Better Incubation is a project by LIAISE

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. 

The Better Incubation scaling support has a value of approximately 7000 €, this includes 15 hours of coaching, 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 August 22nd, 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:

  • Must be connected to members of EBN, EVPA and IHUB networks. 
  • 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 22  August 2022 23:59 CET
Evaluation  23 August –  16 September2022
3 Finalists announced week commencing 19 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

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

 

 

 

IN-CUBA Conference to discuss Disability and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is rarely thought about for people with intellectual disability.

Even if there is an openness to supporting people’s ideas and ambitions, setting up and management may be seen as a heavy burden, and the necessary support to do so very difficult to find.

Sometimes, however, what is needed is just a change of perspective to expand the concept of enterprise to embrace something creative, personally fulfilling and validating that is attempted or undertaken, particularly if it requires boldness or courage. Then you need a group of visionary partners that are not afraid of breaking barriers and are willing to involve users and their families in a new adventure; one that develops an “incubator” methodology focussed on people with intellectual disability and based on the principles of co- production.

That was the starting point of IN-CUBA interreg project. Three years, and several focus groups later, they are ready to present the
results of this adventure together with the voiceof its protagonists .

The moment is particularly apposite as we have just seen the launch of the new European Disability Strategy , which will
provide a strong framework for all the EU initiatives in these fields in the next ten years.

We are therefore happy to invite you to the IN-CUBA Conference to discuss Disability and Entrepreneurship through the initiatives
carried out within this Project, present the results of this action, and foster exchanges between all the stakeholders involved: organisations from the social sector, incubators, educators, users, representatives of the public sector, and policy makers.

Check the full event agenda here

ABOUT IN-CUBA project

The IN-CUBA (Incubators for CO-productive Enterprises and Social Inclusion) Project wants to foster social inclusion by developing an incubation methodology based on co-production addressed to people with intellectual disability. Working on co-productive approaches has highlighted the capacity of users to become protagonists and have an active role, opening the doors to new possibilities and further developments. In fact, the scientific literature and several success stories confirm that, through the appropriate support, people with intellectual disability succeed in concretizing ideas through long-term projects, especially projects that lead to the creation of companies. This opens up new opportunities for the development of people’s employability and social inclusion. However, if at present national systems tend to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, these programmes are rarely accessible to people with intellectual disability and no measure is put in place to investigate the potential impact entrepreneurship can generate for them and their entourage.

An incubator is an organisation that helps new and start-up companies to develop by providing support services and enabling access to the resources they need. In the context of IN-CUBA however, we can define incubator as a support for the development of projects and ideas? a methodology based on co-production that supports the development of ideas and projects to transform them into enterprises (considered in its widest meaning).

IN-CUBA aims to support and assess new approaches to the access to entrepreneurship for people with intellectual disability reducing disparities and promoting inclusion. To these goals the action foresees to:

  • Develop a methodology based on co-production to incubate ideas, identify the ways and source of funding, and transform them in enterprises;
  • Enable users to be equal partners within the planning and development of a project, thus enhancing self-determination;
  • Provide opportunities for self-development and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities so that they can be acknowledged as people that can contribute to the development of their community.
  • Testing the results in dedicated pilot actions aimed at the setting up of enterprises;
  • Evaluate the impacts of the entrepreneurial process on the quality of life of the users as well as the overall impacts of the project in terms of social inclusion  ;
  • Disseminate project experience and outcomes, also in view of enhancing social representation and promote the adaptation of methodologies at local level;
  • Promote the development, testing, and implementation of innovative practices in the field of training for professionalisation;
  • Promote activities that could better prepare professionals on equity, diversity and social inclusion in the training / learning environment.

To these goals, a very committed partnership is engaged in developing a 36 Months action to help addressing diversity and promote shared values, equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion through innovative and integrated approaches. The Project is coordinated by APEMH with the support of ARFIE and it involves 8 partners from 5 European countries.

The project is based on research and analysis and real testing, and all the foreseen activities are based on co-production and will see users as protagonists.

