• 25 social entrepreneurs are coming together in Budapest!

    (Foto: Ilja Kagan)

    From citizen-initiated community cargobike sharing programs to a tricycling café that employs homeless people. The variety of socially innovative ideas has no limits. Learn more about the 25 social entrepreneurs of Startery CEE 2017.

    The 25 social entrepreneurs are coming from 8 countries: Albania, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Kosovo. They will attend a 4-day summit on social innovation at SAP in Hungary, where they will build up on their ideas from 13th to 17th of November 2017. 10 of them get the chance to pitch their idea at the final event, happening on the 17th of November from 10 am - 2pm at Corner Room, 1051 Budapest, Bajcsy-Zsilinszky út 12, Join us there!

    SHORT DESCRIPTION OF THE 25 SOCIAL START-UPS:

    UIsLI (Albania): UIsLI is currently working on an audio dictionary in Albanian, that will be able to give the right pronunciation and meaning to every word in the Albanian language. This project will be followed by a text-to-speech platform in Albanian also. The idea is to create a screen reader for every person in Albania to use. It will be fully developed and will be used in many other areas. It might find its way to GPS navigation systems, ERP systems, mobile text-to-speech platforms, etc. IT will also be the first time that Albanian language will be supported by text-to-speech platforms since it has different specifications for reading, writing and pronunciation from other languages.  

    Whats home (Hungary): Whats home is an application helps the visually impaired, disabled, rushing mothers and large families! Their goal is always to figure out what's at home and what's not there! And what's left out, that is, its bag into the trash is immediately loaded into the shopping list! So specially the people with visual impairments and disabilities do not have to go to a store twice that really matters for them. Because it's the hardest to pay attention to what's at home and what's not home. But they do not have to worry about this with the new What's home application. There are three sensors, one at the cooler, one with the trash can and one with the kettle. As a Kodle reader, they get the new products out of the box and when it runs out and the bin gets automatically dropped by the sensor and gets into the shopping list. So they will always know what's left and they have to shop in the store so never again nothing can be left down.         

    Women Entrepreneurial Center (Serbia): The project aims at finding accessible and sustainable online and offline solutions for networking women entrepreneurs to build their capacities and expertise, promote solidarity and diversity among women entrepreneurs, and improve their social and economic position at the market. Expected outcome is to have empowered women entrepreneur network that generates and shares knowledge and expertise to improve social and economic position of women in small businesses (necessity and opportunity entrepreneurship). This will be achieved by producing user-friendly, accessible, and interactive online platform that promotes, markets, and networks women entrepreneurs clustered by type and scope of business (e,g, finance/economics, services, ICT, creative industry), but also serves as an information and knowledge space with written material and webinars on topics relevant for women entrepreneurs. The project will organize capacity-building for women entrepreneurs (targeted, theme-based consultations, trainings, lectures, presentations, meet-ups); creating safe space for generating knowledge (library and research center), co-working, product promotion; and establishing a mentoring and professional orientation program for girls (“know your rights and opportunities at the market”). The project will promote organization of all-female events that will be promoted as an empowerment model to big businesses as part of the “women and diversity program for business.”

    SolAid (Albania): People that face emergency issues are in extreme demand for energy. This target group could include war or climate refugees as well as people under natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, fires etc). In such situations, logistics and communication are crucial for saving lives. That is where simple and non-conventional energy suppliers are required. A solar-powered charger that also serves as a universal case/protector for mobile phones would be a great tool for emergency cases where power supplies are not available. Enabling people to recharge their mobile phones in such extreme situations with a solar-powered charger and cover (in-one) means creating space for communication, simplifying logistic operations and reducing loss of lives.

