Reach for Change Sweden, Social Enterprise Estonia, Social Entrepreneurship Association Latvia and the Lithuanian Social Business Association will pilot The Baltic Sea Impact Network - a new transnational network for peer learning between social entrepreneurs from the Baltic Sea region.
The network is one of the 23 cooperation projects in the region supported with seed funding by The Swedish Institute. All four organizations collaborating on the project have years of experience in supporting social entrepreneurs and have proven their ability to mobilize entrepreneurs and stakeholders at a national level in their respective countries.
“The obstacles faced by social entrepreneurs are largely comparable across the wider Baltic Sea region - they struggle with a lack of specialized funding, low visibility, and few opportunities for long-term capacity building. Our joint experience has proven that peer network and cooperation opportunities are crucial for the development of social entrepreneurs, as it allows for shared problem-solving and replication of best practices.”, says Kristine Verpeja - Baltic Program and Partnership Manager at Reach for Change and coordinator of the project.
“During the current time of uncertainty, there is an urgent need to support social entrepreneurs and innovators with such cooperation as this. We are happy for this partnership and are going to put possible efforts and resources to make this pilot a success story for a long-lasting format for the future,” shares Viktorija Bražiūnaitė, Director of the Lithuanian Social Business Association.
30 social entrepreneurs from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be invited to join the network. They will undergo a self-assessment to best determine their needs and interests, and over the course of 13 months they will be guided through a programme of monthly peer learning sessions and expert workshops (for ex. with public sector authorities, corporates, impact investors). In August 2023, all network members will be invited to meet in-person in Riga, Latvia for the project’s final event.
The aim is to help the network members learn new skills, connect with like-minded peers from neighboring countries and increase the access of social entrepreneurs to relevant stakeholders.
The ongoing feedback by the network members will assist the consortium partners in adjusting the network model and gathering initial results on its impact. The long-term ambition would be to formalize the concept, pitch it for further funding, and eventually replicate and expand it across additional markets in the Nordic region and wider Europe.
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