed the programme in such a way to cover the initial research during year one. We just started compiling a database and we will send out a questionnaire to hundreds of people. We will map out all the incubator programmes for social entrepreneurs inside and outside higher education institutions. Second year, we have a testbed working on our own incubator, exchanging ideas for good practices. Of course, we have different focuses. For instance, gender, as female entrepreneurship is a prominent issue in the impact field. We tackle also the disability issue, through case studies in local languages of our partners as well. We work with Morocco, therefore we have ties to the EU and MENA regions. So, throughout the second year we will try to deploy and test out several approaches both in France, Turkey and Morocco, as well in Easter Europe through the SIA.

The last year for us will be focused on analysing the feedback from this year of testing out new ideas and writing case studies and then having a multipliers event at the end to share some of our findings, especially training packages for people who would want to start an incubator in their own structure: whether they’re a local authority or higher education institutions.

The idea is to build a network of social entrepreneur incubator programs and go Europe-wide and MENA-region wide. We’ve got about 400 contacts with the two regions. So, once we’ll have created this database we can get back to them and gather them into one network to whom we can disseminate a good practise guide and hopefully a platform to share our challenges especially around the issues of gender, disability and social impact assessment.


Would you like to build new EU projects with other Euclid Network Members? 

Join us for the annual (EU) Project-Building Workshop on the 23rd of January 2020 in Brussels!

During this workshop you will:

  • Meet like-minded impact practitioners to build common European projects; 
  • Present your idea(s) for projects and identify the suitable types of EU funds available;
  • Acquire the necessary knowledge to start preparing tenders in accordance with the procedures of the EU; 
  • Acquire the necessary skills to reach out to experts and form consortia; 
  • Get to know practical examples of European bidding and expression of interest;

Register here:

For further clarification and other questions

Please get in touch with Veerle Klijn!

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