Better Incubation is a project by LIAISE

Better Incubation Project Finale|Towards a more inclusive and impact driven approach to innovative entrepreneurship

The European Action Plan Building an economy that works forpeople: an action plan for the socialeconomy “ (2021-2030) launched by the European Commission recognises the importance that the mainstream BSOs have in the support of social economy entities (p.14) :

The Commission calls on Member States to encourage mainstream business incubators to extend their support to social economy entities, to improve business investment readiness support opportunities. The ‘Better Incubator’ pilot launched by the European Commission can serve as inspiration’ .

Better Incubation aims to enhance the inclusiveness of BSOs by stimulating a wider cultural change in the incubation ecosystem, therefore involving regional and EU stakeholders (investors, policymakers, social actors, BSOs) that can contribute to this paradigm shift.

After 2 years of project activities, it is time to share key learnings on how to boost the promotion and support of impact-driven and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe and beyond.

Organised in the framework of the EVPA Annual Conference 2022,  the session “Better Incubation: Project Finale | Towards an impact-driven and inclusive approach to innovative entrepreneurship in Europe” is structured in 4 key moments:

  1. How BSOs can contribute to the implementation of the Social Economy Action Plan? Brigitte Fellahi-Brognaux, Head of Unit, European Commission DG EMPL
  2. Beyond Better Incubation – Partner Networks’ reflections on the way forward A conversation with Tatiana Glad, IHUB; Roberta Bosurgi, EVPA ; Laura Lecci, EBN
  3. “Voices of Better Incubation” We’ll hear different experiences of Better Incubation. What did the programme offer to their orgnisations, their territories and communities? What are the plans for the future?
  4. Scaling Impact. Meet the Winners of the Better Incubation Contest 2022. We’ll discover the entrepreneurial journey of the three finalists of the Better Incubation Contest 2022| Scaling Impact. Their stories, their plans, their impact

The session starts at 14.30 CET and it is going to be live streamed on Better Incubation Twitter account, LinkedIn page and EBN YouTube Channel

AGENDA

Room Orangerie, on the 2nd floor & Live Streaming

14:30-14:40 Welcome and introduction about Better Incubation, Chiara Davalli, EBN
14.40-15.10

 

How BSOs can contribute to the implementation of the Social Economy Action Plan?

Brigitte Fellahi-Brognaux, Head of Unit, European Commission DG EMPL

Beyond Better Incubation – Partner Networks’ reflections on the way forward

A conversation with Tatiana Glad, IHUB; Roberta Bosurgi, EVPA ; Laura Lecci, EBN

15.10-15.30 “Voices of Better Incubation” moderated by Lucia Radu, Impact Hub

We’ll hear different experiences of Better Incubation. What did the programme offer to their orgnisations, their territories and communities? What are the plans for the future?

·        Viktoria Soregi, IHUB Budapest

●       Francisco Pizarro, EU|BIC Fundecyt PCTEX

●       Francesco Rocca, IHUB Lisbon

●       Hrishabh Sandilya, EPIM

●       EVPA, Impact Shakers (TBC)

●       Kristian Mancinone, EU|BIC Associate ART-ER

●       Nayla Attas, Impact Hub Global

15.30-15.50 Scaling Impact. Meet the Winners of the Better Incubation Contest 2022, moderated by Laura Lecci, EBN

We’ll discover the entrepreneurial journey of the three finalists of the Better Incubation Contest 2022| Scaling Impact. Their stories, their plans, their impact.

●       Fela Akinse, Salubata

●       Kemal Çelik, Needs Map 

●       Ondřej Kolařík, ARBO Technologies

15.50-16.00 Closing session with the three partner networks

 

Better Incubation Newsletter #7 is out!

