• SIA’s Global Impact Report showcases how 220 incubated ventures shaped Social Innovation in 2019

    Every year, we look back on the activities and achievements of our international community over the past year. Our yearly Global Impact Report provides a bigger picture of our impact work in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The report summarizes our efforts in helping young social entrepreneurs navigate from vague intentions to promising impact ventures.

    This is the first article of our blog series on the topic of how SIA and social entrepreneurship change people’s lives. 


    Today, we are proud to share with you the brand-new Global Impact Report 2019. We invite you to study it in detail to learn about what SIA does in its four impact fields of Awareness, Education, Support, and Community. Learn about how our journey developed over the yearly program and successfully ended with our SIA Summit in Kyiv hosting 150+ stakeholders.

    Moreover, you can sneak-peek into our vision of scaling into new regions. Our managing board member, Hinnerk Hansen, also shares with you one more thought on why fresh, young voices should weigh in on the global discussion of social change. We cannot wait to experience more role models like Greta in our community.    

    But before you start reading all these stories, learn about our key findings on 10 years of SIA. Since establishing the SIA community in 2009, we have been active in 25+ countries, offering 1,000+ workshops and events to 31,000+ young people. So far 730 social ventures have been successfully incubated. 77% of our SIA winners are still running their ventures 3.5 years after participating in SIA. 

    Only in 2019, SIA provided 200+ workshops and events to leverage the awareness and potential of social entrepreneurship among young people. About 8,400 young people participated in 70+ cities in 16 countries globally. About 220 social ventures got successfully incubated to bring their idea to the next level and learn core-skills for their personal entrepreneurial journey. 

    For all of you who cannot wait to start reading, find our Global Impact Report 2019 here.



    For those who want some more sneak-peeks into our four impact fields in 2019, stay tuned:

    Awareness shows you which UN-Sustainable Development Goals our social ventures focused on in 2019. Fostering “Sustainable Communities and Resilient Cities” is more present than ever, influenced by the demographic and climate changes we are experiencing at present. Moreover, you will learn how our awareness activities enabled SIA to go big in Romania.

    Education provides you – next to our impact numbers – with a deep-dive into the crucial topic of wellbeing. SIA’s academic partner shares the latest findings of our studies on wellbeing. Learn how our young entrepreneurs self-assess their burnout risks and why wellbeing is a true game-changer for social entrepreneurs.

    Support highlights how 220 social ventures benefited from our incubation program in 2019. We are amazed that our recent alumni study proves that 77% of SIA winners have a long-lasting impact. Four out of five SIA winners are still running their ventures 3.5 years after attending SIA – a big round of applause to all of them! As a role model, a SIA winner from Kazakhstan shares her story of why she supports mothers to live their professional mission. 

    Community underlines our culture within the SIA community in Europe, Africa, and Asia. A SIA finalist stated recently that ”SIA’s community of likeminded people does not compete, but support and enrich each other to make the world a better place, together.”. Moreover, Freshys, our Macedonian winner in 2016, proves how a social food restaurant can also strengthen the local civic community.

    Enjoy learning more about Social Impact Award community in our Global Impact Report 2019.


  • Volunteering gave me more than just the skills!

    Lukas Weissinger has been a part of the Social Impact Award volunteer team for almost two years. In these two years, he got to experience a whole range of roles and activities and became an essential member of our team. Recently, he joined the Social Entrepreneurship Center at WU, and will support our impact assessment efforts.

    Now you can join our team as well! Apply for our volunteer team until November 1.

    You have been a part of SIA’s volunteer team for almost two years now. How has your role and engagement evolved over time?

    My voluntary work at SIA Austria was my first engagement outside of the university. Looking back on almost two yearsI went from an assisting role to now organizing and planning my own projects. At first, I didn’t really know what will await me, so I just saw it as a big learning experience and tried to do every task I got handed as best as I could. These tasks ranged from publishing and promoting our workshops and events, to assisting the SIA team at events. This allowed me to get a better understanding of Social Impact Award and its community. Over the course of my first few months, I realized that managing the online content is one of my strong sides and I gradually got more involved with the website. I went from just managing the content to working on the website independently to finally developing and designing the incubation platform for SIA Austria. 

    I also got more and more involved in organizing the workshops and even facilitating parts of it. We were touring all over Austria presenting the idea of social entrepreneurship to different crowds. 

