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Things happen relatively quickly in the world of Social Enterprise and if we blink for too long, we are likely to have missed a conference, meeting, webinar or policy change explaining the next step forward in our plight to change the world! So we thought as we are half-way through 2022 already it would be a good moment to stop and reflect on everything that has been achieved. In brief, here are some of our highlights of the year so far.

Euclid Network (EN) Impact Summit

In March EN hosted the bi-annual Impact Summit, built around the theme “Collectively Shaping Tomorrow”, the EN Impact Summit’s aim was to create and strengthen meaningful connections between impact-driven entrepreneurs, representatives of non-profit and social entrepreneurship national alliances, networks and support organisations, social investors, corporate innovators, academics, researchers and policy makers.

At the Summit we saw members from the EN community and beyond come together to share, inform, educate and virtually network at the 2-day summit. The hybrid event was a first for EN, forced as many were, to be creative with technology and host the event semi-virtually due to the constraints of COVID-19. It was a great success and has led to many discussions on how virtual events can somewhat ironically be more inclusive than in person events, especially for those who can’t travel or who are bound by busy schedules.

The discussion continues if virtual / hybrid/ or in person events are the way forward…

Top 100 Women

The Impact Summit also saw the launch of the 2022 Top 100 women where women in the social enterprise sector were celebrated, spotlighting their impact journey and achievements, connecting them to learn from and inspire each other. The women featured are from all different backgrounds and locations with a variety of businesses from all over Europe.

By collectively fostering and celebrating the spirit of empowered women leaders in Europe, we accelerate progress towards a more gender-equal world. Features about each of the women can be found here.

Social Economy, the Future of Europe

The beginning of May saw the Social Economy, the Future of Europe conference in Strasbourg.

Taking part in the conference included Paz Díaz Nieto, General Director of EU Funds, and David Sanjuan, Project Manager at European Projects Office, from the Regional Ministry of Economic and Finance of the Government of Cantabria who showcased their regional work to boost the social economy, their ongoing projects as well as their role as an Interreg managing authority. Also taking part were Social Enterprise founders Stefanos Kamperis from Staramaki Social Cooperative, and Joyce Knappe, from Pro Parents, who discussed their journey towards accessing funding allowing their enterprises to scale successfully and what they hope for the future. EN also hosted a workshop on access to EU Funding discussing what to keep in mind when applying as well as tools on how to access funding. In addition, EN contributed to the Social Transition Pathways workshop by the European Commission and the European Social Enterprise Monitor initiative was featured and discussed in a workshop about the future of social economy and social enterprise data, together with amongst others dr. Fabio Ricciato from Eurostat and Patrick Klein, Head of Sector Social Economy and Social Enterprise, from the European Commission.

Other funding experts such as Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org EMEA, Bianca Polidoro, Senior Policy and EU Relations Manager at EVPA, Gorgi Krlev, Assistant Professor Sustainability at ESCP Europeand Neven Marinovic, Director of Smart Kolektiv and President of the board of EN led physical roundtables with participants to brainstorm solutions for some of the challenges highlighted by the SEs.

Needless to say, this great meeting of minds left everyone with multiple take- aways and a great deal of inspiration.

World Economic Forum

May also saw the launch of Schwab Foundation’s Insights Report titled Unlocking the Social Economy – towards an inclusive and resilient society at the The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos. EN is proud to be a partner in creating this report together with Deloitte, Catalyst 2030 and Motsepe Foundation. The report showcases the many ways in which the social economy, fuelled by social innovation, can tackle some of the most pressing development challenges of our time while contributing to jobs and sustained economic activity.

For the first time ever, Social Enterprise was featured on the agenda at this prestigious event and was a definite indicator that business for social good is starting to be recognized at a global level as a contender in helping to change the world.

Developing a lasting cooperation – the next Social Economy Mission?
Towards the end of May the Hanover Social Innovation Center organised an event following on from a previous workshop organised with the Resilient Regional Ecosystems for Social Innovation (R.R.E.S.I) Network. Those taking part included Impact City The Hague (NL), the Province of Antwerp (BE), the City of Aalst (BE) and Efeler District (TU).

The discussion and collaboration between the R.R.E.S.I. the network is set to continue and it is encouraging to see European Cities working together to promote and encourage sustainability.

Belgrade Social Innovation Forum

June saw the Social Innovation Forum in Belgrade (#SIF2022) which is an important event to highlight as it represented and united the wider European and neighboring ecosystems, who historically have not been quite so involved as those in the west.

At the Forum, hosted by Smart Kolektiv, the participants were able to talk through common challenges, needs and achievements. It was so important to witness cross-border and regional collaboration among stakeholders particularly in the Western Balkans, and to also introduce new organizations to one another. Moreover, it became very clear that challenges were often the same, or similar, across borders. The event resulted in representatives of the national and regional organizations looking to continue to seek cooperation and collaboration as a strategy towards growth, development and extending the reach of their impact.

Other Milestone to Mention

Other milestones include the launch of the Global State of social enterprise the British Council and Social Enterprise UK. The first global social enterprise census reveals ‘one of the largest movements of our time. Also the The Manual on Legal Frameworks for Social Enterprises,was launched by the OECD to provide policy makers with comprehensive steps to successfully adopt and implement legal frameworks for social enterprises. In addition, the InvestEU Fund, the new European flagship programme to support investments in the European Union, was launched. The InvestEU Fund unlocks crucial long-term funding for a.o. social enterprises by leveraging substantial private and public funds in support of a sustainable recovery.

The Next 6 Months

What lies ahead of us? With the Raise Now Summit, Social Enterprise World Forum in September and Impact Fest to look forward to in November, to name just a few further highlights, we are sure that there is always something of interest to sign up to.

The Social Enterprise wheel doesn’t stop moving and with all these great events, and discussions taking place one thing is for sure that the movement for change is gathering momentum.

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