The seventh issue of the Better Incubation Newsletter describes the upcoming opportunities :

  • Better Incubation Scaling Programme for the 3 finalists of the Better Incubation Contest 2022
  • Innovation, impact, SDGs, and inclusivity of innovative entrepreneurs – the story of the 2022 EBN Techcamp by Better Incubation
  • Better Incubation facts and figures – key project highlights
  • Better Incubation final event at EVPA Annual Conference 2022

Find out more information about Better Incubation news by reading the newsletter here : Better Incubation Newsletter 7_November 2022

Innovation, impact, SDGs, and inclusivity of innovative entrepreneurs – the story of the 2022 EBN Techcamp by Better Incubation

Over 80 international business support experts, thought leaders, and innovation practitioners gathered in Lipica, Slovenia, for the 2022 EBN Techcamp powered by Better Incubation. Stemming from 26 different European and neighbouring countries, participants discussed the importance of diversity in entrepreneurship support.

Techcamp showcased experiences and strategies and co-developed innovation support programs to give the European innovation ecosystem a competitive advantage by embracing diversity and an impact-driven approach to supporting (tech) entrepreneurship.

It was held on the 19th and 20th of October in Lipica, Slovenia, to explore the European innovation ecosystem’s untapped potential in becoming more inclusive and diverse and how to re-strategize, upskill and expand business support services to service a new generation of impactful start-ups. It was co-hosted by EU|BIC Inkubator Sežana and was powered by Better Incubation, a project funded by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.

Inkubator Sežana is one of our quality-certified EU|BICS who decided to join the Better Incubation project. They quickly became an example for the community by designing a successful and effective incubation support programme for hearing-impaired entrepreneurs. Their motivation and success, as well as the celebration of their 30th anniversary, are one of the sources of inspiration that brought the EBN Techcamp to Lipica.

The EBN Techcamp is the second of our yearly events and the one that most showcases methodologies, practices, techniques, and tools that the community can bring back to their country and region to better support entrepreneurial innovation. This year, our focus on impact-driven and inclusive entrepreneurship is in large part because we know the challenges the community is facing. We wanted to empower them with the tools that can bring long-lasting resolutions – by increasing the pool of entrepreneurs, diversifying the type of companies they support, and more completely investing in their region’s (sustainable and social) economic development.

Laura Lecci, CEO at EBN

As remarked by the EC and the OECD, inclusive entrepreneurship is an integral part of growth. A widespread business creation by people of all groups helps generate jobs and combat social and financial exclusion while stimulating economic growth. Evidence shows that women, youth, seniors, immigrants, and people with disabilities are often underrepresented in the entrepreneurial space and, on average, less likely to succeed in creating high-growth firms due to a lack of networks, and access to finance, and less adequate ways to gain skills needed grow a company. At the same time, social enterprises are longstanding agents of inclusive growth and have proved remarkably resilient in the face of economic adversity. By design, social enterprises address socioeconomic challenges in innovative ways and engage citizens to become part of the solution.

Over 8 parallel deep-dive sessions, the 2022 EBN Techcamp offered EU|BICs, and BSOs a space to share, debate, and test practices, methods and tools for impact-driven and inclusive entrepreneurship promotion and support. Some of them resulted from the involvement of EBN and IHUB members in 21 Better Incubation pilots that led to new inclusive incubation programmes that involved more than 130 entrepreneurs over 6 months. Tools, methods, and recommendations have been shared during the Techcamp, and are also available in the Better Incubation Toolkit, the Better Incubation Collection of Best Practices, the Inspirational Videos, and the upcoming Better Incubation Insights Paper (focus on programmatic level) and the Better Incubation Roadmap (focus on organizational level).

People sitting around tables in a workshop   Five persons sitting in a circle surrounded by people listening to their discussion

People standing at a coffee break   Five participants of the world cafè sitting at a table, discussing and writing inputs on pink post-its.

Photos by Jan Antonac from VSS Sežana

There is evidence that business incubators and business accelerators can be effective supports for new and growing businesses, and evaluations suggest similar results can be achieved in business incubators that focus on supporting entrepreneurs from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. The keys to success for these initiatives include offering strong preincubation services, building strong linkages with mainstream business support providers and investors, delivering support in flexible modules, and ensuring incubator staff is trained to support the targeted entrepreneurs.

This year’s EBN Techcamp empowered its participants to support a new generation of impactful tech start-ups – companies that are both profitable and work to improve society, operating ‘’double bottom line’’ business models – and to leverage diversity and inclusion and become relevant, competitive, and gain an advantage.