    I always had the feeling that SIA not only gave me the possibilities to strengthen my already existing skills but also to discover new areas to broaden my capacities.

    What are some of the things you’ve learned during your volunteer experience?

    Volunteering in the field of social entrepreneurship definitely gave me more than just skills. It is the entrepreneurial spirit of seeing an issue, finding a solution and applying it that really stuck with me the most.

    Being a very structured person myself it really helped me break out of a safety mindset and see the possibilities, go for ideas, and to just try out things and learn from the outcomes. Getting more confident with jumping in the cold water, I was also able to gain experiences that affected my personal and professional development a lot.

    Since the program of SIA is lasting a full yeat, it involves a lot of different projects. From workshops to events and foremost the incubation. Therefore, it requires a variety of skills. The biggest personal learning was from getting an insight into the event management aspect. Social Impact Award, with 10 years of experience in hosting events locally and internationally, offers a large range of tools and experiences that made it easy to grow into my role as a volunteer. I started off with promoting our events on- and offline, then assisting our country coordinator onsight by providing technical and hospitality support. Later I was planning and executing our very own fair appearances, which meant representing SIA towards the fair visitors and managing a team of volunteers. 

    What is your favorite thing about SIA?

    My favorite thing about SIA is definitely the community. Not only the SIA team and my fellow volunteers, who are an awesome group of people you can learn from, work together on spreading the idea(s) of social entrepreneurship and having the best time while doing so. But also the broader community, with all the workshop participants, supporters, and, of course, our finalists.

    Photo credits: Alexander Gotter

    Even though it is a different group of people each year, it is an inspiring experience every time. It gives one so much joy working with peers that have their own idea they are burning for and want to make the world a better place with. Talking to all these people, learning from them and giving advice, while connecting them to the SIA community and ultimately elevating social entrepreneurship as a whole, was my favorite part of volunteering experience by far.

    Why would recommend someone join our volunteers’ team?

    Social Impact Award will give you the possibility to gain the essential skills you need today, such as event management, social media, team management, and many others. However, the one thing I cherished the most while volunteering is the community.


  • Are you crazy? Why would you want to be a volunteer? The story of a SIA volunteer Tansu will tell you why!

    Throughout the year, Social Impact Award engages with a lot of volunteers. But how does their journey look like? What do they gain through this experience? We asked one of our volunteers, Tansu Akinci, to share her thoughts on volunteering and her Social Impact Award journey.

    Are you crazy? Being a volunteer is nonsense! You are working but not earning anything?!


    On a good CV, volunteer experiences are really important!

    Two different sides of a medallion: Nowadays, as a motivated young person, studying is not enough. But not enough for what? To get a good job, to be enrolled in a prestigious master program? No, it is not that superficial, there is more. Let me take you to a short journey into my experiences as a SIA volunteer for about a year.

    Before joining the SIA family, I had no idea what social entrepreneurship and being an entrepreneur meant. I was considering myself as a risk-averse person who would never become a part of the risky and highly uncertain world of some hyper-motivated people who never sleep and try to build a solid business from scratch. No, that was too much… But again, a part of me was curious and wanted to explore this mysterious world and confront my stereotypes. After joining SIA and becoming a member of Impact Hub Vienna, doors to an incredible cool community were open, terms like co-working spaces, pitches, networking events, and many more gained meaning to me.

    To sum up my experiences and lessons-learned in SIA, four things should be emphasized:

    1. SIA offered me the entrance to a great community with highly motivated people, who want to change something for good. Critical people with a real vision behind their work, amazing ideas and projects that are concerned with the real-world problems, not just with the idea of making more and more money… Impossible is not a word here. I have not met a single pessimistic person, on the contrary, everyone inspired me to be a more conscious entrepreneur. I have learned a completely new concept of business: social business, which is the coolest thing I have ever heard.

    2. SIA-Team = a great team. From day 1, I was a part of a big international family, worked with other motivated students like myself and saw that there are many other young people who share similar opinions and want to become a part of the solution, not the problem.

    3. I have learned how to be more flexible. Sometimes you need to be there to present something, sometimes you need to decorate for an event, sometimes you need to think about reaching as many people as possible and increase the awareness of youth on important subjects, sometimes you need to do spamming activities on social media or just chill out while making some cool SIA buttons. No matter what you are doing, it is fun and you’re doing something meaningful, for yourself as well as for society!

