PARIS, FRANCE – The RISE study trip was successfully held in Paris, France, from the 6th to the 8th of February. Six managers from RISE Local Incubators (ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, IEC Tehnopolis, Nesto Vise, Smart Kolektiv, Yunus Social Business Balkans) and representatives of OFAJ and SEEYN participated for three days, broadening their knowledge and interacting with key actors in the field of social entrepreneurship in France.
Meeting the French ecosystem
The RISE participants were honoured to meet Mr Nicolas Faye, Deputy Director for Balkan Europe and Ms Judith Finelle, Political Affairs Officer Bosnia and Herzegovina, Balkan Youth Issues, Balkans department, Continental Europe Directorate. Local Incubators representatives presented their organisations, projects and challenges they face in the region. Mr Faye reaffirmed the importance of the RISE project in the Western Balkans for its innovative and impactful approach. He also underlined the importance of the region’s integration into the European Union as an essential driver for the democratisation and strengthening of institutions in the Western Balkans. Currently, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are official candidates, while Kosovo* is a potential candidate for the EU integration process.
In PULSE Incubator located in Montreuil, participants met the PULSE France team that supports social entrepreneurs. They were introduced to their activities, impact and overview of the French social and solidarity economy ecosystem. It was also an opportunity to meet three young female entrepreneurs:
- Camila from UniR launched a program to facilitate access to education for refugees and asylum seekers while valuing their past experiences. She and her team accompany their beneficiaries in academic and socio-professional integration into French society.
- Claire from Cali & Gali creates an opportunity for vocational trainers to be open to more diversity and professional opportunities by placing integration professionals at the heart of the equality approach while creating a working atmosphere conducive to the emancipation of all.
- Fatimata from Atelier Fatimata Sy offers unique or upcycled pieces, ethical designers in fashion, jewellery, accessories, home decoration and ethical cosmetics made sustainably.
Work together to prepare the future
A new form of governance was introduced at the programmatic level to give the Local Incubators an equal voice in the continuous improvement of RISE implementation. During the next three years of the project, each Local incubator will take the chair in Programmatic committees and act as the president of the network for 6 months. Yunus Social Business Balkans, the current chair organisation, organised the first programmatic committee to prepare for the upcoming project activities and facilitate the programmatic co-development. In addition, peer learning sessions will be organised with the aim of knowledge exchange and cohesion strengthening.
By bringing all of the partners together, the study trip provided an opportunity to cooperate and exchange ideas on future activities. Improved methodology of RISE Bootcamp, tailor-made communication strategy and improved programmatic cohesion between developing soft and hard skills for young entrepreneurs are among many positive results of this strategically important meeting.
About RISE Project
Launched on 1 October 2019, RISE (Regional Incubator for Social Entrepreneurs) with its ten partners, supports any venture by young people in the Western Balkans that aims to have a positive social or environmental impact on their ecosystems. The implementation of the project takes into account the specific needs of the region as well as its historical and political context. Thus, this project aims to foster reconciliation in the Western Balkans through the promotion and strengthening of social entrepreneurship.
This project is co-funded by the Agence Française de Développement, the European Union; Regional Youth Cooperation Office and the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ). RISE project is developed in partnership with the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), PULSE (Groupe SOS), South East European Youth Network (SEEYN), the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ), ARNO, Balkan Green Foundation, Nesto vise, Smart Kolektiv, IEC Tehnopolis and Yunus Social Business Balkans.