Better Incubation is a project by LIAISE

Call for Interest : Better Incubation Regional Policy Workshops

Call for Interest : Better Incubation Regional Policy Workshops

Impact Hub and EBN networks are looking for interested business support organizations to join us in planning and hosting of the 15 regional workshops to harvest ideas and related policy recommendations on inclusive incubation ecosystems on the regional/local level.

The main objective of the regional policy workshops will be to bring out and amplify the role of business support organizations as catalysts of the entrepreneurial support ecosystem for the social and vulnerable entrepreneurs. The ecosystem change cannot be generated by the incubators alone and therefore through the workshops we intend to mobilise the local ecosystem players. The policy workshops should thus act as an enabling space for business intermediaries to connect and exchange with other stakeholders in the ecosystem.

Selection Criteria:

  • Part of IHUB network or EBN member
  • Be headquartered in one of the EaSI countries
  • Ideally participated in one of the five Liaise CoPs
  • Connections with organizations in the field of social entrepreneurship / underrepresented groups (URG) entrepreneurship
  • Connection with local / regional policymakers / alignment with local / regional policies in the field of social entrepreneurship / URG entrepreneurship
  • Connections to other business support organizations in order to expand the impact of the project findings by sharing their knowledge with peers
  • Capacity to report in English (workshops will be held in local languages)

You can find more information in Brief for hosting BSO, or contact us directly  : (EBN network) or (Impact Hub network)

If you have decided to get involved, please send an email with the Letter of Interest to  by 29 April 2022.


International Conference for Sharing Best Practices: Economic and Social Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers through Social Entrepreneurship

The work and experience gathered through the Better Incubation Community of Practice on migrants and refugees was featured on the International Conference for Sharing Best Practices: Economic and Social Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers through Social Entrepreneurship, held on 10 March – 11 March 2022.

The exchange event organised by University of Bologna under the Interreg-Adrion REInSER project, brought together scholars and practitioners across Europe to discuss inspiring initiatives of refugees integration through social entrepreneurship and to enrich the debate on some of the most relevant issues surrounding this topic.

The Better Incubation project consortium (EBN, Impact Hub and EVPA) was represented by Lucia Radu from Impact Hub who shared  the main findings from the project at the Policy and Practice roundtable “Experiencing Social Entrepreneurship by/for refugees”. She introduced best practices explored by the Better Incubation and its thematic Community of Practice on how to better integrate migrants and refugees into the society through the entrepreneurship and what are the key barriers these entrepreneurs face in the process.

The key challenges include competing priorities, diversity of participants considering their backgrounds and countries of origins, language barriers, difficulties to reach the target groups and recruit them in the incubation programmes. The diverse approaches how these challenges can be addressed by the business incubators through adjusted services and support were also discussed.

Empreendedorismo 5.0: supporting seniors entrepreneurship in Portugal

From December 2021 through April 2022, twenty business incubators from EBN and IHUB networks, working in the five thematic Communities of practice, have incubated more than 115 enterpreneurs  from under-represented communities  across 14 different European countries.

In  the upcoming weeks, the series of blogs created by Impact Hub will give you a closer look at stories of business incubators helping vulnerable entrepreneurs such as women, youth, migrants and refugees, seniors and people with disabilities to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. 

Empreendedorismo 5.0: supporting seniors entrepreneurship in Portugal

When facing retirement, around 10% of people dream of starting their own business and 73% need to continue working for financial reasons in Portugal. No wonder there is a growing number of people considering a second career and looking to create start-ups. In view of this panoram – and inspired by the successful pilots of the programme in other European countries -, the Instituto Pedro Nunes launched in 2020 the Portuguese version of Empreendedorismo 5.0

In the framework of Better Incubation, Impact Hub joined forces with European-wide partners to achieve systemic change towards a more inclusive social entrepreneurship environment in the region. For that end, thematic Communities of Practice (CoP) were developed as a means for participants to exchange their knowledge and share their experiences on how to best support entrepreneurs from under-represented groups. Empreendedorismo 5.0 was one of the CoP’s programmatic approaches appointed as an inspiring best practice devoted to supporting seniors’ entrepreneurship.

How are they supporting seniors’ entrepreneurship?

Developed within the scope of EIT Health,  a ‘knowledge and innovation community’ of 150 partner organisations created in 2015, Empreendedorismo 5.0 is aimed at people over 50 – employed, unemployed, retired or inactive – who have a business idea and want to develop entrepreneurial skills, as well as enhance their experience, strengthen their network of contacts, share and learn. Its overall goal is to support the creation of startups aimed at healthy living, reducing the risk of financial vulnerability and active aging, providing new perspectives, tools and knowledge through courses.

Empreendedorismo 5.0 is supporting seniors’ entrepreneurial endeavors through an eight-week entrepreneurship capacity-building training and mentoring programme delivered in a mixed format. The format provides a combination of 3 face-to-face sessions and remote online sessions.