    4. It is not just about being a passive part of the community and getting inspired by “other” cool projects. It is about actively doing something! After joining SIA I saw many doors opening or had the chance to open them. Through networking events, I made many valuable connections and great things happened such as internships, good contacts, greater knowledge and even a social start-up in which I am currently active as a social entrepreneur!

    So, SIA is what you make out of it. Being a volunteer requires two important skills: motivation and an open mind. The rest shapes from itself!

    Thank you SIA for everything! I’ll be around – once you are in, you can never get out!



    Photo credit: Alexander Gotter


  • Social Impact Award is the winner of TRIGOS 2019!

    What do a bicycle delivery service that employs women in Uganda, a Russian company that produces 3D printed affordable prosthetics for children, and an Austrian startup that does modular, innovative shelters for homeless people have in common? They are all alumni of Social Impact Award!

    All these businesses and individuals we supported around the world are the reason we have won “TRIGOS 2019 Award” in the category of “International Engagement”, at the TRIGOS Gala on June 12, at Marx Palace in Vienna.


    TRIGOS Gala gathered 220 guests from the world of business, politics and civil society, eagerly following who will take home the prestigious award for companies that embody responsible action in their core business. In a video message, Federal President Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen shared his appreciation for all the companies that contribute to Austria’s future viability.

    We also want to take the opportunity and congratulate other companies who won “TRIGOS 2019 Award” in their respective categories – Vollpension, Deloitte Future Fund (with the program found!), hollu Systemhygiene, Neuburger Fleschlos and Lenzig AG.

    TRIGOS is the most prestigious award for responsible businesses in Austria. In 2019, a total of 147 nominations were received, and six companies were awarded in six different categories. The award recognizes companies who are role models, contributing to the sustainable future of Austrian society, economy, and environment.

    If you would like to stay informed about our work, sign up for our quarterly newsletter here.


    Photos Copyright: Gebrüder Pixel / www.gebruederpixel.at

  • SIA Summit – A Winner’s Perspective

    In November 2018, Social Impact Award gathered SIA winners from all countries, together with SIA organizers and partners for three intense days of learning, sharing and collaborating in the vibrant city of Tbilisi, Georgia. We invited one of the winners, Julia Bodin from SIA Switzerland, to share her SIA Summit experience with you.

    My project Let’s Talk Waste was awarded the jury prize of Social Impact Award Switzerland 2018. The project’s mission at heart is to inspire private individuals to rethink their waste production, to make them understand that there is value in waste and to incite them to think about reducing the amount of waste they are producing. I believe that there is power in the actions of the individuals which is why I am betting that with our consumption choices, we can pressure politics and industrials to change their way of working and designing laws and products. I offer a full-service solution targeted at businesses, that reduces the environmental impact and image of the business, handles the business’ recyclable waste and empowers its employees to better manage their waste at work and at home.


    As the winner of SIA 2018, I was invited to join the SIA Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia. I came a few days early to get a chance to visit before the Summit started. I visited the breath-taking old town of Tbilisi, experienced the sulfur baths, went into the impressive Holy Trinity Cathedral, got mistaken for a local and got lost in the Botanical Gardens. I also went to the former capital of Georgia, Mtskheta and visited its surrounding monasteries: a sight worth seeing. Naturally, coming early meant that I got time to meet the SIA global team and helped with the final preparations. I met some of the amazing volunteers that made sure the event ran smoothly on top of the impeccable preparation by the organizers.

    SIA Summit was held at Fabrika, a former sewing factory now converted into a youth hub: a youth hostel, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, start-up stores, and Impact Hub Tbilisi. It was the perfect spot for SIA Summit: we were hosted in the youth hostel where we ate amazing breakfasts and only had to cross the courtyard to get to the event.

    SIA Summit was broken down into three parts. On day 1, we learned about the main four impact maker skillsleadership, innovation, connection and strategy. I chose to participate in the strategy workshop with Barbara Inmann and the connection workshop with Dusan Jankovic. Although I learned many things, the main takeaway for me came from the connection workshop: never go to a meeting or start a conversation with a person of interest without having defined ahead of time what you want to ask. Your “ask” should always be proportionate to the time you have to increase the chances of that person acceding your request. This is a skill I am applying to my daily meetings and encounters.