    Taníts Magyarországért - Teach for Hungary (Hungary): Teach for Hungary (Taníts Magyarországért) is tackling the challenge of educational inequality in Hungary in an innovative and sustainable way. The basic concept is to recruit university graduates with outstanding leadership skills and place them into schools in socially deprived areas for a two-year full-time commitment after preparing them in an intense summer course. Their involvement rests on two pillars: firstly, cooperating with teachers to facilitate high quality teaching in classrooms and secondly, running extracurricular activities such as sport-, science- and debate-clubs, organizing excursions and fundraising support. The two-year commitment is accompanied with ongoing mentoring and advanced trainings. The impact is twofold: On the one hand, students improve their performance and gain the crucial experience of self-efficacy. Such students develop greater ambitions for their own life, contribute more to society and by doing so bring about change. On the other hand, university graduates, who are often not fully aware of the structural educational inequality problem gain first-hand insight into the challenges faced by deprived students. After their commitment, they continue their professional career in all sectors of the Hungarian society and serve as advocates and multiplicators of the mission to grant equal opportunities to each Hungarian school child.

    Charitism (Hungary): The aim of the project of is to develop the business discipline with the help of a purchasable service pack which is characterised by knowledge acquisition, community action and a noble cause. For the methodology and experimental phase, the developmental tool creation programme of the Foundation's rehabilitational workshop serves as an example, where the tools and toys created are given to those children lacking in development through a tender system with the help of special education teachers. Those purchasing the service will enter a study environment and community, and will help a child in need with the resulting knowledge/product. The service provider will earn funds with basic goal of the foundation: knowledge transfer. This way, productivity can become useful through donation and charity, teaching becomes part of the rehabilitation of workers in the workshop, and the resulting products end up where they are needed the most. This way, beneficiaries are the families who get tools and methods for developing and healing their child. The project also involves waste reduction and handmade recycling techniques.

    Cargonomia - Community Cargobikes in each district in Budapest (Hungary): Inspired by functioning citizen-initiated, community cargobike sharing programs which have developed in Europe in recent years, Cargonomia aims to gather support for developing an open-source, locally produced and maintained cargobike sharing network in Budapest. The goal is to establish an accessible, user friendly cargo bike sharing network which is independently built and maintained with local community resources. Since May 2015, Cargonomia has existed as a non-profit collective in Budapest, Hungary. It serves as a sustainable urban transport center and local, healthy and organic food distribution point. The cooperation consists of a cargo-bike messenger service, a bicycle-building cooperative, a family-scale organic vegetable farm, an organic bakery, a wine distributor and citizen volunteers. In the last two years, besides the everyday usage of cargobikes for personal use and bike messenger services, in particular to deliver locally produced organic food, they have helped extend cargo bike access to approximately 100 of the neighbors. From families to music bands, from NGOs to artists, from festival organizers to local businesses, their experience shows a raising interest in cargobike usage, and measurable social benefits. For these reasons they would like to take further steps to improve their existing cargobike sharing system, and increase access to cargobikes to all districts of Budapest.

    Albanian Adventure Resort (Albania): Albanian Adventure Resort (AAR) is a tangible result of more than 15 years of tourism development in the region of Skrapar & Permet through rafting. AAR is a pilot initiative in the field of Adventure tourism, a public private partnership (PPP) between the Albanian Rafting Federation and the Ministry of Education and Sports. AAR is an innovative environment-friendly Adventure Tourism enterprise aiming to boost the local economy through tourism and love for the outdoors. It also aims to offer a beautiful heaven for all adventure travel enthusiasts. The AAR will serve as multi-sports center that will offer activities and education programs for the development of sustainable tourism in Albania. The AAR’s mission is “Transforming lives by celebrating the best of Albania”. The opportunity is to transform Albanian society and the country’s economic potential by reconnecting the next generation to Albanian heritage and the countryside. Through sustained infrastructure development, comprehensive hands-on vocational training and a reinvestment into the leaders of tomorrow, the Albanian Adventure Resort can provide a viable opportunity for Albanian society and its young citizens. The continued efforts and enthusiasm of large scale societal, cultural and environmental investment back into Albania can have major ramifications into the long-term success of its youth. Watch their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dn0RCqgJbLY

    EDUAKTIV (Albania): Eduaktiv is an idea converted in a portal where you find listed and ranked all public and private educational institutions in Albania and other countries soon. This will give portal users the opportunity to select and be part of the right institution. Every each of them have a folder with specifics that include information about the staff, program, facilities and other elements that will help users to make the right choice about the institution where they want to spend time to earn knowledge. This idea came from a mother who is also an architect and the portal was designed by her husband, who is a IT&Programmer.

