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  • Writer's pictureТеодора Иванова

Coming Together on Topics of Social Economy and Diversity

The final stage of the SoDivers adventure brought together our Divers, partnering organizations, trainers and colleagues from the local mission driven organizations. This was a time to network and discuss possible cooperations, and build on the newly gained knowledge and skills during the summer in Bachevo.

SoDivers for Social Economy

This session was led by CEIS Ayrshire - the SoDivers project partner from United Kingdom. As their team couldn’t participate in the mobility activity in Bulgaria, due to COVID 19 restrictions, we provided the opportunities to our colleagues to take the leading role in this session and to share their rich experience in social enterprises - both to support and develop them.

Stephen Hamill and Keith Mason from CEIS Ayrshire shared the Scottish experience of Social Economy with a lot of interesting information about the model of working, and practical aspects of the job of CEIS Ayrshire as a social enterprise and in support of the communities. They also shared the challenges, local decisions and opportunities referring to the Covid crisis, as well as their shift to remote work and the new online solutions they founded while working with local social entrepreneurs.

CEIS Ayrshire is a social enterprise based in the West of Scotland that delivers a range of services including employability, employer engagement, recruitment and retention services, workforce development services, community engagement and capacity building, skills and training services and community regeneration services.

CEIS Ayrshire approach surrounds client-centered business, built around a core set of values, including commitment to achieve the best for each individual jobseeker, no matter how distant from the labour market, and meeting the needs of employers. Working with local communities to develop and create opportunities and sustainable projects created from the bottom up. CEIS have a strong track record on supporting youths from various backgrounds with training and employment, as well as one of supporting businesses, social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in improving their business skills and help to develop sustainable businesses across Scotland.

Fruitful discussion with colleagues and participants followed the presentation and many remarks and comparisons between the countries were made regarding the social economy reality and the governmental support during the health crises.

Theodora Ivanova from Impact Drive shared information about DigiComs - Digital Communicators for mission driven organisations - a social business project that provides solution and resources for the organisations' practitioners to communicate effectively and impactfully online.

SoDivers for Diversity & Inclusion

This session led us through the stories of past and future initiatives dedicated to equality and inclusion at the workplace.

Ethnic Diversity and Inclusion at the Workplace - the OSI-Sofia experience was shared by Anita Jones (Bulgaria) - trainer at the SoDivers project, senior expert from OSI-Sofia and co-founder of the Diversity Pays Off platform.

Anita presented the Bridge to Business project that provided series of solutions for enabling career opportunities in white collar jobs for Roma youths.

Inclusive Design Stories shared by Ivelina Gadgeva (Bulgaria / UK) - an Inclusive Designer and expert from the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art in London.

Iva took us in the world of the inclusive design and demonstrated us its role for inclusion in every aspect of life.

Momgotajob shared by Veselina Panayotova, expert at Impact Drive and participant within the SoDivers.

Momgotajob is a newly developed social entrepreneurship project of Impact Drive partially inspired by the team activities within the SoDivers training mobility. It aims to work for ensuring better balance of work and life for the working mothers, providing support, flexible job and other solutions at the workplace.

During the discussion Ine Wynants, also a SoDivers' participant and activist in the Belgium MinusONE shared some developments around their work with young girls from immigrant families in Ghent. They are working on developing the business idea which emerged from the training over the summer.

SoDivers for Funding of Social Ideas

For the final session we were joined by two lovely ladies that shared the experience of two inspiring organisations, operating in Bulgaria and in Greece.

Investment for Impact: Instruments for support of social enterprises of Reach for Change, Bulgaria presented by Stoyana Stoeva, Program Officer.

Reach for Change is an international non-profit founded in Sweden visioning that all children and youth could reach their full potential. Reach for Change Bulgaria runs development programs for social entrepreneurs, tailored to their specific developmental stage. The social entrepreneurs are supported to scale their innovations through capacity-building, network connections and funding, all in partnership with multiple sectors.

Anastasia Psoma represented the work of Higher Incubator Giving Growth & Sustainability, Greece. As a non-profit organization HIGGS reinforces non-profit organizations in Greece, through capacity building, delivered via trainings, mentoring, consulting, networking, events, and other supportive activities. HIGGS evolves into a hub of creativity and open dialogue aimed at promoting collaboration and innovation in the NPO and social enterprises sector as well as a meeting place of all stakeholders, both literally and symbolically.

At the end of this round of session we are motivated and filled with enthusiasm to work on new endeavors within the Erasmus + with our partners, already developing some ideas for supporting the work of the youth workers and the non-profit practitioners. Stay tuned...



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