Since its inception, EBN and its member organisations are greatly engaged in supporting entrepreneurs turn their innovative ideas into solid and sustainable businesses. In order to alleviate the barriers faced by under-represented entrepreneurs spread across Europe, EBN launched in 2016 “Fostering Inclusive Business Incubation and Acceleration (FIBIA)”, a two years programme run by EBN with the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The objective of the programme being to empower business incubators and accelerators to become more open and inclusive in their service offer.
During a press conference delivered on 18 September in Brussels, EBN proudly presented to incubation practitioners, business support organisations, entrepreneurs and policy makers from all over Europe, the results of the data collected among EU|BICs (certified business support organisation, EBN Members) and the inclusive business support intermediaries from JPMorgan programme.
The press conference of the presented insightful data on the level of existing inclusive support services that EU|BICs are providing to under-represented entrepreneurs in Europe. By comparing the structure, services and performance of a group of EBN members to another group of specialised and inclusive business support organisations, the study sheds light on some of the good practices that are currently being developed in Europe to help groups such as women, migrants, young and unemployed people when launching a business. The findings demonstrate that EU|BICs are well placed to support under-represented entrepreneurs in Europe. Significant evidence suggests that what is needed is a collective effort on behalf of business incubators/accelerators to adjust content and delivery methods of services and allow groups such as women, migrants, young and unemployed people to access entrepreneurial opportunities.
Following the presentation of the results and recommendations by Clarelisa Camilleri, the panel on “How inclusive are business support organisations in Europe?” made up by policymakers, incubation directors, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and EBN highlighted the need for a paradigm shift across all actors in society to consider inclusion, not as an added cost, but rather, as source of innovation, creativity and overall greater economic opportunities.
After the panel discussion, participants continued discussing how to foster inclusive entrepreneurship during the networking cocktail in a more informal and relaxed atmosphere.
The following day the European Commission represented by Ann Branch, Head of Unit at DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, opened the Social Innovation and Inclusion Special interest closed-group meeting, providing an overview of social and inclusive initiatives and funding opportunities for social impact entrepreneurs. The participants, (EBN Members and business support organisations supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation) were able to present their ongoing initiatives in their respective countries and interact with Ann and other DG Grow policy officers on their current challenges.
During the workshop, EBN Member Berytech and ABIPTI and Porto Digital provided an overview of the social and inclusive innovation ecosystems in Lebanon and Brazil respectively. Berytech presented their experience as EU|BIC and as judge of the Social Challenges Innovation Platform (EU funded project participated by EBN whose aim is to create an online ecosystem to match pressing social challenges with innovative solutions), while in the framework of INCOBRA project ABIPTI and Porto Digital run a small infosession on the Brazilian impact innovation landscape.
To conclude the EBN Social and Inclusive Week, Chiara Davalli and Clarelisa Camilleri attended the EVPA training on ‘Social Impact Management and Measurement’. At the same time as engaging with the representatives of many Foundations located across Europe, Chiara and Clarelisa absorbed valuable techniques to identify and measure social value while extracting and strengthening the social impact that entrepreneurs can have on society and the environment when shaping their own economic ventured.
Overall, the EBN Social Week identified key challenges in the inclusive and social entrepreneurship field, while also fomenting the need for greater collective work and focus in this field on behalf of practitioners, policymakers and large corporates.
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