    Journey to Health (Romania): The project aims to contribute to prevention and health education by facilitating an enjoyable educational process in an innovative, high technology fashion. The innovative approach is the education tool that will be created: a travelling, itinerant (in different cities and countries), high technology exhibition that features interactive, multimedia installations &virtual reality games that help visitors understand the importance of healthy nutrition from early years, the role of nutrition in health, information about food pyramid & alimentation habits. The goal is to become a worldwide benchmark in alimentation education, the first multimedia exhibition dedicated to alimentation and to contribute to improving health indicators and reduce obesity. The exhibition can be self sustainable after 4 months (entrance fee based) after opening can reach more than 15.000 visitors/month and aims to establish a new, more engaging and effective means of educating the general public; has a higher degree of sustainability than educational sessions and versatility in point of geographic coverage. Using the “learning by doing” method, visitors will be able to experiment and play with interactive installments and devices, through virtual and augmented reality. Addressed to the whole family, the exhibition will be an interesting experience both for adults and children and has the chances to have a bigger influence on changing behavior.

    Pana Storytelling Furniture (Albania): Pana is a social enterprise that employees people from marginalised groups ( roma community, people with disability , orphans and retired) by providing to them a profession ( carpenter) and a decent payment. Pana produces eco and unique design furniture by reusing reclaimed wood, wooden waste, pallets and everything from wood that can be found around without purpose. They have started in April 2013 after winning a competition in Albania organised from Partners Albania "green ideas and social enterprise" . Since that moment they have been working a lot , started with 2 employees in the first floor of a house, today with 16 employees with a warehouse of 350m2 , 100m2 office, a showroom in one of the most important shopping malls of Albania. Pana Storytelling Furniture won different prices regional and international that have recognised their ability and quality of work and products.

    Přestupní stanice / Transfer Station (Czech Republic): “Transfer Station”is a social enterprise that started this April and focuses on empowering homeless people by offering them temporary jobs, as well as organizing cultural events for the community around them. Transfer Station offers fair part-time jobs in a second-hand charity shop with donated clothes and a stable and friendly place for dealing with issues connected to homelessness, such as debts, sustainable living places, health and relationships. In an understanding way and without stress, Transfer Station creates a safe space for the colleagues who experienced homelessness, and for others who want to participate and find a safe space for themselves as well. Another goal of this project is to spread information and knowledge about the phenomenon of homelessness and open up other uncomfortable social and political issues to discussion. Thanks to these events and the forming community, their colleagues get a chance to work on their work skills, values and dignity. The final step is to help them find regular employment and fully integrate them into the workforce.          

    Knitting for an empowered life (Bosnia and Herzegovina): Non-governmental organization " Udružene " is a voluntary association of women founded in September 2012. Udružene focuses on the establishment of the value chain for the knitwear production, provision of access to markets and socio-economic empowerment of women in Bosnia and Herzegovina by protection, promotion and preservation of Bosnia Herzegovina handcrafts, preservation of dignity of women knitters, transmission of traditional skills to the younger generation, and creation of favorable conditions for the creative work of women knitters. Udružene seeks to give women an economic future by making the most of their ability to knit. We help women rise above the status of victims and empower them economically so that they can become active and equal members of Bosnian society. “UDRUŽENE” produces hand knit models for foreign designers and also has its own children clothes brand. Since their founding, we have produced more than 20 000 pieces of hand knitted models and we have sent them to the world market (France, Austria, Norway, Japan, Italy).

    HOPLA- Clothes with conscience (Albania): "HOPLA " is an everyday word for every child and parent and at the same time it means 'hope' and 'love', made in Albania. Here at "HOPLA" they intend to up cycle adult clothes (mostly big sizes) to Mom, Dad and me (kids) clothes, with Albanian spirit. Hopla intend to produce slow fashion and to ad cultural value handmade. The basis will be the clothes that are not any more to be sell, that means the one that are intended not to get used anymore and for that these clothes are going to be trash/waste. At "HOPLA" they intend to start with 5 women, vulnerable woman that come from poor families, (mothers with children), to have the possibility to work and so enabling these women to become financially independent, through the employment as seamstresses. HOPLA intends to be a “clothing Family style structure” that produces slow fashion, because at the same time they contribute to reduce waste for social sustainability. An Albanian product with social message for building local economies. HOPLA is where opportunity meets creativity.           

