The Summer School of Innovations and Social Entrepreneurship within the Incubation Program conducted by Ukrainian Social Academy is over. The whole week youth from all over the country was working on improving the ideas of their social projects. This year, the finalists of the first stage of the international contest Social Impact Award and alumni of other programs of the Ukrainian Social Academy became the participants of the Summer School. We summed up the results of the summer school and got the key messages about the benefits that our participants got.
1. The Summer School of Innovations and Social Entrepreneurship is all about the opportunities. First of all, that’s about the possibilities for self-development, new experience and knowledge, which are often in lack for young social entrepreneurs to start their own business. Knowledge is the foundation, that is vital for running any business. The team of Ukrainian Social Academy has created all the necessary conditions for giving the participants the opportunity to study and understand better business processes. As a result, young innovators were taught to build properly a marketing strategy, to position their brand on the market, to tell effective stories and to communicate with the target audience. In addition, the participants learned about the legal aspects of social business, understood how to cope with financial difficulties and mastered the formula for optimization of business processes. At the end of the academic week, they talked with experts about leadership skills and the ways of forming a great team. Each lecture gave a better understanding of the necessary steps for launching a social business.
2. Networking. The Ukrainian Social Academy seeks to build an ecosystem of social entrepreneurship in Ukraine, that is why their team is trying to unite young innovators for the exchanging the experience and knowledge. The Summer School of Innovations has become a platform for establishing new acquaintances. In the sphere of social business it is very important to be heard, and it concerns not only the external environment, but the internal climate as well. So the participants got a great opportunity to get contacts from experts, ask for their advice and to seize the chance to keep communicating with them.
3. Community of like-minded people. The feature of the Summer School lies in building the community. The Social Academy is forming a circle of like-minded people who are ready to change the country today. The community strengthens and gives an understanding that only by uniting we can succeed. During the summer school, the participants got inspired by the stories of their associates and shared their vision and thoughts on launching social business.
4. Practice. The summer school was focused on the practical application of obtained knowledge and skills. After each lecture, participants completed tasks for better mastering of the theoretical material and, together with the lecturers, analyzed the cases of their own projects.
5. Expert support. On the first day of the Summer School of Innovations, each participant received a notebook for completing the home task. All tasks were thoroughly checked by lecturers and helped participants to organize their work better. With the help of textbooks that was much easier for experts to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the project and to give some pieces of advice for it’s improvement.
6. Teamwork. For building a successful business, it’s very important to know how to work in a team. That is why during the summer school everyday the participants practiced their skills in small teams and discussed the difficulties and outcomes they face.
7. Excursions and entertainment. The Summer School of Innovations and Social Entrepreneurship is not only about learning, but also about entertainment as the best way to spend time effectively and get away. That is why, after each working day the participants had the opportunity to play business games as an introduction to a new topic. In addition, there were organized some excursions to active social enterprises in Kyiv and it was really of a great importance for everyone. Participants visited the charity shop “Laska”, where they learned more about the business model of the store and met with the owner of the restaurant Veterano Pizza.
8. Time to improve your projects. The Summer School of Innovations has been quite intense, but it is just a boost for refinement of their projects. After finishing the school, everyone will be able to work on the problem sides they find in their project and do their utmost to avoid threats before starting a businesses. Participants will have three months to deepen their work and analyze their projects.
9. The path to mentoring support. Thanks to the Summer School, each participant will get an individual mentor who will help them to deal with all the difficulties they face and monitor the development of the project. Mentors will share information and knowledge in the areas that are quite challenging for young entrepreneurs. Hopefully that will stimulate their personal and business development.
10. Chance to start their own social business. The ultimate goal of the Summer School and the Incubation Program is to launch social businesses. Young change makers, armed with new knowledge and fruitful collaboration with mentors, will eventually be ready to launch their social enterprises. The Ukrainian Social Academy strives to ensure that everyone who comes here with an idea would be able to come up with a business plan that will work. That is the purpose that we are working on!