In this way, regardless of their place of residence – and level of knowledge, as it does not require prior experience -, participants can engage in the most convenient way for them and adapt at their own pace, whilst maintaining permanent online access to content, trainers and mentors.


With a previously defined training trajectory including a vast array of topics, the progreamme’s participants learn to explore the market, and receive permanent personal specialized support in various subjects related to entrepreneurship and the world of business.

Despite the fact that Empreendedorismo 5.0 is a recent initiative and is still ongoing, the results achieved so far are worthy of recognition and reveal a promising future: among the more than 50 selected participants, over 40 seniors have been highly involved in the process together with 33 mentors. In addition, three start-up projects have already been created and supported within the programme’s framework.

Author of this post: Impact Hub 

Innovation for More Inclusive Urban Spaces: the Case of MiFriendly Cities

From December 2021 through April 2022, twenty business incubators from EBN and IHUB networks, working in the five thematic Communities of practice, have incubated more than 115 enterpreneurs  from under-represented communities  across 14 different European countries.

In  the upcoming weeks, the series of blogs created by Impact Hub will give you a closer look at stories of business incubators helping vulnerable entrepreneurs such as women, youth, migrants and refugees, seniors and people with disabilities to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. 


Innovation for More Inclusive Urban Spaces: the Case of MiFriendly Cities

With over 100 languages spoken daily within its borders, the West Midlands is considered to be the most diverse and heavily urbanised area in the United Kingdom, outside of London. For the same reason, it is also believed to be the second most diverse region in Europe. As one might imagine, all this diversity brings with it an untapped resource of skills and ideas.

Untapping the potential of diverse communities

In October 2017, the European Union’s Urban Innovative Actions fund awarded €4,2 million to Coventry, Birmingham and Wolverhampton for a 3-year initiative called MiFriendly Cities. The project looked to develop innovative, community-led and sustainable approaches to enhance the contribution of refugees and migrants across the region.

In a nutshell, the aim of MiFriendly Cities was to build stronger communities and promote innovation for more inclusive urban spaces. How? By encouraging employers, health services and the wider public to come together and drive change at both city and regional level. While some of the developed activities were tailored to specific groups, the overall programme involved a broad range of residents in the region, including the ones who define themselves as ‘migrants’.

In the context of the Better Incubation’s Communities of Practice targeted at understanding migrants’ challenges to entrepreneurship and leveraging learnings from successful inclusive experiences, MiFriendly Cities was appointed as an inspiring best practice that supports vulnerable entrepreneurs in the European region. Promoted by Impact Hub along with partners, Better Incubation is an Europe-based initiative dedicated to achieving systemic change through enhancing Business Support Organisations’ skills, methods and tools towards a more diverse entrepreneurship environment.

MiFriendly Cities: Approach and Methodology

To reach their goal, the innovative programme of activities delivered by MiFriendly Cities focused on five main themes. For the first one – jobs -, a network called ‘Migration Friendly Employers’ was created. The Network’s aim was mainly centered in strengthening the workforce of the West Midlands by creating a robust infrastructure which offers ongoing support and increases contact between communities in the workplace.

The second axis, skills, aimed at identifying skills gaps in the region and creating pathways towards further education and employment opportunities for refugees and migrants. They put together an innovative training programme that could benefit all communities and acknowledged the region’s aspirations to become the centre for advanced manufacturing in Europe.

Similarly, by supporting local and refugee and migrant entrepreneurs to start new businesses, MiFriendly Cities hoped to expand job opportunities and strengthen the wider economy. The region also faces many social challenges – in areas such as housing and healthcare – they wanted to meet these challenges by nurturing and funding creative grassroots projects, which are aimed at improving the quality of life for everyone.


By combining these three fields of action, the project envisioned to empower refugees and migrants to aid in driving the economic success of the region by creating new job and work placement opportunities, engaging with employers about hiring from within this community, and highlighting the skills and passion of everyone in our cities.

Additionally, MiFriendly Cities also focused on supporting refugees and migrants active participation in the civil society and encouraging them to use their voices – to spread a message, share a story, or simply to get to know other people in their city. To build the confidence to do so, the migrants’ comprehension of their legal, civil and political rights was considered an important factor for the program as well.

Finally, by promoting the values and knowledge of effective community building and encouraging innovation for more inclusive urban spaces, the project looked to invest in the future of the region, and inspire cities across Europe to also become the MiFriendly Cities of the future.

Highlights from the wrap up 

By the end of 2020, MiFriendly Cities had invested €80,000 in migrant social entrepreneurs, 28 projects were pitched for seed funding and 16 social enterprises were registered as businesses. If that was not good enough, with support of the programme, an initial of 45 jobs were created, more than 40 migrants and refugees were trained, and 2,361 beneficiaries were supported. To date, 44% of the involved social enterprises have been able to adapt and continue throughout the lockdown with many more planning for an uncertain future.

