On the 26th of March EOLAS, with the support of Fundación Maimona organized an inspiring event around social innovation. The event shied away from a traditional format of presentations and round tables, where attendees listen in and merely ask questions. The approach used was an open dialogue where the experienced and invited social entrepreneurs told their story and engaged in a conversation with participants, generating a real conversation rather than a one-way knowledge transfer.
The event started off with Manon van Leeuwen showing the Social Innovation Academy, highlighting its content, components and features, and how existing and future social innovators and entrepreneurs could benefit from it. She then explained the strategy of EOLAS in the field of social innovation and entrepreneurship and the support and services the organization provides in this field.
Then, the floor was given to three experienced social innovators from Extremadura to tell their stories, explaining why they decided to move forward with their social innovation initiative or social entrepreneurship venture, the challenges and barriers they faced, and how they overcame them. We were lucky to count with three very different but equally inspiring social innovations.
Aexpainba & Fundación Magdalena Moriche – Inteligencia Límite provide integral attention to persons with limited intelligence and light intellectual impairments and their families. The Foundation was born out of the need of a mother with two children in this situation and who could find no specific support and attention for them at the time.
Showing that small municipalities are a fertile ground for social innovation, the Ayuntamiento San Pedro de Mérida presented their project on providing care for their elderly. Instead of building a new elderly home, the whole town is seen as the home, with options for central care services through the elderly activity centre, but also in the home situation 24/7.
Las Tres Ridiculas is an initiative of three sisters in a rural area of the region, to promote a culture of care, health and art towards all people, with a special attention to promoting a model of respectful upbringing, based on attachment, respect and sympathy with children.
After their stories, the conversation geared around the challenges and barriers social innovators and entrepreneurs face in Spain and in the Extremadura region in particular, would-be social innovators dug into the motivations and lessons learned, trying to learn from the experiences, successes and mistakes made.
The event has serviced as a kick off for a small network of social innovators, entrepreneurs and interested stakeholders, and steps are being made to create the tools to continue the exchange of knowledge and experiences. This is not the end, but the beginning of the extension of the Social Innovation Academy across the region.
We would also like to thank the social innovators of Sirocografia for the sustainable and ecological t-shirts for the event.
Learn more at Social Innovation Academy
If you are interested in social innovation, why not learn more at the Social Innovation Academy, the first fully online management training programme focusing exclusively on social innovation?
Why Social Innovation Academy? Social innovation has increasingly come to be perceived as the answer to the rising number of European societal challenges. While the European authorities, leading academics, policy experts, business people and activists agree that social innovation is the key to a better future for Europe and the world, it is extremely difficult for professionals to obtain high-quality training on what social innovation actually offers and, more importantly, how it can be done in practice.
The Social Innovation Academy is aiming to change this situation in Europe and beyond. If you are interested in keeping up with this project, you can subscribe to our newsletter, become one of our friends or follow us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). We welcome all requests for collaboration here.