    On day 2, we were invited to participate in the summit challenge which made us live the whole entrepreneurship experience with paper, Lego and a roll of tape. The concept was for us to build the tallest paper tower in 2 hours, but we could not use our own paper to make the tower, we had to buy paper or building blocks, from the other teams. We, therefore, experienced designing a solution, leading a team, distributing roles, strategizing, negotiating and executing – a brilliant exercise and some major learnings! On the last day, we met with representatives of the Social Impact Award partners for consultation sessions, which I found truly enriching and the contact opportunities priceless.


    I left SIA Summit nourished and energized by all the connections, exchanges and exposure to different cultures. SIA Summit was the climax point of SIA program and the perfect way of closing my SIA 2018 experience. The ideal springboard to continue working on my venture with fresh ideas in my head and new perspectives.



    Julia is an environmental engineer and change maker, founder of the project Let’s Talk Waste. After her studies at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland she worked in various contexts: environmental investment for a private bank, research on microplastics for a biochemistry lab, innovation for a non-profit organization and now, social entrepreneurship with her own project. She is also a photographer, a biker, a diver and is driven by her passion for oceans. She is convinced that oceans are a key element of human’s survival on this earth and to our planet’s wellbeing.

  • SIA SUMMIT 2017: Volunteering can keep the fire alive

    The SIA SUMMIT 2017, Social Impact Awards flagship event of the year, took place from 31st October to 4th November in Belgrade, Serbia. This is the result of the work done during the last nine months by groups of young changemakers from 18 different countries from Europe and beyond. You can imagine everything that can arise from this gathering of enthusiasm, freshness and passion. Although it is hard to put all the experiences, learnings, and emotions into words, Katarina Stevanovic, who served as a volunteer before and during the Summit at least tried it. Enjoy this great piece of enthusiasm and passion that perfectly reflects the spirit of the event.

    “As a student of social work and social policy, I was always interested in topics such as integration of marginalized and vulnerable people, community change, and social policy by the youth, law, human resources as well as topics that are connected to earning by doing humanitarian work.

    During my senior year I was introduced to a field that combines all these topics – social entrepreneurship. In June this year, I applied for volunteering at the Social Impact Award Summit that was being held in Belgrade for the first time since it was founded. During gatherings like this one people get to realize that learning, listening, sharing and experiencing are the greatest treasures one can get.

    Three qualities I take with myself into the further development of my career: organizational skills, knowledge, and personally, the most important one – teamwork.

    Learning and improving is the formal side of volunteer work, but it also has its own purpose and sort of magic to it. However, what always leaves the greatest impression on us is the emotion we all share during these events, all the energy you get from others. SIA gathers so many different, and yet so similar people. It sounds confusing, but it is the reality. By similar I mean the shared energy for action towards a better world for everyone. A world where everyone’s voice is heard, a world which moves the boundaries of creativity that allows anyone to break out of uniformity. By similar I mean individuality and one of a kind growth of their creations and development.

    SIA awakens and refreshes perspectives, shows and opens new roads, connects and brings people closer together.

    How does SIA do that?

    If I had to answer this question by using words and language, I’d say it gathers people with vision, discipline and will, people whose break really is ten minutes, who know how to make great party when the time is right, those who have their goals clearly marked, who are empathic and creative at the same time, and with sharing these qualities they are even economical. Trust me, they do exist. You have them inside of yourself. It’s just that some want to break out sooner, some later, some never.

    For five days I was surrounded with people who could teach me so much and whose commitment was captivating. That is why I think we all need a Jakob, Bistra, Toni, Ana, Milos and Dusan in our lives. But not just those – the #SIAwinners2017 are even more amazing! The mix of their skills and knowledge made me set up some new challenges for myself, and motivated me to remain active in the field of social work and social innovation. I cannot but add that SIA is what it is because of its volunteers, who will not just work hard and with commitment for it, but will truly believe and understand the goals SIA sets. Working side by side with these people really made me realize what team work is and what it means.

    What is the most beautiful thing about it?

    The prettiest thing is that there are no louder and quieter people, those in charge and those who are just listening to them, older and younger among them, there is only true respect and leadership among team members. This is one of the most important things that make SIA so great.

    Anyways, you end up where you are meant to. That is your path. You meet the people you are meant to and you feel it. Just like it is supposed to be, not more or less. And it should be remembered like that.

    And I, I have decided to save it in my heart, and in these lines, so that it will never be forgotten.”

