More than 150 registered social enterprises from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine are now part of a free online community developed by EU4Youth, which will support business, networking and learning opportunities.
The innovative digital platform will connect social enterprises with buyers and companies driven by a strong social commitment. It was created by the EU4Youth – Social Innovation Impact – a strategic partnership project led by ADV Romania – a pioneer in the social economy sector and youth inclusion.
The vision for the platform is to enable a regional pole for the development of social entrepreneurship, spread awareness about a new way of doing business and showcase the impact of social entrepreneurs in contributing to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
While the three neighbouring countries are at very different stages regarding the framework for social entrepreneurship – from Romania that boasts thousands of registered social enterprises to Ukraine that has no legal framework for social enterprises – the thread connecting social entrepreneurs from Romania, Moldova and Ukraine is their ability to feel the vibe of the community and to understand its challenges, combined with their passion for crafting unique products, services, and customer experience.
The war in Ukraine tore up many of the project’s plans to boost social enterprise in the country. Of the three youth-led social enterprises that won the Accelerator of Social Enterprises competition, just one was able to take up the grant to start a social business.
Still, the Map of Social Enterprises can provide a tool for supporting enterprises in Ukraine. From the project’s recent analysis, many enterprises included on the map remain active even in these times of war. Buying from these social enterprises would be the best way to support these organisations and the people behind them. Some of these social enterprises sell online and make international deliveries (for example Vereta.Store and Trava.ua). Another idea would be to pay for food from local bakeries (Goodbread) or even therapeutic, educational services for children and send them to people in need (Dunastan, Spring of Hope, Olanna).
The project hopes the map will help to create a favourable framework for networking, market access and peer learning across the three countries. The map provides an open-source virtual database containing information about the location of entities, the types of products and services supplied, the number of employees, and the impact they have on their local communities. Enterprises that want to register on the map can do so for free, by providing information about their activity and social impact.
The project is now looking for partners and funding with the aim of expanding the map to all Eastern Partnership countries and connecting it to other international databases.
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