NESsT supports social enterprises through start-up and incubation support, empowering our portfolio enterprises to impact their communities through job and income opportunities for marginalized groups.
NESsT Poland initiated its first portfolio of social enterprises in 2014, with five enterprises that are beginning to achieve their social impact goals.
One very promising NESsT Enterprise is Eko Bielska Kraina, an online marketplace for healthy, certified bio-products made by small-scale farmers and fishermen. Located in southern Poland, Bielska Kraina is a fertile region with a huge potential for sustainable farming and fishery, as well as for becoming a tourist destination for socially and ecologically conscious travelers.
Bringing Products to Market – Generating Sustainable Income
Barbara Stepek, Karolina Lorek and Malwina Kleszcz, all daughters of local farmers, have firsthand insight into the market challenges faced by small-scale farmers and local fishermen. Infected by the passion of their local community, they are committed to bringing sustainable income opportunities to these hardworking rural businesses. By helping these small farmers and fishermen get their products to a wider market, local families and the community will have more reliable income and a brighter future.
The target market of Eko Bielska Kraina’s online marketplace is primarily young people who are interested in healthy, local products, and who are conscious of the plight of small farmers and fishermen trying to enter the market. Bielska Kraina is also planning to provide fish and agricultural products to institutional clients, restaurants and catering companies.
In addition to high-quality crops, fish, and agricultural products, Bielska Kraina will organize short-term group excursions in the region. Tourists seek to explore the rich culture and natural environment of the region. By visiting eco-farms, tourists can try their hand at fishing and taste locally produced agricultural products.
Profits generated by Bielska Kraina are being invested in ongoing growth, professional trainings, ecological awareness workshops, and study tours to other regions also dependent on fishery and agriculture.
NESsT's Support of Eko Bielska Kraina
NESsT helped Eko Bielska Kraina design their business model and access pro bono legal counsel. With financial support provided by NESsT, including a US$2,000 research grant and US$6,000 in venture funding, the entrepreneurs conducted professional market research and developed the online marketplace. The online marketplace was launched in April 2015, and sells vegetables, meat, fish, and other locally-grown products.