Cristina Fanjul, President of EBN

The event counted on the contribution of many local and international speakers who shared their experiences and best practices for innovation support. Speakers included: Dr. Aida Kamišalić Latifić, the secretary of state at the Slovenian Ministry of Digital Transformation, and David Škabar, Mayor of Sežana, who spoke of the importance of innovation and digitalization in Slovenia for its future; Cristina Fanjul, EBN President, Dorijan Maršič, Director at Inkubator Sežana, both addressing the importance of increased inclusivity for the future of European innovation and sharing their personal experience in the subject; and Tobias Temmen, Venture Partner at Kellogg-WHU, Stanford Change Labs, Andreja Jaklič, Professor at the University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Social Science, and Flora Rosenow, Global Brand Strategy & Communication for Impact expert, who lead workshops on the creation of incubation modules, guaranteeing its societal value from innovation ecosystems, and measuring and communicating its value to others – respectively.


Better Incubation is a joint initiative of EBN, Impact Hub and EVPA, funded by the European Union, to kickstart an “eco-systemic” change by bringing incubation and business support services closer to society as a whole and to promote entrepreneurship and self-employment as means to create jobs, develop skills, and give the unemployed and vulnerable an opportunity to fully participate in the economy and improve the inclusivity of our societies (www.betterincubation.eu)

Better Incubation | Toolkit

About this Toolkit

This Toolkit is a comprehensive collection of handson tools and methodologies for business support organisations aiming to make their incubation and other business support programmes more inclusive and accessible. The Toolkit is based on the experience and exchange among members of the Communities of Practice of the Better Incubation initiative.

It invites managers and contributors to incubation and other business support services to an honest analysis of their practices and gives them tools to go beyond the usual suspects as participants in their programmes.

Being based on the experiences of the inclusive pilot programmes run within the Better Incubation framework, it is not an exhaustive list but offers itself as a starting point for all business support organisations to go beyond the status quo, i.e., mainstream entrepreneurship. This pilot has been running in many European countries: Spain, Portugal, United Kindom, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italt, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.

How to use the Toolkit

The Toolkit is organised in line with the common steps of designing and running a business support
programme. You can easily navigate these different steps below and jump directly to where you are at, or you can read from beginning to end to get a better grasp of the many facets and perspectives when it comes to inclusion and accessibility in incubation and business support. For each step, different tools are listed and you can pick out what best fits your reality.

Speaking of the steps of designing and implementing a business support programme: one important suggestion this Toolkit makes is to add step 2: Removing barriers to processes of developing and running business support programmes. Transforming your spaces and offerings to be more inclusive is not a one-time moment. It needs to happen throughout the programme cycle. However, having accessibility as a step just like “designing the programme” or “selecting participants” highlights the importance of gaining awareness about barriers that people may face in accessing programmes. This approach resonates with a wider mission of the Better Incubation project of placing incubators as catalysts in the entrepreneurship ecosystems and thus allowing them to go beyond their intermediary role.

The 5 Groups in Focus

Woman

The European business and entrepreneurship ecosystem is far from being diverse and inclusive. According to the OECD report , women were half as likely as men to be self-employed , while the share of women who started their own business only increased by 2%. This gap can be explained by deep structural imbalances against female business founders, such as lack of access to finance, low opportunity perception regarding entrepreneurship among women, lack of role models or competing demands on time, with a double burden on home and work responsibilities for women.

Migrants and Refugees

In 2020, the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Europe increased to an unprecedented 23 million . Entrepreneurship therefore represents a great opportunity for refugees and other migrants to rebuild their lives and contribute to the economy and society in their new home country. Relevant business support services can help address these challenges, but it needs to be accompanied by a change of mindset in the sector to better reflect on the real needs of migrant entrepreneurs.

Youth

Youth unemployment represents one of the major social and economic challenges in Europe, with more than 16.5% of them being unemployed in 2018 . In response to the challenges the youth encounters when searching for jobs, entrepreneurship offers an alternative pathway to economic self-sufficiency. Critical success conditions can be provided by training and incubation programmes targeted at the youth to nurture their entrepreneurial attitudes and skills.

