About the Project
Social entrepreneurship is often underestimated within the EU. Social businesses employ over 11 million people in the EU which equals to 6% of total employment. Research has furthermore shown that many women are struggling with unemployment and lack of social perspectives, especially in small and rural communities. Overall, 9.5% of women in the EU are unemployed and are still facing barriers to employment, such as fewer promotional opportunities. In the area of selfemployment, the numbers are not much more promising; only 34.4% of women in Europe are self-employed even though being the larger population group (52% of the total European population is female). Social entrepreneurship can address these challenges. On the one hand, the EC has stated that Social Enterprises ‘generate sustainable jobs and have a stronger resilience to the crisis than the general economy’ social entrepreneurship combines innovation and social inclusion, and hereby it broadly contributes to the objectives of the EU2020 strategy. On the other hand, women who do decide to set up their own business often choose to do this in the areas of health, social-work, services or education, areas that correlate deeply with the ‘social’ aspect of social entrepreneurship. Bringing both elements together gives the EU-community an opportunity to further develop the under-exploited creativity and entrepreneurial potential of women, in turn leading to economic growth and employability.
The “Balkan Women Coalition vol. II – Social Start-Up Booster for Supporting Female entrepreneurship in Balkans” project is developed between 7 countries from the Balkan Region and aims to close the continuous entrepreneurial skills gap and lack of knowledge about social entrepreneurship among women, through an innovative approach that brings together women, social entrepreneurship and angel investment in a unique programme that will increase the number of successful social enterprises across Europe, improve gender equality and raise awareness of the importance of self-employment initiatives that focus on the support of social, cultural, or environmental issues.
The project is working on the preparation and piloting of the following main outputs:
- Output 1 – “Development of a skills assessment framework for social entrepreneurship” including country and overall reserach and analysis
- Output 2 – “Social Enterprise Booster Circle Methodology”. Development of a Facilitator’s Guide and Social Enterprise Booster Circle materials and training. training the facilitators.
- Output 3 – “Social Enterprise Booster Circle for Women – A Comprehensive Training Programme”. This package is focused on the implementation of the SE Booster Circles and the training activities offered to the project’s target group
- Output 4 – “Boost Your Social Enterprise – Building a sustainable network of business angels”. This package is focused on the development of the pitching platform and a Business
- Angels Network for social entrepreneurs
The partnership will address and combine the areas of social entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship, as these are both under-recognised and under-represented in the EU, in order to equip women who are currently running a social enterprise or are thinking of setting up a social enterprise with the skills, knowledge, best practices and latest community – based funding opportunities to set up and develop their ideas.
Through the development and piloting of the Pitching and E-learning Platform the project partners will build a socially engaged community by equipping it with an innovative and community-driven approach to attract funding and realise socially important project and initiatives. The project will develop a network of experts that will facilitate, build and ensure the sustainability of the project tools and results.
Increased skills, together with increased recognition of female social entrepreneurship will in turn increase women’s social inclusion as they are empowered to follow their selfemployment path. Particular emphasis will therefore also be given to women facing a double disadvantage (disabled women and women from rural areas) as they are even more under-represented in entrepreneurship. Between 25 and 50% of participants will be women facing a double disadvantage.
Finally, the Balkan Women Colaition II project will increase awareness amongst policymakers through its training materails, outlining how to make social enterprise support more accessible and inclusive to women and double disadvantaged women. The project will hereby enable women to get their voices heard by policymakers and will help promote the importance of making social enterprise support available to the target group, and ensure that more women across Europe can set up their social businesses.
Find out more about the project: http://www.balkancoalition.com/
The objective of the B-WCo II project is to develop social entrepreneurial capacities amongst women and broaden their entrepreneurial mindset. The partnership aims to equip women who are thinking of setting up a social enterprise and female start-ups who want to increase their social impact, with the skills, knowledge, best practices and latest funding opportunities to set up and develop their ideas and initiatives. This will be done through the innovative methodology of Social Enterprise Booster Circle, Angel Investment for Social Entrepreneurship – E-learning and Pitching Platform, Boost Your Social Enterprise – A Comprehensive Training Programme towards building a socially involved community and Boost Your Social Enterprise – Training of Community Leaders.
Special emphasis will be given to women facing a double disadvantage (disabled women and women from rural areas) as they are even more under-represented in entrepreneurship (25-50% of participants will be women facing a double disadvantage).
Balkan Women Coalition II brings together two important European dimensions: social entrepreneurship and the underrepresentation of women in the world of business. The project hereby aims to address an inherently transnational, EU-wide issue that aligns the Social Business Initiative as published by the EC in 2011 (covering the creation of a favourable climate for social enterprises) with the Entrepreneurship 2030 Action Plan by encouraging social self-employment among women. Small social enterprises are furthermore directly affected by a broad range of European legislation (such as the rules of the internal market), and it is, therefore, necessary to incorporate this transnational dimension in order to improve women’s awareness of the effect of the EU on their social enterprise. The partnership aims to support skills and competence development, increase networking opportunities through “Spread the word group”, encourage EU-business growth by boosting creativity, and further the setting up and growth of new/already existing social enterprises. The project will hereby boost and strengthen female social entrepreneurship, through a focus on employment for all while at the same time emphasising the importance of ‘ethical’ and ‘social’ principles underpinning the European perspective of sustainability and durability of the single market.
Balkan Women Colaition II sets out to target important societal, economic and equality issues faced by women in the field of entrepreneurship. It aims to increase their social entrepreneurial skills while simultaneously building their self-confidence and soft skills, which will see itself embodied in the pitching sessions participants will launch during the project lifetime. There are currently no EU funded projects that bring women, social entrepreneurship and angel investment together, hereby presenting a genuinely innovative approach. The innovative focus goes further than just the combination of these two dimensions.
The method of implementation that has been selected is relatively simple. The project will be developed and implemented according to the main structure of the outputs and activities, which will be based on joint development, joint implementation, joint staffing and joint financing among partners. The project will be built on previous knowledge acquired by the participation of the partners in the project “Balkan Women Coalition for Professional Qualification and Training in the field of Business and Economic Science”, the predecessor of Balkan Women Coalition vol. II.
The training methodology developed by ABW North Macedonia with the cooperation of SEGE and KAGIDER – Social Enterprise Booster Circles. This unique training programme, bringing together Action Learning, coaching and mentoring principles to support and build confidence and selfefficacy of the learner, will be amended to the specific target group of women who are thinking of setting up a social enterprise and female start-ups who want to increase their social impact, leading to the development of the Social Enterprise Booster Circle.
E-learning and Pitching Platform for Social Entrepreneurs – the platform itself is innovative for most of the countries. What is more important is that the project’s online platform will combine and visualise local online pitchning sessions of the countries/communities – participating in the project and thus foster the exchange of experience and good practices between communities. Also, the platform will allow for the creation of local investement opportunities – fully customizable and easily manageable by local partners/supporters.
Boost Your Social Enterprise – Building a sustainable network of business angels – Angel investment is a hands-on instrument that facilitates entrepreneurial and social skills. It is based on principles of participative financing and social change. Resources and funding are invested by the general public in projects with a positive impact on society, in exchange for an original reward involving the public in the activities and aims of the project. Angel investment is a successful and innovative instrument to gather financial support while at the same time raising awareness of social issues.