13 September 2022
At the end of the second cycle of the RISE Journey, and in the perspective of starting the third cycle, the project of the Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs (RISE) has organized a three-day regional forum on Social Entrepreneurship in Tirana, Albania from 6- September 8, 2022.
The forum gathered the most important actors and parties of the entrepreneurial ecosystem from the Western Balkans and Europe. The event was attended by representatives of a wide range of ecosystem actors, including central and local government institutions from the region, local, regional and international development institutions, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, academic experts and mentors.
The second RISE Regional Forum, supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, presented a regional-wide conference focusing on the importance of developing support mechanisms and legal frameworks to foster social entrepreneurship as a powerful instrument for social and economic development in the region.
Through various panels, discussions and interactive workshops, participants exchanged ideas, experiences and best practices in all sectors with speakers, experts, social entrepreneurs and start-ups. They discussed the current state of social entrepreneurship in the region and best practices to shed light on European initiatives and the perspective of the Western Balkans. By bringing together different actors, this activity aims to provide a platform for the exchange of experiences to take the region's social economy to the next level.
Providing a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of innovation and social entrepreneurship, the forum represents an excellent platform to motivate young social entrepreneurs to engage in cross-cultural dialogue and learning, provide opportunities to improve business skills and support peer-to-peer networking.
The RISE project is developed and monitored by a consortium consisting of the Regional Office for Youth Cooperation (RYCO), PULSE (SOS Group), the South-East European Youth Network (SEEYN), the French Institute, and the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ), and implemented by six local incubators: ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nešto više, Smart Kolektiv, IEC Tehnopolis and Yunus Social Business.
The overall objective of RISE is to promote reconciliation in the Western Balkans through the promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship in the region. The project opens new spaces of reconciliation for the youth of the Western Balkans through a regional program to support social entrepreneurship.
The RISE project launched in 2019 has already supported 92 teams of 258 young people from the Western Balkans in developing their social business ideas. Participants took part in a series of training, individual training sessions and a mentoring program. Twenty-four of those teams were awarded financial grants of €2,500 and a regional incubation program. RISE has been supported for three more years of operation and will support at least 350 young people in the future.