The mission of the Social Impact Award (SIA) is to offer to young people and students one entrepreneurial journey that will make social difference. Established by the Erste Foundation, Impact Hub Vienna and Vienna University of Economic and business in 2009, SIA promotes the knowledge and practice the social entrepreneurship among youth in Europe. The program achieves its mission by raising awareness about social entrepreneurship, offering an educational program, giving access to peers and professionals and directly supporting the most promising ventures.
Image 1: SIA components, Source: http://socialimpactaward.net/
In 2016, 10 different countries were included in the program. Currently, the SIA family is consisted of 20 different countries located in Europe, Eurasia and MEDA region. The most interesting component is that all 6 Western Balkan countries (Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Hercegovina and Montenegro) are now part of this international initiative.
Image 2: SIA countries
Mladiinfo International since 2015 is coordinating SIA Macedonia. Since this year, more than 25 educational workshops were organized in the cities of Skopje, Tetovo, Gostivar, Ohrid, Bitola, Prilep and Stip. The participants of the workshops had the opportunity to know their basics of social entrepreneurship to develop their business ideas from the beginning, and bring them on stage where they can be implemented. More than 500 young people took part in these workshops. During the summer period, mentoring took place in the year 2015 and 2016. The same timeframe will be used in 2017 as well. The total prize fund in Macedonia yearly is 6000 euros, a trip to the international SIA Summit for the best teams, mentoring, incubation period and many other opportunities. In total for the years 2015 and 2016 in Macedonia, there were 22 different finalists, out of which 8 winners. In the same period, more than 5000 people were engaged in the Community voting, by giving their on -line vote for the best video of the finalist’s teams. The great success of the program is achieved through: 1. media and social media presence (in the period 2015-2016 more than 50 media created a piece of news for SIA), 2. financial partnering with Sparkasse Bank Macedonia, Pakomak and Konto – profit 3. Support from the biggest Universities in the country, student organizations, youth organizations, public institutions and business community.
Image 3: SIA Timeline
And why Social Impact Award? We believe in the entrepreneurial process as an ideal means for students and young people to unleash this potential and build their future carrier. The path of developing a social venture helps students and young people connect with their aspirations for a better society and their creative talent. It invites them to take an active role as citizens, get in touch with reality and to collaboratively articulate and test workable solutions to societal challenges. Joining this process in a supportive environment provides students with a potentially transformative learning experience: in tools, concepts and practice of social entrepreneurship, in teamwork, and – most importantly – in the capability to create positive impact.