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Project Description

 

Context

The four countries represented in the proposal struggle with major economic and societal challenges and have not been able to respond to them using conventional methods. Unemployment, poverty, social exclusion, and deteriorating social services and environment persist, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. These challenges require innovative new solutions, and social enterprises are best positioned to respond to them given that they originate as community-based initiatives that are closely familiar with the daily realities of such problems. Social enterprises have a thorough understanding of the issue, the people affected, the constraints, and the possible solutions as well. They often fill the gap and seek to provide a systemic solution by not only implementing programs but also raising awareness, launching behaviour change campaigns, educating the public, engaging in policy dialogue, and supporting any necessary legal reforms. In the Visegrad region, more and more social enterprises consolidate and are ready to grow. They currently learn about investment readiness and patient capital as the next forms of investment. There is a gap between this region and the Eastern Partnership countries, especially Georgia, where the social entrepreneurship field develops since 2009, but is still in an incipient stage. Knowledge transfer and capacity building in specific areas allow the currently most developed 15 social enterprises to professionalise and refine their business model, to be more market-driven and be positioned to achieve impact and financial sustainability.

Solution

Given their experience, the partners decided to join efforts and contribute to reducing this gap. They jointly identified key areas where the existing social enterprises need to strengthen their skills, like impact measurement, marketing and sales, leadership and governance, financial analysis. During the workshops, participants will to interact with each other and the co-trainers, share lessons-learned from challenges and successes, and improve their skills and knowledge in the specific training topic, but also overall enterprise management. The goal is to build a measurement and performance based mind-set within the key social enterprises in Georgia and strengthen their operations. They will become local multipliers of the new competencies gained, as the Georgian partner will encourage them to further share their knowledge and practice with the other players in the field. In Georgia there are several start-up support program, but no alternative for the ones beyond this stage, that need support to further consolidate and prepare for significant growth. The proposed project fills in an ecosystem gap in the Georgian market. CSRDG, as a provider of the technical assistance will also gain experience and knowledge in a specific topics. Other social enterprises, which will not be direct beneficiaries within this project, or which will grow after a while, these services will be available even after the project’s end. In addition, providing the Georgian entrepreneurs with the European experience and contacts, will support them with future leads and business contacts.

Regional relevance

Visegrad is one of the more advanced CEE region with regard to social enterprise ecosystem development. But, in the same time, not yet so developed as the Western Europe. Therefore we all feel there is a connection and a level of mutual understanding with Georgia, a manageable gap, Visegrad entrepreneurs going through similar experiences and struggles. We strongly believe it makes a lot of sense to structure such a knowledge transfer, as the Georgian social entrepreneurs would relate easier with their fellows from different Visegrad countries - with their post-communistic experience -; however, each of them with specific challenges and success factors. This regional approach ensures diversity and provides a wide range of local experiences and practices.

Main project objective

NESsT's mission is to invest in social enterprises providing dignified jobs to marginalized persons, in emerging market economies. For a social enterprise to be able to provide such jobs, it has to be financially sustainable, and NESsT has the experience of consolidating social businesses by capacity building, technical assitance, mentoring and financial support. The project addresses both the business challenges that entrepreneurs face, as well as the impact challenges, building on NESsT’s expertise and long track record in strengthening the financial sustainability and impact of social enterprises around the world. This project helps Georgian social enterprises grow stronger, in order to increase their impact.

The 15 entrepreneurs will become multipliers for the rest of the enterprises - approx. 75 in Georgia. The Georgian partner will be better equipped to support the next generations of social entrepreneurs. At least 200 professionals will use the the tools and review training materials. Donors, social investors, public officials will be also impacted. The marginalised groups served by the enterprises will benefit, on the long run, of this project.


Supporter

The Fund is an international donor organization, established in 2000 by the governments of the Visegrad Group countries—Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to promote regional cooperation in the Visegrad region (V4) as well as between the V4 region and other countries, especially in the Western Balkan and Eastern Partnership regions.


Project Partners