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What are future social entrepreneurs supposed to know and be able to do? What techniques and tools are to be used to help social innovators turn their ideas into a working business? These and many other issues were discussed by the participants from Germany, Croatia and Ukraine who met to share their experiences within the Act4Impact (Erasmus +) project on December 10-14.

Despite economic problems, imperfect legislation and the relative novelty of the concept of “social entrepreneurship” in Ukraine, the ecosystem of social entrepreneurship is developing every year. “Today, the development of social entrepreneurship in Ukraine is a positive trend. Remember, seven or ten years ago, social initiatives, fairs for the vulnerable, social fundraising were single instances. Now this trend is visible to the naked eye: the number of such initiatives is growing every year”, – says the CEO of the Ukrainian Social Academy Mykhailo Melnyk.

The positive thing is that social entrepreneurship is developing not only domestically, but it is also reaching the level of international partnership. On December 10-14, the Ukrainian Social Academy hosted an exchange for the employees of education initiatives in the field of “Youth Workers Exchange” social entrepreneurship in Kyiv. Each of the organizations participating in the exchange (Ukrainian Social Academy, Starkmacher, Udruga Za Ekonomiju Zajednistva) runs an acceleration program for social entrepreneurs in their country. Therefore, the meeting began with the presentations of the results of programs and the descriptions of launched social enterprises.

“I think the experience of the partners is very useful to me. It was interesting to learn what projects and initiatives are being implemented in other countries. I was amazed to see what the Ukrainian Social Academy was doing – it helped to set up a social business for a large number of young people”, – said the Starkmacher founder Mathias Kaps (Germany).

When you work in the sphere of innovations, you need to admit your mistakes and be able to learn from them. Therefore, the whole evening was devoted to the analysis of ideas that for some reason did not work. “It was useful to share the experience of victories and defeats – and to understand how partners from other countries solve similar problems. While all organizations are very different, sharing gave me many new ideas. After all, we have a common goal and purpose – but often we go to it by different ways, ”- says Peter Fabian, the founder of Udruga Za Ekonomiju Zajednistva.

The exchange was not limited to discussions and presentations only. By visiting the Urban Space 500 and Veterano Pizza, the exchange participants were able to see at first hand how social enterprises operate in Ukraine. “There is a huge potential for the development of social entrepreneurship market in Ukraine, they can be realized here in many spheres and areas,” says Mathias.

To see how insights and new tools will affect the concept of the Accelerator of social entrepreneurship, will soon be possible – follow the announcements on the Academy page on Facebook.

The Act4Impact project is funded with the support of the European Commission. The publication reflects the authors’ views and the Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.