Euclid Network (EN) continues to grow as we add another social impact superhero to our community. Please join us in welcoming Reach for Change!
We interviewed Maria Modigh, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Reach for Change, who told us about her organisation, their way of working, their ambitions for the future, and what they hope to achieve as a member of EN.
EN: Tell us more about yourself and how you came to be COO of Reach of Change! And of course, take us through the story of how Reach for Change began.
Maria: My journey with Reach for Change started about six and a half years ago. I am originally from Greece but studied and worked as a project finance lawyer in both London and Paris for large development projects in Africa. I then did some work with UNESCO where I completely feel in love with social entrepreneurship.
Then, I moved to Sweden. At the time, Reach for Change was the pioneer of social entrepreneurship in Sweden. We were the first organisation to use and push the term social entrepreneurship in the country. We continue to drive the ecosystem here and in many of other countries where we have been or currently work.
The founding principle at Reach for Change is that “One person’s idea can change the world”.
We were co-founded by a successful Swedish social entrepreneur, Sarah Damber, along with an investment company, called Svensk Insamlingskontroll. At the very beginning, our founders wanted to combine the best of the social and business worlds to find early-stage social entrepreneurs and help them thrive, in an effort to help bridge the funding gap for fledgling social ventures. We began by doing what is now our Core Program which is a 3-year accelerator. It offers tailored support to the social ventures we find. We offer support from the Ideation phase through to Proof of Concept, onwards to Growth phase, and now also Rapid Scale phase.
EN: Who are social entrepreneurs that Reach for Change works with? What are the criteria they must meet?
Maria: We find the most promising early-stage social entrepreneurs who have an innovation that can improve the lives of children and youth. Children and youth don’t necessarily have to be the direct beneficiary, but they must ultimately be the end beneficiary. For example, in Senegal, we work with agribusiness where helping the whole community as a whole has a very strong correlation to improving the lives of the children and youth in those communities. We also have a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs.
Reach for Change has five main criteria for the selection of our social ventures. We look at:
- Financial Sustainability & Viability of the Project
- Leadership & Team Development
- Systems Change
We want to nurture the ventures in such a way that they can reach a significant share of their target group with the ultimate goal being to eventually eradicate their identified problem.
EN: So, depending on their geographical location, the social entrepreneurs you work with are connected to your various international offices for support?
Maria: One of the special features of Reach for Change is that we will always support local ventures with local teams. We do have global short services team, that offers expertise across our markets but as a whole, the ventures are supported locally. We believe that to be sustainable you need to have a strong understanding of the local ecosystem and how that ecosystem works, to be able to promote and develop the ventures and the impact in the most sustainable and long-term way.
EN: Do you work with SDGs? Do you use them as a Key Performance Indicator when you measure the impact of your programmes?
Maria: Working towards the SDGs is built into the beginning of all our processes. From the beginning, we question which SDGs the intervention will tackle and then map that. Impact measurement and monitoring take place throughout the entire time the entrepreneurs are with us.
We work across the broad spectrum of SDGs but there are perhaps 5 or 6 that dominate our portfolio. We mainly work towards the SDGs relating to education, health, equality, and economic participation, but many of our interventions are intersectional. They might have one or two dominant SDGs but the intervention also touches upon many others. All of this is mapped out in our social impact report available online.
EN: Reach for Change is an international team with offices all over the world but what unites everyone are your organisation’s core values. Could you tell me more about your work ethics and how you manage to work transnationally?
Maria: We have been very well placed since the start of the pandemic, in the sense that we have been working remotely as one global organisation across all our markets from the very beginning. We always say that there is only one Reach for Change family. We have one global strategy that is then tailored to the specifics of the countries where we work. We achieve this because we have systems and ways of working in place that ensure a high level of best practice and insights sharing, as well as celebrating our failures and what we’ve learned from them.
EN: How do you see Reach for Change evolving over the next 5 years? What are your goals?
Maria: This year is our 10th anniversary. As of right now, we have over 1.000 social entrepreneurs in our portfolio across a network of 18 countries in Europe, Central Asia, and Africa and have impacted the lives of over 4.3 million children and youths with our interventions.
We have a very ambitious plan in place for the next 10 years. Later this year we will launch our 2030 strategy where we want to multiply our impact by tenfold. That is to say, by the year 2030, we want to support 3.000 social entrepreneurs who will in turn have reached and supported 30 million children and youths. We are looking for partners who wish to join us in this ambitious journey.
Also, across the next 5 years, we will continue our ecosystem development work to ensure that our ventures have the most promising environments to develop and scale, so that they can reach the System Change phase sooner.
EN: While tacking all these activities that you mentioned and your daily work, when did joining Euclid Network become of relevance?
Maria: We have followed your start and your work from the beginning. We are now at our own stage of development as an organisation where we are looking to access funding across a wide range of entities—foundations, institutions, and corporations. It is clear that you are a strong and nurturing network when it comes to accessing EU and OECD funding. We also very much believe in co-creation and partnerships as a way to maximise our impact and achieve more impact. And so, through your good reputation, we feel that is time to join, in order to help us reach our ambitious impact goals.
We looking forward to enabling new partnerships and projects between the members of Euclid Network!
Learn more about Reach for Change here!
“We find the most promising early-stage social entrepreneurs who have an innovation that can improve the lives of children and youth. ”
If you would like to find out more about how you can become a member of the Euclid Network please contact the Euclid Network team!