Author of this post: Impact Hub 

RCCI: Creating a culture of social innovation and entrepreneurship for youth in Bulgaria

Last February, EBN Certification and Impact Manager, Florian Sora met RCCI Executive Director Milen Dobrev, Desislava Dimitrova, Expert EU programs and projects as well as the overall team of the EU|BIC, Innobridge in the framework of Better Incubation project.  

RCCI is involved in the Better Incubation project, implemented by EBN with two partner pan European networks (Impact Hub and European Venture Philanthropy Association), focusing on building capacities and providing tools and methodologies for the mainstream business support organisations to adopt inclusive incubation practices. Together with other 10 EBN members and 10 Impact Hubs, RCCI actively participates in the Communities of practice which serve as a platform for the incubators to learn and experiment with the new incubation approaches by reaching out to groups of entrepreneurs who are underrepresented or face greater barriers in business creation and self-employment. Under this initiative, RCCI has  launched its pilot programme for young entrepreneurs and provides them with tailored business support services, including coaching and mentoring so they can feel more confident to seize new business opportunities and run their businesses ideas.

Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an NGO for the public benefit, providing a wide range of quality services to over 1000 member and non-member companies to help develop and expand their businesses, both at home and internationally. It proactively contributes to the economic development of the Ruse region, provides support and representation of the business and entrepreneurs on a regional and national level (also through the National Network of Chambers of Commerce and Industries and EBN). 

Thanks to the recommendations of the EU|BIC community and the EBN secretariat colleagues, the Ruse Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) – the regional body responsible for the Promotion of the economic development of the Bulgarian Ruse region – and its EU|BIC were able to share and transfer good practices on those topics. As a result of our common work, our organization was one of the first in the country to support social entrepreneurial ideas even though national legislation on the social economy was not in place in 2015.

With 6 partners from 4 countries, RCCI drew out and promotes the competencies that a European Expert in Social Innovation Incubation should possess as part of ESII project (2015 -2017).

As members of the EU|BIC community, we were among the first to support the creation of an European online ecosystem for social innovation, aiming to match social challenges with their solutions – We built on that momentum and now we actively promote the concept of socially responsible business and continue to educate our society on the topic.

At RCCI we believe that the entrepreneurial mindset should be promoted at a very young age, and we took the challenge to transfer the know-how we previously built to the education system. We started involving students aged 12 to 15 in novel education programmes, focused on social entrepreneurship and its importance. We are happy to say that thanks to the involvement of real social entrepreneurs from several EU countries in the process we managed to raise young people’s awareness towards the important social issues and to empower them with the key knowledge and skills. We were deeply impressed by the presentation of children’s ideas within Better Incubation local pitching session in Ruse and are confident to say that among them there are going to be some future social entrepreneurs.

On a more personal level, I am thrilled to say that being part of an international community of practice, as part of the Better Incubation project, was extremely beneficial and further improved my expertise around social and youth entrepreneurship. What’s more, I was able to meet with many high-qualified professionals with whom I hope to continue working in the future.

Desislava Dimitrova, Expert EU programs and projects at RCCI

Picture taken during the pitching session of the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme in Ruse CCI.

First Silver Economy Conference in Spain

Better Incubation Project presented at the 1st Silver Economy Conference in Spain

The member of the Better Incubation Community of Practice – Seniors, Centre of Business and Innovation CEEIAragon is a business support organisation and the member of the EBN network based in Zaragoza, Spain.

On 6th April CEEIARAGON will participate in the Conference ‘Silver Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ organised by the Ibercaja Foundation and the San Jorge University in collaboration with the organization Seniors Leading.   CEEIARAGON will share its experience with two initiatives on the silver economy it has been implementing, one of them being the pilot programme for senior entrepreneurs in the Better Incubation project.



Applications for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2022 are open

The European Innovation Council (EIC) launched the ninth edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators. The Prize celebrates the women entrepreneurs behind Europe’s game-changing innovations, to inspire more women to follow their footsteps.

The EU Prize for Women Innovators is funded under Horizon Europe, the EU research and innovation programme. The EIC will award three prizes of €100,000 each to the most inspiring women innovators across the EU and Associated Countries, including Ukraine. To mark the European Year of Youth, the EIC will be awarding a further three prizes of €50 000 each to promising ‘Rising Innovators’ under the age of 35.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, opened the competition today on International Women’s Day in the French city of Strasbourg.

Commissioner Gabriel said: “The empowerment of women and girls is at the core of our European values and goals. Throughout my portfolio, we aim to foster environments that help women succeed, and lead in their respective fields. This year, we highlight some key initiatives undertaken to support women in science, innovation, culture and education.”

The prize is open to women from all EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe, who have founded an innovative company.

The deadline for applications is 18 August 2022 at 17:00 (CET). The prize is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency, and the winners are chosen by an independent expert jury.

Discover more details and find the application form here

For further information about the EU Gender Equality Strategy and European Commission’s support for women in research, science and education is available here > Gender equality in research and innovation


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