While the whole world is ‘vibing’ around social innovation and social entrepreneurship, Macedonia is way back in understanding this concept of doing business. Even though the startup community is growing quickly, many aspiring entrepreneurs in Macedonia don’t even think of the possibility to combine Richard Branson’s and Mother Theresa’s ways of doing things.
Luckily, in the past few months there have been different initiatives to highlight the importance of social innovation and promote social entrepreneurship.
How it all started
Businessmodel workshop at SIA; Photo credit: SIA Macedonia
One of those initiatives is the Social Impact Award which one of the biggest student contest on social entrepreneurship. This award is already present in 10 countries around Europe and it already started with the kick-off event in January. Since then, numerous workshops on business idea generation and business modeling were held, where students were able to better understand the whole process and get valuable advice from the mentors from Impact Hub Vienna.
The Award Ceremony
While the audience already knew who the semifinalists were, because they had the opportunity to watch their one minute video presentations and vote to choose the community award winner, the contestants themselves were eager to find out if they were the ones to take the award for best social business.
And the first ever Social Impact Award Macedonia went to Good Earth. The team aims to create a food production system where everybody involved will be able to benefit from the organic and bio-dynamical business approach.
It is our pleasure to be the organizers of SIA in Macedonia for the first time.
Antoaneta Ivanova co-founder of Mladiinfo.
The runner-up was team Coolinari 2.0 who went home with 2,000 euros prize money. Their project was designed to help the students of the State Gastronomy School to recognize the potential of their profession and improve their skills for transition to the labor market.
1,000 euros and the third place were given to Solarna Elektrana’s prototype. Their idea is based on the construction of a concentrated solar power plant that aims to reduce energy imports as well as air pollution in Skopje.
Last but not least, the special community award went to team Moj Vozduh – a mobile and web application that tells users how polluted the air is at their location. “Every idea deserves to be funded and shape the future of our community, and the enthusiasm of all the teams inspired me to continue my work further in the field of social entrepreneurship,” said Gorjan Jovanovski, cofounder of Moj Vozduh.
“It is our pleasure to be the organizers of SIA in Macedonia for the first time,” said Antoaneta Ivanova, co-founder of Mladiinfo International and SIA Coordinator in Macedonia. “Hopefully we did contribute in motivating the young people to realize the potential of social entrepreneurship and we are very proud with all received applications. It was a tough choice in the end.”
“Next up, the winners are going to a Vision Workshop at Impact Hub Vienna, where all winners from the 10 participating countries will have the opportunity to meet and exchange experience while getting mentor’s advices. After that, the teams will go through a three-month incubation period at NewMans Business Accelerator in Skopje. By the end of the year we will all meet again to promote how far the teams have gotten,” Ivanova added. SIA is a competition realised with the support of ERSTE Foundation and Impact Hub Vienna. In Macedonia, it is moreover organized by Mladiinfo International, supported by Sparkasse Bank Makedonija and in partnership with NewMan’s Business Accelerator.
If you never thought of starting a social enterprise, now is the right time. Do your research, gather your team and follow up on Social Impact Award.