    SIA soon!  



    When we think of volunteering, we think of giving, and that is true on the outside, but that doesn’t mean that we get nothing in return. What we gain from volunteering is not always visible, and sometimes we’re not even aware of it, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t made an impact on us. It’s the feelings and emotions we thought were nonexistent in us, it’s the skills we unconsciously employ in every area of our life, it’s the number of friends and people we know growing every day, and the list goes on.

    Volunteering for Social Impact Award enables you to observe directly what it takes to found your own social business.  You will get inspired by other people’s ideas and you will get involved in their development. You will be part of these people’s journey.

    Volunteers make a difference in the society, but volunteering is not the only way to make a difference and is not feasible for everybody. Some people choose to give their contribution differently, like social entrepreneurs, who similarly to volunteers, are the change agents of the society with visionary personalities, and besides profit, their objectives include also addressing social problems.

    So how do social entrepreneurs come into being? Most of them have something in common: they have been volunteers at some point in their life, and that helped them see the world through different lenses. And, how does volunteering do the trick? There are 5 WAYS VOLUNTEERING PAVES THE WAY TOWARDS SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, which are elaborated below:

    1.Volunteering helps you cultivate empathy for others

    Volunteering in essence is a way to connect with others on a deeper level, and relate to their feelings and circumstances. This sense of compassion and unity can hardly be achieved from a distance, you need to walk in their shoes to truly experience the struggle certain categories in the society have to go through and the challenges they face. Volunteering makes you appreciate the little things that you take for granted, and helps you develop feelings of empathy for those who don’t have equal opportunities in the society.

    2.Volunteering helps make you aware of social issues in your community

    Sometimes we’re so preoccupied with our challenges and issues, that we forget that we can still be responsible citizens, and be part of the solution to bigger issues than ours. They say “Ignorance is bliss” and this is relatively true in other areas of life, but when it comes to social issues it’s dangerous. This can be fixed once you tread that path of volunteering, because afterwards you will no longer be able to ignore the social issues in your society that you’ve perhaps unconsciously ignored before. Exploring different areas in volunteering, will give you the idea of what concerns you most, and potentially inspire you in the future to establish a social business that would focus on that field.

    3.Volunteering helps you grow your network

    Let’s get this out of the way: Volunteering makes you more sociable and communicative. This is due to the fact that volunteering provides plenty of opportunities to network, by allowing you to meet individuals from organizations for which you volunteer and people who share your interest in volunteering or otherwise. If you communicate well, contacts you make along the way can all have different impact in how you’re going to approach social entrepreneurship, and whether you’ll be successful in your endeavors. If it doesn’t make sense, think of people as a source of information, skills, and experience. Everyone you meet knows something you don’t, and can do something you are not able to, or thought possible. By associating with these people you learn something that they know, something that they can do, and something they have already done. In terms of social entrepreneurship, being well-informed and being surrounded by competent associates is the main step towards succeeding.

    4.Volunteering provides you with ideas for social entrepreneurship

    As I mentioned in the previous point, people are a source of information, therefore they can also be an excellent source of ideas. However, networking is not the only way to get inspired. Volunteering on its own makes you more creative, and by witnessing social issues hand-to-hand you will get equipped with ideas on how to make an impact, if you’re committed to the cause.

    Consider your decision to volunteer as coming out of the shell. You’d been living protected from all the drama in the society, and now you’ve opened yourself to a world completely new and unknown for you. You’ve stretched your previous limits, and you’ve introduced an innovation in your life. From there on you can only go up. Make sure to not take advantage of your newly developed creativity without giving something back to the society! Social entrepreneurship allows you to do just that.

    5.Volunteering provides you with the essential skills for social entrepreneurship

    What I like about volunteering is that you’re getting the sense of accomplishment that you would get from the job you love, but you’re not really working. Volunteers don’t get judged or fired for not knowing how to do their job, actually nobody expects anything from you, because you’re doing everything for free. This gives you the chance to learn and do that without pressure. Volunteering is a hands-on teacher, it gives you emotional and social intelligence, it teaches you creativity and innovation, empathy, and most importantly leadership. If you think you have these skills, then you’re prepared for social entrepreneurship.