Seniors

With the ongoing demographic change and the ageing population in Europe, supporting entrepreneurial skills and becoming self-employed could be considered as innovative ways for middle-aged group workers to continue their professional activity . These include difficulties with mastering digital skills, health issues or social isolation. These demographic changes also affect business incubation support services because a new growing client group is emerging.

People with disabilities

The complexity of this group stems from the fact that disabilities are extremely diverse and are not fixed characteristic of individuals . People with disabilities face many barriers in the labour market, and employer discrimination is frequently reported.

Tools for…

  1. Desinging inclusive support programmes
    1. Empathy interviews
    2. Co-creation with organisations in the field
    3. Personas
    4. Flexible modular design
  2. Removing barriers
    1. Analyse application data
    2. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
    3. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Training
  3. Scouting for and selecting diverse participants
    1. Community Mapping
    2. Channels Mapping
    3. Equity-informed selection
  4. Delivering the right programme support
    1. Needs assessement
    2. Business model basics
    3. Safer space
    4. Onion principle and confidence building
  5. Connecting participans to supportive people
    1. Intentional mentor matching
    2. Purposeful hosting
    3. Peer-to-peer support
  6. Facilitating access to capital
    1. Map funding possibilities
    2. Pitch training
    3. Offer funding
  7. Manageing impact
    1. Impact mesurement platform
    2. Exit interviews with participants
    3. Competence framework

 

You can find more informaton HERE

 

BETTER INCUBATION CONTEST 2022 | SCALING IMPACT WINNERS

We are glad to officialy announce the winners of the Better Incubation Contest 2022 | Scaling Impact.

We received 20 applications that entered a 3 step evaluation process. Following a first screening based on eligibility criteria, 14 applications entered the second evaluation stage where each entry was assessed by two jury members.

Better Incubation Contest 2022 Scaling Impact Jury

  • Vera Egreja Barracho, Social Innovation Expert
  • Selcen Kutku, Manager and Co-Head of a|cube
  • Kelly Robin, Deputy Managing Director of PULSE
  • Flora Rosenow, Brand and Communications Strategy
  • Tobias Temmen, Managing Director of Solarpunk VC

Based on the evaluations performed individually by the jury experts, 7 semi-finalists were invited for an online interview and a final discussion among jury members took place.

At the end of the process, the following ventures were selected to benefit from the Better Incubation Scaling Programme, powered by EBN, IHUB and EVPA. Find here some informatuon about their ideas:

ARBO TECHNOLOGIES

ARBO Technologies founded on 2021 by a group of 7 entrepreneurs based in Brno in Czech Republic. They develop analytical tools to evaluate non-forest trees. The aim is to enable them to prolong their age which maximizes the positive environmental benefits that trees bring in the cities, focused on scale-up in Europe & especially in the Netherlands.

By implementing their business idea, they are focusing on the promotion of SDGs 3, 11, 13 and 15 related to health, sustainability of cities, combating climate change and improving life in rural area. Arbo Technologies pays special attention to the preservation of the existing trees and fields in order to store as much CO2 as possible and thus generate a positive impact on the fight against climate change.

They also focus their efforts on raising awareness and educating people about the importance and the benefits of trees (as climate change affects everyone on the planet) and they are committed to prioritizing existing trees. Moreover they collect data on how effects affect trees through digitization and the use of big data & new technologies. Their latest objective is to go to Singapore and achieve more than 100 FTE around the world.

SALUBATA

SALUBATA is a group of 4 entrepreneurs based in Paris, France founded in 2020. SALUBATA creates personalized shoes entirely from recycled material. They are reusing plastic waste from rivers, oceans, and wells which are currently blocked by tons of waste. That way they help in the improvement of life quality of the communities living in the area.

Their advantage is that their shoes are 75% cheaper compared to their direct competitors. Until now they PRODUCED just over 6000 shoes from plastic waste and they expect to be able to avoid 127.500.000 tonnes of CO2 in 5 years period. Also, 5% of every shoe’s profit goes to empower women.

They are focused on scale-up their idea along Europe thus recently they have secured an agreement with Amazon with the aim of scaling up to the 7 major European countries and reaching more than 100,000 customers in North Africa to improve the supply chain.

