Ekaterina Tarasova was awarded a grant for organizing an alumni event on social entrepreneurship in 2014. Below is described what happened during the event.

On October 10 a workshop on social entrepreneurship in Sweden was held for SI Alumni and current scholarship holders with the support from the Swedish Institute. The workshop organized by Nordkonst provided an opportunity for SI Alumni and current scholarship holders to meet experienced social entrepreneurs and to discuss various issues related to social entrepreneurship. The broad definition of social entrepreneurship gave an opportunity to discuss the theme very broadly and to approach it from various angles.

Nathalie Ahlstedt Mantel from Ashoka Scandinavia described how the term social entrepreneurship was coined at first by the founder of Ashoka. Ashoka network provides various programs of support for experienced and early-stage entrepreneurs including Ashoka fellowship program and Changemaker Xchange. The focus of the presentation on reaching system change instead of focusing on small aspects and consequences of some system imbalances was truly inspiring. After a presentation on what it means to be a social entrepreneur, Johanna Valentin, the founder of Utsiktstornet – an organization that works with the issues of equality and integration for the children with various backgrounds through organizing the sessions of playing chess, shared five advices for those considering developing their own company. Among others was the advice to stay open-minded and to prepare to meet challenges on the way as well as to find a partner.

Global Playground Stockholm represented by Aleh Kliatsko and Lara Schultes talked in their presentation about a range of sustainability-minded projects that they organized in the last two years. The focus in many projects is responsible consumerism and re-usage as well as urban gardening. All presentations were followed by considerable discussions on the varying definitions of social entrepreneurship and challenges social entrepreneurs meet on their way. The accommodating atmosphere of the workshop created conditions for asking all kind of questions from a starting point of organizing new enterprise to securing income. This session was lively and the workshop participants enthusiastically explored different angles of becoming social entrepreneurs.

The second part of the workshop was structured around the discussions about the challenges that social entrepreneurs at the early stage could face and  and the ways of overcoming of these potential challenges. The commonly identified challenge was the one of finding partners at various levels. As most of the participants have already been engaged into the theme of entrepreneurship the discussion was held close to the practice.

The workshop was concluded on the words of continuing discussions beyond the format of the workshop and keeping in touch. The workshop participants were very positive about the format and organization of the workshop as well as they were grateful for the opportunity to meet and network.

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