    BONUS:  Although volunteering in any area is very important in building the skills and the contacts for starting up your social enterprise, the best guarantee to achieving your goals in the social business field is to actually volunteer in that field. Volunteering for Social Impact Award enables you to observe directly what it takes to found your own social business.  You will get inspired by other people’s ideas and you will get involved in their development. You will be part of these people’s journey. Therefore, the volunteering experience for Social Impact Award will prepare you for the challenges that you will encounter along the way, and as a matter of course, you will be able to give your contribution to help Social Impact Award grow and advance, and inspire other people in the future. Social Impact is all about reciprocity, after all.


    JOIN US! 🙂 



  • 5 Reasons for Millennials to Choose Social Entrepreneurship

    Millennials or Generation Z is the common name given to people who were born between 1991 and 2001. We are the people who check Facebook first thing in the morning, do not invest much in real estate or automobiles, and choose sharing economy platforms every time to plan traveling.

    For millennials traditional working places don´t make any sense. Neither do traditional business models. We love flexible hours, spaces for motivation and jobs which inspire us. And that´s why here I have 5 reasons for every millennial to go for social entrepreneurship.

    1. Because we are these terrific, ambitious people who are going to change the world!

    Now, slow down a little… “Change the world” is the cliché phrase for your college essays. Social entrepreneurs must be much more realistic. Combating global warming, stopping the wars and defeating world hunger can be quite tricky tasks to accomplish, but you can always start small to make an impact. Look around your community, the place where you live or the place where you study, see the problem that scratches your heart and try to find a solution. You`ll fail a few times or maybe even more, but in the process you`ll learn a lot and change not only your life, but others´as well.

    2. Because money is not enough to feel fully satisfied with your job

    First things first, as any kind of business, social entrepreneurship is about making money. It´s not enough to be only Mother Teresa, you should be Steve Jobs as well. But just having a lot of money is not enough to live fully. We need our life to have a purpose, to use our skills to benefit a cause, to make this planet even a slightly better place to live (here I use one more “college essay phrase”, but this one is TRUE).

    3. Because social entrepreneurship is not just about business but also a lifestyle

    Choosing to be a social entrepreneur is also about choosing the person you want to be. You will need to work hard, worry a lot not only about your own problems, but about the problems of others. You´ll need to find a right business model, to make sure your enterprise is self-efficient; you´ll face many challenges and tons of obstacles. But you will also be the one who inspire others, a role-model, a leader, a game-changer. Going to bed you won´t have to worry that you have not made an effort or that you have not tried enough.

    4. Because social entrepreneurs are not querulous

     There are tons of people in this world who are constantly complaining about the things they don´t like but do nothing to change them. They expect the government to solve all their problems or whine about the taxes they pay which are never spent efficiently. Do you want to be this kind of person? Of course, not. Social entrepreneurs are strong enough to face the reality and start changing their communities´fate by their own hands and brains. ´Cause as Shakespeare would say, the fault is not in our stars, dear Brutus…

    5. Because you can do it part-time

    If you feel intimidated about being a role-model or think that you are not competent enough to be a social entrepreneur, don´t feel bad about it. You can start by volunteering in one of the social Enterprises or by entering various competitions. You can find numerous free online courses or maybe learn the experiences of successful entrepreneurs firstly. You can do all these things and study at university as well or have another job. Main point is very simple: you just have to start somewhere.

    Reading this blog, you must have had this kind of question in your head all the time: Okay, I´m a millennial, I have lots of ideas and I want to change the world, where should I start? Well, one of the ways is to participate in competitions, like Social Impact Award. Social Impact Award will help you to acquire necessary skills and find the people to work with. Honestly, it has never been as easy to do good things as it is now in the 21st century – you have no excuses left for procrastination.

    Go for social entrepreneurship, make an impact!


  • Eliminating barriers for to the development of social entrepreneurship – IZBOR Macedonia

    During its twenty years of operation, the Association IZBOR through the development strategy of the organization, managed to implement a large number of projects through its programs aimed at target groups:

    • Program to maintain low prevalence of HIV / AIDS, through:
      • Programmes of harm reduction among injecting drug users,
      • Programmes to promote health and social rights of sex workers.
    • Program for free legal aid – Improving and facilitating the exercise of the rights and needs in front of the state institutions, and equality in the exercise of the rights and needs of target groups, as well as efficiency and accessibility of protection and respect of fundamental human rights.
    • Program for rehabilitation, re-socialization and reintegration of persons who have problems with drug addiction, alcohol, hazard and members of their families – This program works by pattern and method of therapeutic community with more integrated psychotherapeutic routes (systemic family psychotherapy, CBT, REBT, group psychotherapy), it is the only long-term psychosocial treatment program in the country and in the wider region.