Lastly they focus on supporting SDGs 12 and 13 related to the circular economy and climate change, especially on fighting against plastic waste and promoting reuse.

NEEDS MAP

Needs Map is a group of 17 entrepreneurs based in Istanbul, Turkey founded in 2016. Needs Map is a map-based digital platform that brings people in need together with individuals, institutions and organizations that want to support. It facilitates cooperation and solidarity through proven map technology and community-based verification function.

Needs Map focuses on poverty reduction, humanitarian assistance and disasters, related with the SDGs 1, 13. Needs Map aims to support local economic development and solve the problem of economic and social inequality at the stage of access to opportunities through humanitarian aid. It contributes to strengthening the solidarity and trusting environment among people and to revive local/global partnerships.

Needs Map aims to solve the problem of inequality and inequality of opportunity for all underserved communities and individuals in general. They have been successfully implemented and become fully operational in all regions of Turkey for 7 years now. The fact that many different needs in many different regions can be met through a single online system shows that Needs Map is applicable to other geographical contexts. Needs Map is very flexible in adapting to different geographies, as it does not need many human labor resources and a warehouse.

Their scalability plan is to be established in 3 EU and in 2 African countries to reach more opportunities thought their GIS platform, offering allocation perspective to problems and solutions with a map-based user interface where needs and supports are determined geographically. They bring transparency to the needs of those in need by allowing them to express their own needs, and enables supporters to support those in need in their neighborhood or anywhere else. It contributes to the increase of solidarity among people and the formation of a culture of trust.

The system proceeds with 3 components: Data Collection, Location-based web forms, Real-Time Visualization and Analysis. Needs Map details and visualizes data down to street names. It is easier for local governments to see the needs in their own field and act accordingly, for companies, by determining the needs provided on the platform, it is easier to implement social responsibility projects for the target audience throughout the country. Peer to peer transactions, reducing carbon emissions of social solidarity materials, easy scaling with local partners and contactless aid distribution can be added as features that make us unique among other institutions / organizations.

The three winners will be matched with experts from EBN, IHUB and EVPA that will offer them remote and in-person coaching and incubation services.

 

Better Incubation #6 Newsletter is out

The sixth issue of the Better Incubation Newsletter describes the upcoming opportunities :

  • Better Incubation Contest 2022 | Scaling Impact – deadline to apply is September 1st, 2022
  • Better Incubation Toolkit is out
  • Future activities and events
  • Focus on the upcoming Switch Pitch appointments

Find out more information about Better Incubation news by reading the newsletter here : Better Incubation Newsletter 6_August 2022

EU Award for Gender Equality Champions | First Edition

This new award is the European Commission’s initiative to recognise and celebrate the outstanding results achieved in the implementation of gender equality by academic and research organisations.

The application process to this first edition of the EU Award for Gender Equality Champions is now open. Deadline for applications is 13 October 2022 at 17.00 (CET).

The EU Award for (Academic) Gender Equality Champions aims to

The prize also intends to raise public awareness of the importance of addressing gender equality in academic and research organisations through institutional change and incentivise a high degree of commitment to implementing inclusive gender equality plans.

The prize will create a community of champions which can inspire other academic and research organisations to become gender equality champions themselves.

The European Research Executive Agency (REA) manages the prize and its winners are selected by an independent expert jury for each prize category.

There are 3 prize categories:

Sustainable Gender Equality Champions | Organisations that can demonstrate a significant and sustained record of activity and a high level of achievement through the implementation of their Gender Equality Plan. Apply now

Newcomer Gender Equality Champions | Organisations that have recently started implementing a Gender Equality Plan and can demonstrate the most progress in its implementation and achieved results. Apply now

Inclusive Gender Equality Champions | Organisations that have developed the most innovative inclusive Gender Equality Plan addressing intersections with other social categories such as ethnicity, social origin, sexual orientation and gender identity (LGBTI+) or disability. Apply now

Applicants (universities, higher education institutions, and research performing organisations -public or private – established in an EU country or a Horizon Europe Associated Country) can only apply to 1 of these 3 categories.

Each prize winner will receive €100,000.

There will be 2 winners in the prize category Sustainable Gender Equality Champions, 1 winner in the prize category Newcomer Gender Equality Champions, and 1 winner in the prize category Inclusive Gender Equality Champions.