Discover more on www.co-production.eu/in-cuba

Better Incubation Communities of Practice | Rut Turró: On a Mission to Build an Inclusive Fashion Industry

How to make the field of entrepreneurship more inclusive to migrants and refugees, people with disability, seniors, women, youth? Together with members of the European Business & Innovation Centre Network (EBN), The European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) and Caritas organizations, Impact Hub gathered experts and entrepreneurs from all 5 groups in a series of virtual working sessions – Communities of Practice – to debate, exchange, investigate, plan, prototype and evaluate the activities in the field of inclusive entrepreneurship.

In this framework, Impact Hub is interviewing the Better Incubation CoPs’ participants to share their stories and expertise. Time to meet Rut!

The first virtual session took place at the end of May 2021 and we got inspired to hear about what different entrepreneurs and experts are doing to build more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems. One of the participants is Rut Turró, she is, in her own words, a social entrepreneur in the fashion industry. She is also a woman entrepreneur and the founder of Moving Mood, which started as a clothing line for people with reduced mobility and turned into a research and consulting partner for the fashion industry on the topic of inclusive fashion.

We asked her why she became an entrepreneur, what impact she aims to make on the world – she also shared examples of impact in action.

Inclusive entrepreneurship Rut Turro founder of Moving Mood

Rut Turró, Founder of Moving Mood

Q: In preparing for our interview, I loved reading about how you want to give more power and opportunities to women, who carry the burden of day-to-day work but are under-recognised. I’m curious about your story as a woman entrepreneur, but first, what did you want to be growing up? 

A: I wanted to be like my mum, to take care of the house, the kids, etc. When I was seven years old, my family started a bakery in Barcelona. This was a turning point. Everything changed completely, with my parents working all day, every day, including weekends. My sister and I spent Monday to Friday with a babysitter. Saturday with parents and Sunday with grandparents. Suddenly, I did not want to be like my mum anymore. I wanted to be happy. I remember every year on my birthday I had the same wish: may everyone be happy.

Q: Your parents became entrepreneurs and it sounds like this wasn’t the path you wanted to pursue when you were young. Yet, you call yourself a social entrepreneur today. Why did you become an entrepreneur? 

A: Because I couldn’t find any job linked to social impact and fashion design. The only option was working in design for fair trade products at an NGO. Options were very limited and, usually, NGOs have many volunteers, not paid jobs. In the long run, this wasn’t a sustainable path. Also, the products were ‘hippie’ and it was not my style. I would buy them because of the philosophy behind, not because I liked them. So, I decided to start a project by myself. Bringing together social impact, fashion and design.

Q: It’s always interesting to hear how personal frustration leads to new businesses! Beyond your desire to design better fair trade products in the fashion industry, were there any insights that led to starting Moving Mood?

A: The initial idea was to develop a clothing line for people with reduced mobility. All adapted garments available around 2011-2014 were very poorly designed and not fashionable at all! I started under the name Fit and Sit, focused on clothing for people permanently seated. It did not work very well. I understood early on that people wanted to buy clothes from traditional brands, so, I changed my initial idea and began to sell a service and provide knowledge on inclusive fashion for designers and brands. We changed the brand name to Moving Mood, moving for a good mood. And we are focused on research, product development, consulting and education.

Inclusive entrepreneurship_Moving Mood

Q: Inspiring to hear! Now, let’s talk about impact. What impact are you already making on the fashion industry – and perhaps as a woman entrepreneur too – and what’s your impact ambition? 

A: Our impact is to include accessibility in design collections without the need to create a specifically adapted line, so all garments can be used by the whole of society, independently of their needs. We are training companies, design studios and students.

Our impact ambition is to build a more equal fashion industry, with more inclusive products and job opportunities. For example, we developed an adaptation for an industrial sewing machine, so it can be used by people with physical disabilities!

Q: An inclusive sewing machine, what a good example of impact in action! I’d love to learn a little more about your views on women’s entrepreneurship. Over the past years, you have collaborated with many entrepreneurial women – what have you learned from them? 

A: We are stronger together, we are better together. I constantly meet powerful women I admire. We connect easily, try to help each other and share contacts. I truly believe we empower each other. There’s often a shared feeling and understanding of the troubles we face or have faced in the past – and shared pride in having come to where we are today as entrepreneurs.

Q: I have to ask then, what advice do you have for female entrepreneurs? 

A: My advice for any entrepreneur is: do something that makes you vibrate from every pore of your skin.


Follow Rut and her inspiring work on LinkedInInstagramFacebook or Twitter.

Author of this post: Impact Hub 

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