“It’s time to change the way regional development agencies support innovative projects in the territories: it’s time to go impact!”
Kristian Mancinone is a Social Innovation expert at ART-ER and the new Social Impact SIG chair. He defines himself as “social innovation addicted” who “thinks that sustainable impact is the key for the future of an entrepreneurial organisation who can benefit from direct collaborations with civil society organisations”. Kristian is passionate about design thinking and service design and is always on the lookout for opening social innovation collaborations, even within his organisation.
EU|BIC Associate ART-ER was born in May 2019 from the merger of ASTER and ERVET. Their mission is to support the Emilia-Romagna Region to be more sustainable and innovative, fostering the region’s sustainable growth by developing innovation and knowledge, attractiveness, and internationalisation of the region system. Their role is to support local innovators leaving their comfort zones, and regional governments to better define innovation supporting policies. For Kristian and ART-ER, “being part of EBN it’s a unique opportunity to learn and share, and an opportunity for our regional companies to have a look at international markets. Being part of this community means to have a confrontation with different ways to find, support and scale-up innovations at the local level. It is an opportunity to have direct exchanges of experiences with innovation leaders in other territories”.
ASTER and ERVET came from different positions the value of Social innovation. In ASTER Social innovation was “incorporated in some activities, but not seen as a possible sector to invest in”. However, in ERVET there was a “dedicated working group on social economy organisations and territorial development”. In ART-ER, they developed a common position and plan. “After many discussions, we got it: social innovation needs to be transversal to the 2021-2027 Regional Smart Specialisation Strategy. A working group on impact finance will be established in 2021 to design social and green bonds.”
With this decision, they naturally decided to join the Social Impact SIG. “The first project we were involved in within the SIG was the Socialchallenge.eu platform”, remembers Kristian. “As a territorial node we helped 5 regional organisations innovate their business. And it inspired us to define a new challenge-based vision for the future of regional cohesion policy”. The experience within the SIG led them to accept the position as its chair.
What is Kristian’s vision for the Social Impact SIG for the coming year? “We need to be good at doing good. And that means to get expertise in analysing the social impact of innovation and define new ways to support it at the regional level. We have to co-design EBN’s role in leading social innovation incubation within 2021-2027 programming period.”
Since 2015, EBN and its members have organised a Social Impact SIG that seeks to raise visibility on social innovation incubation initiatives and to support incubators and accelerators to shape and run programmes maximising the social and environmental impact of their start-ups and SMEs (impact enterprises, in short). The SIG community bringing together 36 incubators and accelerators from 16 countries, also aims to better provide incubation and acceleration support services for underrepresented entrepreneurs. It does so by sharing opportunities and new collaboration possibilities, facilitating the exchange of best-practices between social and inclusive incubators across Europe. The SI SIG has established strong partnerships and collaborations with key actors in the social impact ecosystem networks, such as the EVPA.
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