Better Incubation is a project by LIAISE

A Network of Networks fostering inclusion and accelerating impact in the European entrepreneurial ecosystem(s)

Capacity Building. Perspectives. Networks.

During the closing session of the final event of Better Incubation at the EVPA Annual Conference 2022, we asked the Better Incubation project managers of IHUB, EVPA and EBN to summarise their project experience in one word.

Lucia Radu, IHUB, highlighted the intense capacity building programme offered by Better Incubation through the Communities of Practice and the online Training Courses on Social Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Etrepreneurship and Impact Management and Measurement. More than a training opportunity, rather a dedicated space for BSOs to learn from peers and other relevant stakeholders committed to promote and support entrepreneurship as an opportunity for all in society – especially among the so-called Underrepresented and Vulnerable Groups.

Valeria Balzarini, EVPA, used the word perspective to explain how EVPA and its members used the Better Incubation project to rethink their approach to Underrepresented Entrepreneurs (UREs), this by connecting and working with BSOs and UREs directly.

Chiara Davalli, EBN, stressed the importance of Networks, of a Network of Networks like Better Incubation to achieve so many important results over a relatively short period of 2 years, where more than 133 entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs from URGs received incubation programmes from 21 organisations in 14 European countries. EBN, IHUB and EVPA, with the support and advice of Caritas Europa, ENSIE, EMES, Cooperatives Europe, managed to mobilise the European entrepreneurial ecosystem thanks to the active engagement of their members (EU|BICs, Impact Hubs and invesotrs for impact) who took this opportunity to rethink their programmes, their organisations and their ecosystems in a more inclusive and impact-driven way.

The event started in the morning with an EU Policy Workshop aimed at sharing and validating Better Incubation Policy Recommendations with policymakers, researchers, BSOs, investors for impact, regional development agencies, national agencies for social innovation and pan-European networks like Eurocities and Euclid. An interactive workshop where 25+ participants where asked to discuss the 6 issues identified by the project as the ones the entrepreneural ecosystem(s) in Europe need to consider and address to boost social and inclusive entrepreneurship in Europe.

Some of these policy recommendations were taken into account by Mrs Brigitte Fellahi-Brugneau, Head of Unit at DG Employment,  that during the afternoon session shared some reflections from the policymakers’ point of view on how Better Incubation contributed to promote and support social and inclusive entrepreneurship in Europe, by leveraging the knowledge, the competencies, the networks of mainstream business support organisations.

Then it was the turn of the Directors and Managers representing EVPA, IHUB and EBN who shared some insights on the relevance of the Better Incubation programme for their communities.

They all agreed that as organisations, the project offered a unique opportunity to grow knowledge, tools and methodologies for BSOs and investors for impact willing to broaden their scope to social and inclusive entrepreneurship. Moreover, Better Incubation enabled the three networks to involve their members and let them cooperate directly, this leading to new partnerships, opportunities and wider impact.

The event continued with the VOICES of Better Incubation: seven “ah-ah moments” telling the stories of EU|BICs, Impact Hubs, Investors for Impact and other stakeholders involved in the project activities. Regional policy workshops’ organisers, inclusive incubation programmes managers, CoPs experts and facilitators, trainings and networking events’ participants, investors mentoring winners of the Better Incubation Contest, Scaling Impact. These the perspectives represented in this crowded and emotional panel, a conversation that showed how Better Incubation successfully managed to kick-start an ecosystemic change in the incubation ecosystem.

Last but not least, the winners of the Better Incubation Contest were on stage to share how the scaling programme of Better Incubation project is helping them understanding and moving the first steps into new markets in Europe.

Believe, dare, learn and amplify your impact without giving up! This in a nutshell their advice to would-be entrepreneurs!

It was a great conclusion of two years of intense project activities. You can still watch the Better Incubation Project Finale recordings online!

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