• Aleš-Bržan, mayor of Koper, sitting on a chair with legs crossed in a suit. SIA is working with municipalities like Koper to ensure our program is accessible to all young people.

    Making SIA accessible to rural areas: In conversation with Aleš Bržan

    Our work at Social Impact Award (SIA) is deeply rooted in local realities. We strive to make our offerings accessible to all, by working with partners embedded in local communities. Whether living in rural areas or larger cities, this approach allows us to appropriately meet the needs of young people across all our regions of activity. 

    Our work with municipalities has played a crucial role in making this approach successful. Local government institutions have very strong and personal ties with the communities they serve, and witness first hand the value of supporting young people to build careers with purpose. By working with SIA, they invest in the future of local youth and send a clear signal that they believe in young people’s potential to make a difference. 

    Last year, SIA Slovenia and the municipality of Koper in Slovenia worked closely together in order to give all young people in their community access to the SIA program. We sat down with Koper’s mayor Aleš Bržan to discuss the importance of investing in young people at the local level. 

    In 2021, you worked closely with SIA to bring the program to your municipality in Slovenia. How did this collaboration come about?

    Support for social entrepreneurship is one of my key campaign promises and I always keep a close eye on any program empowering young people to develop and implement innovative business solutions. I firmly believe social entrepreneurship is a very effective way for young people to create improvements in society.

    How can social entrepreneurship contribute to a more just, sustainable, and prosperous future for your region?

    The City Municipality of Koper is at a crossroads, both literally and figuratively. With several main road entry points into Slovenia, rail connection to Central and Eastern Europe and with the Port of Koper, the major contributor to the economy, Koper is dealing with the social and environmental impact of transport. At the same time, Koper also has important natural resources with our unique ecology and biodiversity. To protect our economy, environment and future, we need to develop new sustainable transport systems, we need new ideas, new solutions. We need young people to get involved in creating new sustainable business models and young people need to have their say in how to limit current environmental, social and economic costs for our economy. 

    How do you see Social Impact Award contributing to the future of your municipality?

    We are glad Social Impact Award has raised awareness for social entrepreneurship in our municipality and believe it will steer us towards an economy built for prosperity, not just profits.

    For a deep dive into our work with municipalities, take a look at our Global Impact Report 2021

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