Check out all the information about the call, the eligibility and award criteria here 

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/funding/funding-opportunities/prizes/eu-award-gender-equality-champions_en 

BETTER INCUBATION CONTEST 2022 | SCALING IMPACT

If you are an entrepreneur with an innovative solution to a social or environmental challenge and you are ready to scale it nationally or internationally, join the Better Incubation Contest to grow your impact with a wide community of business intermediaries, investors and other entrepreneurs.

About the contest

Organised by the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN), Impact Hub and the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), the Better Incubation Contest 2022 | Scaling Impact aims at selecting the 3 most scalable solutions to social and environmental challenges developed by impact ventures led or founded by entrepreneurs belonging to one of the Better Incubation target groups: women, seniors, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees, youth. 

Better Incubation is a 2-year programme (2021 – 2022) funded by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation. The aim of Better Incubation is to foster inclusive and social entrepreneurship in Europe by mobilising and empowering Business Support Organisations (BSOs) to effectively help the social enterprises and potential entrepreneurs from the so called underrepresented groups to grow their businesses. Read more here.

Objectives

We are looking for innovative ventures with a clear social and/or environmental mission founded/co-founded and/or led /co-led by entrepreneurs representing one (or more) of the target groups Better Incubation programme is focussing on:  women, migrants or refugees, youth, seniors and people with disabilities.

We are looking for entrepreneurs addressing one or more Sustainable Development Goals and who are willing to explore growing and scaling their innovative solution either nationally or internationally with the support of Better Incubation network of networks: a unique community of EU|BICs (quality-certified business innovation centres), Impact Hubs and Investors for Impact committed to support innovative impact ventures in Europe and beyond. 

Three selected entrepreneurs will be matched with incubation experts that will accompany their scaling trajectory through remote coaching and mentoring sessions; will benefit from a full immersion week at an EU|BIC located in the targeted destination area; and will pitch their solution to an investors panel during the Better Incubation final event that will be held in Brussels on December 2nd, 2022 within the EVPA Impact Week. This event represents the premier event for the investing for impact community in Europe with more than 700+ social investors expected to join. The contest winners will be awarded with a free ticket to join the Impact Week and will have the unique chance to pitch on stage in front of social investors to bring their venture forward. Also travel expenses to Brussels for the contest winners will be covered.

The Better Incubation scaling support has a value of approximately 7000 €, this includes 15 hours of coaching in total from all three networks EBN, Impact Hub and EVPA experts, 1 week incubation programme, travel and accommodation costs to attend the Better Incubation events and the incubation programme in the targeted destination.

Why join the contest? 

The Better Incubation scaling support is aimed at helping the three finalists:

  • Articulate the social value proposition, identifying why and how the proposed solution addresses unmet needs in the chosen location.
  • Access to appropriate sector and local experts.
  • Assess the team competencies and consider how their business model will adapt to the new environment.
  • Understand investors’ perspective so they can develop a pitch for the Better Incubation final conference in Brussels and for potential partners in the targeted destination.

The Better Incubation Contest 2022 | Scaling Impact offers to the winners:

  • Networking: Three best finalists will be exposed to a wide network of BSOs (EBN, IHUB) and investors (EVPA) interested in supporting impact driven ventures during the Better Incubation events that will take place in Slovenia, 19-20 October 2022 and Better Incubation Final Conference on 2 December 2022. 
  • Mentoring & Coaching: Three best finalists will have access to a virtual 1:1 coaching programme provided by EVPA and Impact Hub experts (15 hours in total). 
  • Scaling – full immersion week: Three best finalists will be also eligible for one-week physical incubation provided by an EBN member – business support organisation in the target country. If interested, the winners can join the 2022 EBN Techcamp powered by Better Incubation (19-20 October 2022 – Sežana, Slovenia), where they can meet the incubators that will host them in the targeted country.
  • Pitching: The three finalists will be given an opportunity to present their business ideas at the Final Conference of the Better Incubation Project to be held in Brussels, 2 December 2022 within the EVPA Impact Week. 
  • Publicity: The three finalists will receive mentions in the Better Incubation and partner networks, including press releases, posts and social media. 

