NESsT and Citibank announced the winners of the 2011-12 NESsT-Citibank Social Enterprise Competition to promote excellence in social enterprise development among local nonprofits in Central and Eastern Europe. The awards were given at the Hungarian Venture Capital Association (HVCA) annual conference on June 7, 2012, during an event which gathered leaders of the private equity industry in Central Europe.
Social enterprises are businesses aiming at solving critical social problems such as lack of job opportunities, lack of access to basic health care and grave environmental problems in the long run. In this context, the NESsT-Citibank Social Enterprise Competition Awards reward excellence in designing, planning and developing sustainable social enterprises with a double and often triple bottom line: financial, social and environmental.
Roxana Damaschin-Țecu, Enterprise Development Director for NESsT Europe and Batara Sianturi, Citibank Chief Country Officer presented the winners with their awards at the annual HVCA conference. Winners include organizations from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia addressing a wide range of social issues.
Batara Sianturi, Citi Country Officer for Hungary at the award ceremony said, “Supporting the development of social enterprises is one of Citi’s key focus areas in our philanthropic strategy around the world. We highly appreciate this joint program with NESsT in the framework of which we have helped build nearly 70 social enterprises from Hungary over the last six years since we launched the program in 2007. Our contribution extends to financial support from the Citi Foundation as well as mentoring and business advisory from a growing number of Citibank employee volunteers and our primary goal is to help assist the participating social enterprises in becoming financially sound and sustainable while creating new jobs, which is one of the top priorities in meeting the key challenges in today’s market environment.”
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the NESsT-Citibank Social Enterprise Competitions in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia”, said Roxana Damaschin-Țecu, Enterprise Development Director for NESsT Europe. “Seeing the enthusiasm and dedication these winning competitors have put in these months of learning and preparations, we have all confidence in the success of these young social enterprises”, she added. “The support from NESsT and Citibank will enable the winning organizations to extend their social impact to communities in need across Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and meanwhile to strengthen their financial sustainability. We congratulate them all for their great business plans and improvement.”
The two awarded organizations in Hungary are Humusz Association and Kompánia Foundation. Humusz – which received $10.000 – is an environmental organization promoting sustainable economy and environment-aware consumption. The award will help launch a social enterprise that sells complex services for companies, teaching them how to become environmentally friendly – both as a company and as individuals. Kompánia Foundation received an award of US $7.500. The organization provides support services for at-risk youth through prevention programs and peer learning. The award will help implement the social enterprise, namely a psychological and pedagogical development center that provides services to children and youth with learning difficulties or mental health problems.
The winners of the Social Enterprise Competition in the Czech Republic are Amelie Association and Poradna pro Integraci Association. Amelie offers assistance and combined rehabilitation programs to patients affected by cancer and their families, aiming to fight social exclusion and poverty resulting from the disease. Their clients receive counseling and support to go back to their lives after long and exhausting medical treatments. With the help of the $9,000 award they will launch an educational agency for social and health sector employees, as well as increase employment opportunities for their target group. Poradna pro Integraci is dealing with human rights and social inclusion of disadvantaged people, mostly migrants. Their award of US $5,000 will help them start Czech language teaching courses to the children of migrants in kindergartens.
The awards in Slovakia were received by Sosna Association and Áno pre život. Sosna – who received US $10,000 – is an environmental organization with a long tradition in education and rural development. Their planned social enterprise is provision of professional trainings (e.g. gardening) and production, selling and distribution of the organic vegetables. Áno pre život is an organization supporting low income pregnant women, single mothers and women suffering from domestic violence, at the risk of social exclusion. Their planned social enterprise is cleaning service partially delivered by their clients.
All these organizations showed both high social and financial potential. They contribute to the development of social enterprises and civil sector sustainability and have a professional and dedicated team.
The 2011-2012 NESsT-Citibank Social Enterprise Competition is part of NESsT’s mission to develop social enterprises in Central Europe and it has been implemented with a grant from the Citi Foundation and with professional support of Citibank employee volunteers in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. A total of 74 organizations have applied to be included in this program and 35 have been selected to participate in the training and one-on-one mentoring from NESsT. As a result of the professional support and the commitment of the organizations 17 high quality business plans were presented at the end of the process. The NESsT team was joined by Citibank volunteer employees and other local business advisors to assess social enterprise ideas and provide consulting as the participants moved through the different stages of the development process. Squire Sanders Legal Firm supports the winners by pro bono legal advice in establishing their social enterprise.