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  • Empowering Baltic social entrepreneurs

    Reach for Change is a partner in the newly launched Integrated Baltic Ecosystem for Social Innovation (IBESI) - a Horizon Europe project aimed at raising awareness and facilitating access of Baltic States’ social entrepreneurs to the resources of local and pan-European innovation ecosystems.

    The Integrated Baltic Ecosystem for Social Innovation (IBESI) project is officially underway since the first in-person consortium meeting was held in Tartu, Estonia, on 18 January 2023.

    With a focus on the social economy sector in the Baltic Sea Region, the IBESI project is poised to empower social entrepreneurs and innovators alike with improved connections with existing entrepreneurship ecosystems, broader access to alternative sources of financing, and tested innovation models with a potential for scaling up and replication.

    Within the project Reach for Change will partner with three other experienced social economy and innovation support organizations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania: Baltic Innovation AgencySocial Enterprise Estonia and Katalista Ventures.

    In light of the lack of social enterprises with profit-generating business models and their poor integration within existing entrepreneurship ecosystems, the project will take on several initiatives over a period of 24 months (From January 2023 to January 2025) to achieve its three expected outcomes:

    1) Improved connections with innovation ecosystems

    To expand entrepreneurs’ knowledge about social innovation, support the creation of new social entrepreneurs in the nascent Baltic market and foster greater interconnectivity among social entrepreneurs and innovation actors, the project includes the organization of three training modules in regional hubs, two topical hackathons for potential social innovators, and two acceleration programs for social entrepreneurs in the region with 1:1 mentoring sessions, thematic workshops, and interactive keynotes.

    2) Wider access to alternative financing

    To improve social entrepreneurs' confidence to apply various financial strategies within the framework of the project, the project established three types of activities for more comprehensive access to alternative financing sources. These include launching crowdfunding pilots with social entrepreneurs, engaging investors in international skill-sharing workshops to stimulate impact investments, and creating a practical roadmap on alternative financing mechanisms available in the Baltics for easier orientation among the various existing options in place.

    3) Tested innovation models with the potential of scaling up and replication

    Following the need to facilitate the transnational exchange of best practices about fostering social innovation ecosystems and provide foundations for future coordination between policymakers, the project will organise hybrid study visits for sharing and transferring best policy practices from the Nordic regions to the Baltic context, follow-up workshops for embedding learnings, and compile a report on best policy practices.

    The project funding in the amount of 498 927.50 € is provided by the European Union through the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency.


    The project is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.