Call application

Better Incubation will offer scaling up services to three selected entrepreneurs willing to grow and scale their solutions to a wider national or international level. 

The call opens on June 21st, 2022, and closes on September 1st, 2022 (23.59 CET). 

APPLY NOW

The following information is requested:

  1. General information 
  2. Applicant Information (entrepreneur and venture)
  3. Solution description 
  4. Scalability
  5. Innovation
  6. Impact
  7. Motivation and Expectations

Check this document to see how the application form is structured and the required information for each section. 

Proposal Evaluation and Selection

All proposals submitted before the deadline will pass an eligibility check (see eligibility criteria). Proposals passing the eligibility check will be assessed through a transparent evaluation process that will be managed by EBN and led by internal and external experts.

If a solution scores high enough in the assessment criteria, reaching the minimum threshold, it is eligible for the scaling programme. 

This means that:

  1. Each entry meeting the eligibility criteria will be assessed by a minimum of 2 jury members.
  2. Based on the average of Jury members’ scores, we shortlist only the solutions that reach the threshold
  3. We rank them based on the scores they received and we invite the top 5 for an online interview with the jury panel during the week commencing the 12th September 2022. 
  4. Final rank will be elaborated and we will award the best three ones.

Communication between the Better Incubation team and applicants during the application assessment process will be carried out primarily via email. It is therefore recommended that applicants notify Better Incubation if they change the email address they apply with during the application process.  

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible to apply and participate, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Their companies must be founded by entrepreneurs from one of the following groups: women, people with disabilities, migrants or refugees, youth (18-29) or seniors (over 50).
  • Must have a clearly established social and/or environmental mission.
  • Must be an SME, startup company or a foundation that is a legal entity (legal person) such as a private law company, association or foundation, that is fully registered under the laws of a European Union Member State, or an EaSI Progress Axis associated country.
  • The venture must be already in existence for more than 1 year.

Assessment Criteria

One the eligibility check is performed, the Jury will review and evaluate the nominations using the following criteria and scoring:

  • Solution description > This criterion will assess the proposed solution in terms of how it will address the proposed challenge, on how it will implement the proposed solution, its feasibility and the involvement of stakeholders.  (15 points)
  1. Scalability >  This criterion assesses the scalability of the proposed solution, considering both the scaling up trajectory of an already existing product/service, and the future scalability of the solution. (15 points)
  2. Innovation dimension > This criterion assesses the innovative capacity of the proposed solution. (10 points)
  3. Impact > This criterion assesses how the solution is going to generate social impact (15 points)
  4. Motivation > This criterion assesses the elevator pitch submitted by the applicant -120 seconds. (10 points)

65/65 is the max scoring. The minimum threshold for accessing the programme is 35/65.

Competition timeline 

Timetable and deadlines
Contest launch  21 June 2022 
Applications due 1 September 2022 23:59 CET
Evaluation  2 September –  23 September2022
3 Finalists announced week commencing 26 September 2022
Mentoring and Coaching  September- November 2022
Incubation (1 week)  September – November 2022

Winners can also join the “Techcamp 2022 |Better Incubation” taking place in Sezana, Slovenia the 19-20 October 2022 where they will connect with the EU|BIC that will host them in the targeted destination

Pitching session(s) 1-2 December 2022 (Better Incubation Final Event at EVPA Impact Week)

Useful information

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.

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.

MOST CRITICALLY TO OUR VISION, REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS WERE INVOLVED AT EVERY STEP OF PROJECT DEVELOPMENT. – MIFRIENDLY CITIES

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 

Better Incubation Inclusive Entrepreneurship Workshop Series

Discover how to make your incubation services more inclusive and supportive of entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups.

The transition to an inclusive and green economy is gaining momentum. To build a better future, one that’s good for people and the planet, we need better business. Now is the time to bring your services closer to the whole of society.

If you have responsibility for designing and implementing entrepreneur incubation services or support programs, this curated series of online events will help you identify ways to modify your offerings for people from groups underrepresented in the enterprise sector.

