On the 10th of February 2022, Euclid Network (EN) organised its annual EU Project Building Workshop. Joined by over 50 participants representing 31 organisations that tirelessly work towards a more inclusive and sustainable economy across Europe and beyond, we dived into a whole day on EU funding.

The results of EN’s Member Consultation and the results of the European Social Enterprise Monitor 2020-2021 have made it clear: accessing and navigating through EU funding can be a real challenge for social enterprise support organisations and their networks. For this reason, we have made it a key priority at EN to support social enterprises and their support organisations in accessing EU funding. One integral part of doing so, is our annual EU Project Building Workshop, which takes a deep dive into new and updated EU funding programmes and enables participants to learn more about project development and project application skills as well as to connect with one another. 

During this year’s EU Project Building Workshop, we were joined by outstanding experts that provided first-hand insights and took participants through all steps of EU funding and EU projects: from strategic project development and identifying the right EU funding programmes to receiving insights into the evaluation process of EU project proposals and how to best manage them once approved.

Strategic project development

During this interactive design session, Christian Vietz (Head of Social Innovation at EN) invited participants to develop project ideas in line with their organisation’s strategic focus over the coming years. Based on their strategic focus, ranging from social procurement and inclusive support programmes to education and training on social entrepreneurship, participants were able to explore synergies with fellow organisations and develop new project ideas in dedicated breakout rooms.

What can the EU do for you? – EU funding for social enterprise

Over the last years, the European Commission has increasingly recognised the key role of social enterprises in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and as drivers towards a more sustainable and inclusive economy for people and the planet. For this reason, the European Commission has developed a great variety of funding programmes and financial instruments, to support the vital work of social enterprises and their support organisations across Europe and beyond. During the European Commission expert panel on EU funding for social enterprises, moderated by our Head of Policy & EU Relations Veerle Klijn, Dana Gabriela Verbal (DG EMPL), Karel Vanderpoorten (DG GROW) and Marta Muñoz (DG EAC) shed light onto suitable EU funding programmes for social enterprises and their support organisations. Some of the highlighted programmes were: ESF+, Single Market Programme, Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. To find out more those programmes and what to keep in mind when applying, check out EN’s EU Funding Toolkit for social enterprises and their support organisations.

Behind the scenes of EU project evaluation

Alexandra Yaghil, who is an expert on EU fundraising, project management and project evaluation, held an interactive workshop on how to write a winning EU project proposal. Given her years of experience behind the scenes of EU project evaluation, she gave participants valuable insights e.g. into which criteria to keep special attention to and how to break down the objectives of EU calls into achievable actions.

EU Project Management

After having had a look at strategic project development, how to find a suitable EU funding programme and how to submit a successful project proposal, the last session of the day focused on peer learning for effective EU project management – led by Gerlinde Schmidt (Project Officer at EN). Joined by Alessandro Carbone (Senior project manager at the Academy of Entrepreneurship) and Christian Vietz we collectively looked at tips and tools on how to successfully manage EU projects. What became apparent during this session, is that soft skills are equally important as hard skills of project management, as managing change and consortium partners from different countries forms an integral part of EU projects.  

With new insights in the pocket and having made new connections across Europe, we wish all participants successful EU project applications to keep creating positive impact.

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