    Connecting demand and offer for social enterprises (SE) (Romania): The project wishes to create an online platform which would promote the services and/or products offered by Romanian social enterprises. This platform should connect the demand and offer of social services/products. A main problem social enterprises have is their low capacity of promoting themselves and to reach the target clients. More than that, they do not the necessary skills of showing the market the multiple benefits they can bring to the community. This project is a first one of this kind in Romania. Mobile application for disabled people (Serbia): There are around 650 million of disabled people, which is almost 15% of the world population. Very often their needs are being neglected and they are facing with difficulties in everyday activities, which leads them to a social exclusion. Since their movement is limited because of their disability, they can move only on a certain places and streets in cities. Maps for disabled people are made to solve one of their problems, making their everyday activities easier and offering them useful information while they travel to different places and cities. Application is made of maps from all around the world, which can show anytime and anywhere optimal route to a desired destination, and also to calculate average needed time to get to that destination. Beside this, application can show in every city available parking spots for disabled people, and also cafes, bars and other facilities suitable for them. Application can also offer chance to find and meet other disabled people in those cities, as they can spare quality time together. In application users have their profiles, they can add and change their pictures, add and meet new friends from all over the world, to share together their experiences and stories.          

    Facilitating Inclusion and Good Health Through Exercise and Rhythm: FIGHTER (Bulgaria): The goal of the project is to create a sports center that will be an alternative to mainstream gyms and fitness clubs that cannot accommodate the needs of people with visual disabilities. The lack of eyesight itself is already a restricting factor in terms of movement and physical activity. There is currently only a limited number of options for engagement in sports for sightless people which are often temporary and are not necessarily appropriate for each particular kind of visual disability and personal preference. this could be less so if there was a permanent establishment dedicated to the needs of visually impaired people. The extensive sports facility of this project will include several components: a gym with machines that could be easily controlled by sightless people, a running track marked with specific signs for the real experience of a run, and a dance hall for dance classes and social events. In each component there will be an emphasis on accessibility of the environment and the machines used, so people could feel confident and more independent during their workout. Supportive staff will be assisting people during their training sessions and sport classes, and dance instructors will be appropriately trained to teach visually impaired people. Finally, sports specialists will create the right workout plan for each person to make sure each session is as safe as it is enjoyable.       

    EduKIND (Romania): EduKIND( www.edukind.ro) is an educational space focused on emotional wellbeing. EduKIND undertakes emotional support and emotional learning activities for children, parents and educators: social and emotional learning workshops, individual counselling and psychotherapy, educational therapy for children with learning difficulties and/or facing adaptive challenges in the school environment. EduKIND is thought and felt as an educational space designed to inspire and offer kindness, acceptance and inclusion, which we all need to understand emotional experiences. We perceive education as a living and complex system, through which any person (child or adult) has the opportunity to get to know himself and the world around him. EduKIND is working to raise awareness on the need of integrating social and emotional learning activities in educational environments in Romania (public and private). In a secure and playful space and through creative methods, guided by specialists, children are helped to internalize socio-emotional learning by developing the ability to recognize, express and manage emotions, express empathy, interact emotionally healthy with others, resolutely resolve conflicts, develop resilience (ability to adapt to unexpected changes or difficult situations without being overwhelmed by events). These are essentials for improving students’ attitudes towards school and to develop more positive social behaviors and relationships with peers and adults. 

    What to where (Romania): The project is of sharing logistics cost for areas that are not reachable for logistics companies in order to improve the life of persons living there. In some parts of Romania the olders can not arrive to the postal post or to the grocery and I think this will help them to have what they need with the help of the others that have free time and the means to arrive there for them. Also the project is build to respond to the city needs of transport of different things from point A to point B in short time in the same day and also to help people between jobs or students to earn some money doing the transportation for others that don't have time or the means. The project is based on the sharing economy idea and I am really trustfully that will help communities all over Romania and maybe worldwide, starting with such a simple thing as logistics.       