Come together with practitioners, social entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and leading impact sector organisations to be:

  • Inspired by a range of best practices and insights related to specific underrepresented groups
  • Connected with like-minded peers, with whom you can learn from and collaborate with
  • Enabled to modify your services with knowledge and methodologies you can implement your teams

We start the workshop series with an exploration of common cultural and structural barriers facing groups underrepresented in the enterprise sector, taking a more intersectional perspective before moving on to deep dives on specific groups, offering inspiration and guidance based on actions and methodologies already successfully implemented on the ground across Europe, to support implementation of inclusive practice.

Introduction to Inclusive Entrepreneurship Inclusive Entrepreneurship Deep Dives 
Migrants and refugees Women Youth Seniors People with disabilities
29 March 20 April 10 May 31 May 22 June 12 July
10am-12pm CET 10am-12.30pm CET 10am-12.30pm CET 10am-12.30pm CET 10am-12.30pm CET 10am-12.30pm CET

 

Who should you expect?

Introduction to Inclusive Entrepreneurship

Join a panel of impact sector leaders to explore cross-cutting barriers to underrepresented groups in the enterprise sector, and participate in a discussion about what has been and can be done to change things for the better and to create a just and inclusive economy. You will also connect with and learn from peers from other business support organisations.

Panel: Max Bulakovskiy, Policy Analyst, OECD; Tatiana Glad, Executive Director, Impact Hub Network; Shannon Pfohman, Policy & Advocacy Director, Caritas Europa.

Inclusive Entrepreneurship Deep Dives

The next five workshops will each focus on a specific underrepresented group – Migrants & refugees; Women; Youth; Seniors; People with disabilities. Each workshop will create a safe and supportive space to offer inspiration and guidance for business support organisations, based on actions and methodologies already successfully implemented on the ground across Europe, to support implementation of inclusive practice.

You will learn from subject matter experts, social entrepreneurs with lived experiences of the challenges being explored, and business support organisations leading the way in developing and delivering inclusive incubation services. Line-ups for each workshop will be announced soon.

 

Who is this workshop series for?

These workshops are designed to support people with responsibility for designing and implementing entrepreneur incubation services or support programs, for example program or service managers.  If you work for an organisation that provides business support to entrepreneurs, and you are interested in how you can develop new or modify existing services to make them more inclusive, then these workshops are for you!

There will be a range of experience in the room, from people with years of experience supporting people from underrepresented groups to grow their businesses, to people who are only just starting to think about how they can make their offerings more inclusive of social entrepreneurs and people from underrepresented groups. Some may be building a service from scratch while others will be modifying existing programmes. 

Please note that the workshop content is based on European practice, perspectives and knowledge. However, if you work for a business support organisation operating outside of Europe, you are still very much welcome to participate and hopefully find value in the space created.

 

What is Better Incubation?

Better Incubation is a 2-year programme (2021 – 2023) funded by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation, and is led by three network organisations: The European Business and Innovation Centre Network, Impact Hub and the European Venture Philanthropy Association.

The aim of Better Incubation is to foster inclusive and social entrepreneurship in Europe by mobilising and empowering Business Support Organisations (BSOs) with capacities to effectively help the social enterprises and potential entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups to grow their businesses. Read more here.

 

How can you participate?

Please sign up here for as many sessions as you wish!

After completing the sign up for, you will receive joining details enabling you to register for the workshops that are of interest to you. 

If you have any questions about this workshop series please reach out to: info@betterincubation.eu

Collection of Best Practices in Inclusive Entrepreneurship Support Programmes published

Better Incubation: Collection of Best Practices in Inclusive Entrepreneurship Support Programmes features 10 case studies from Impact Hub, EBN and other partner organisations to showcase different programmatic approaches on how to support vulnerable entrepreneurs.

The document took inspiration from the work carried out by the Better Incubation Communities of practice through the process of collecting the best practices, tools and resources related to each of the five target groups – women, migrants and refugees, youth, seniors and people with disabilities.

Our aspiration is to offer some practical insights for business support organisations, NGOs, local/national policymakers, funders and other stakeholders, to be applied in the design and implementation of inclusive incubation and support programmes, strategies and policies.

Collection of Best Practices in Inclusive Entrepreneurship

 

 

 

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