EU4Youth – Social Innovation – a Strategic Partnership! is an impactful project that has contributed significantly to the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Moldova and Ukraine. Since its inception in February 2020, our three-year journey has aimed to inspire meaningful transformations in these countries and empower young people to drive positive change.
The success of the project is reflected in its significant achievements over the past three years. By increasing public awareness, improving the regulatory framework, developing skills, and providing access to finance, the project has laid the groundwork for sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Moldova and Ukraine. The project has also created a community of young social entrepreneurs who are leading the way in promoting positive change in their communities. - Elena Sobieski, project coordinator
To achieve our goals, we built the project activities around four main pillars: public awareness, improvement of the regulatory framework, development of skills, and access to finance.
Through online and offline campaigns, we reached over 2.5 million people in Moldova and Ukraine, raising awareness about social entrepreneurship and our project's mission.
We also organized two international conferences, which brought together more than 10,000 people to discuss the latest trends, opportunities, and case studies in the field of social entrepreneurship. Additionally, we held five workshops with public authorities, increasing their understanding of the impact of social enterprises and the potential results that can be achieved with local support.
As part of the project, we developed a public policy document that formed the basis for two programs to improve the legal framework for the social entrepreneurship sector in the Republic of Moldova: The National Program for Social Entrepreneurship Development and the National Program for Financing and Mentoring for Social Enterprises. We also established social innovation labs in Chișinău, Cahul, Cantemir, and Ismail, which will continue to operate at the local and central levels to develop a favorable environment for social entrepreneurship.
Our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Over 1,500 people have participated in our webinars on social entrepreneurship and other related topics, and over 300 young people from Moldova and Ukraine have participated in vocational training programs.
Furthermore, five youth from Moldova and one from Ukraine have become social entrepreneurs, winning the Accelerator of Social Enterprises competition and a grant of €7,500 to establish their first social enterprise.
- Reinvent - A creative recycling workshop that collects and transforms used objects into new ones;
- Prieteni Dragi - A pet hotel that employs young people with mental health problems from Chișinău;
- 3 de Bine - The first online market for local artisans and small producers;
- Social Textil - A sewing workshop that will create jobs for women in the remote rural area of Moldova;
- 3D Running - A printing workshop that will create personalized medals for social marathons in Moldova;
- Team Wheel - A repair workshop for assistive equipment for people with disabilities in Odessa.
These six social start-ups have a mission to bring positive change to their communities. Their contributions will add value to achieving four of the 17 Global Goals - Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Reduced Inequalities, and Responsible Consumption.
Looking ahead, the project's impact will continue to grow, as the six social start-ups established with the support of the project continue to make a difference in their communities. Moreover, the Interactive Map of Social Enterprises will provide a vital platform for connecting social enterprises in the region to the wider European social economy ecosystem, creating new opportunities for collaboration and growth.
In conclusion, the EU4Youth – Social Innovation – a Strategic Partnership! project has been a significant catalyst for the development of the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Moldova and Ukraine. By fostering collaboration, building capacity, and providing access to resources, the project has empowered young people to become agents of positive change in their communities.The outcomes of the project will have lasting effects, as its achievements continue to inspire and support new initiatives that empower youth and promote sustainable, inclusive economic growth.