    Wandering Café (Hungary): The Wandering Café is a tricycling café in style, offering premium coffee; something like ice-cream vendors of the past century, with a difference, however – the employees are homeless people. It aims at providing active help to homeless people who put an effort in getting out of their dismal situation while awakening them to the responsibility not only for their own fate but also the fate of other people in dire straits. Removing the wall that divides that social group from the society, this platform will help other people to understand its world – for the café is a traditional place for meeting other people, discussing and learning in terms of social competence.           

    UrbiGo (Serbia): UrbiGo is smart vertical garden that changes the way people consume food in urban areas. Made out of sustainable and recycled materials, UrbiGo communicates with users via smart app which serves as a platform for tracking your plants progress and education about importance of urban gardening. UrbiGo team went step further and created the feature of users 'climate tree', which grows as users gardening skills improve and urban garden progresses. With climate tree feature every user can make positive influence on climate change mitigation and adaptation with its vertical garden and compare progress with other UrbiGo users, creating impactful and greener community. The idea is to provide full package to users including seeds, substrate,vertical panel and planting manual via web site ordering. Also, their mission is to empower modern city people into the practice by promoting smart garden-smart gardener concept and supporting their users with articles, tips and advices via app and/their UrbiGo blog.     

    Social Innovation (Albania): Social Innovation is an online community which give new entrepreneurs chance to discuss about their idea. They can post problem and problem solving that they have and other members of community help them with their comments. This is first time that Albania is going to have an online hub. Social Innovation is going to make possible interview with successful man and woman that have created good things for country and innovative ideas. Social Innovation will try to build a chat for now when all the members can talk to eachother. They can help them, together with Social Innovation they can make Albania better. *Social Innovation is sponsored by EXINN Technology Center.*  

    ShukarBijoux.ro (Romania): Their mission will be aimed at creating jobs for craftsmen involved also raising living standards for their families, lowering the risk of social exclusion and also the poverty in which Roma craftsmen communities are. Another impact will be felt in the local tourism, many buyers are interested in visiting places where jewelry is accomplished craftsmen toil that a deposited to make the finest jewelry. Their goal is to make the Shukar Bijoux brand a strong one that has a national and international impact, through the Roma jewelery that are made by the craftsmen. In this way, they will implicitly contribute to the development and promotion of the Roma, bringing to the public a new side of it.  Introduction of CSR practices at Textile companies in Kosovo (Kosovo): Textile industry in Kosovo in recent years had experienced a solid growth. Main drivers are rather small to medium size companies working mainly for external markets using label production or outsourcing due to low labor costs and proximity with EU markets. Thus, important workforce is being used due to still highly manual operations despite some modern equipment being used. The vast majority of this workforce are women, which often are not in position to negotiate salary or decent working conditions, in many cases. Main activities and outcomes would be:

    • Direct communication with selected companies
    • Workshop to introduce the main initial findings and recommendations to launch CSR practices
    • Select pilot companies and allocate necessary resources/mentoring consultants to implement CSR practices
    • Use the success stories to attract more companies in textile and other manufacturing sectors
    • Create a network of CSR practitioners and companies implementing these measures       

    Beauty and Viara (Bulgaria): Viara* is to bring joy and to help girls and boys in need who, for reasons of social nature, cannot afford to purchase their own prom attire. Support of the aforementioned “beauties and princes”, to whom the attire is unobtainable, is shown through a small gesture – the provision of dresses or suits for the prom night, completely free of charge. There are also included accessories, makeup, hairdo, manicure and transportation. Beauty and Viara is registered and patented in the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria. Founder of Viara, Viara Gigova has also become an official associate with the Presidency of the Republic of Bulgaria in regards to the initiative in support of grad students in need. This only proves that her initiative can be intergrated into a broader range of target groups within their society. Benefactors help youth in social institutions (such as orphanages, special schools) as well as youth from Bulgarian families with an average income but struggling. The initiative is aimed at integrating, educating and finding of internships and jobs for young people. There exists a donation account and there are plans for creating a Scholarship fund in which will be distributed means for language and other educational courses. Beauty and Viara* - it’s a play on the fairy tale Beauty and the beast but has the name of the Founder (Viara Gigova) in it. A short trailer: https://www.facebook.com/KrasavitsataiViara/videos/1888412138079129/

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