    From the very beginning, when Izbor created a concept model for the treatment and rehabilitation of persons who have problems with addiction, they intensively developed the reintegration of clients back to their social inclusion.

    For many of their clients they are the last stop and only chance for a re-socialization.

    The need for successful reintegration is the result of stigmata and marginalization of these vulnerable groups in society and the many barriers that these persons have, once they are rehabilitated. At the same time, the current social and economic situation in the country makes it even harder to employ these people. Very often, because of such problems these people are prone to relapse and reinstate because of addictive behavior.

    Very quickly the organization realized that for many of their clients they are the last stop and only chance for a re-socialization. Аs an organization, through the development of the model of social entrepreneurship they offer an opportunity for rehabilitated persons to be employed in the therapeutic community POKROV. The association IZBOR is developing social entrepreneurship within the therapeutic community POKROV, through the development of production facilities for the production of organic vegetables crops, thus the organization tends to become self-sufficient.







    With this innovation – working occupational therapy which is implemented in our program, the organization gained a new dimension, so that it will help Izbor´s clients to gain working habits and new skills, responsibility, diligence and will also allow them to get employment.


    Support for the development of innovative services for social inclusion, and equal access to quality jobs


    Motivated by this state of affairs, Izbor draws their great energy and motivation and we are confident that through the development of social entrepreneurship in the therapeutic community POKROV, we may become a driving force, trend and response to negative impacts of repeated crisis because of large social differences, and to offer human and broader vision of pluralistic inclusive strategy for sustainable development of drug addicts and alcohol, as well as other socially excluded and stigmatized groups.



    Eliminating barriers for to the development of social entrepreneurship in Macedonia through the support for the development of innovative services for social inclusion, and equal access to quality jobs to representatives of marginalized groups that are located in unfavorable socio-economic conditions.

    www.izborstrumica.com                    izborsr@gmail.com                           +389 75 495 470

  • “Eventually in life you will end up regreting more the things you didn’t do than the things you did”

    Today Blagoja Grozadnow shares her experience  as an entrepreneur on our blog. Very inspiring and helpful words!!!

    Dear Blagoja, what exactly is Konto Profit and how did it all start?

    Konto Profit is a family owned business. It was started by my father some 20 years ago. At the beginning it was heavily focused on offering classic bookkeeping services and only my mother helped out. Meanwhile our human capital has grown to 7 employees, out of which 2 have a Master’s degree in Accounting and Audit, 1 has an MBA, 4 are certified accountants and 1 has a degree in law.

    In short we became a company focused on business, tax, and legal counseling, accounting, budgeting, official financial reporting, payroll calculations, registering new legal entities, business planning as well as organizing trainings and seminars on finance, accounting and tax related issues. Normally, people think of these activities as being administrative, unproductive, process and paperwork oriented tasks.

    But in essence we would like to run as far away from these perceptions as we can. The core of the business must be the people surrounding it – the employees and the clients. Every client has a specific need and every employee must possess the necessary skills, formal knowledge and problem solving approach to listen to the client, find and communicate a solution to them. The bottom line must be finding solutions that result in the satisfaction of the client, while upholding the relevant legal framework.

    As for me personally I manage the company for 6 years now. I hold a Master’s in Accounting and Audit and I am the chief lecturer and consultant.

    If you could go back in time, is there anything you would change? 

    I would definitely start working and get involved in the business from an earlier age. Originally I planned on finishing with my Master’s before running the business. Meanwhile  I’ve seen just how valuable practical and applied knowledge is. I also find it very complimentary to the academic knowledge, just like 2 pieces to a puzzle and I feel that I should’ve complemented my academic with practical knowledge sooner.

    What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

    Can I go with two? First: Don’t make any decisions or make any promises when feeling  angry, sad or happy.

    And second: Eventually in life you will end up regreting more the things you didn’t do than the things you did.

    How do you keep yourself motivated? 

    I function by setting long-term objectives for myself and then move towards achieving them by hitting one milestone after the other. The milestones are basically shorter-term goals that lead to the achievement of the main objective. That way I never have problems with motivation, I have the long term achievement in the back of my head and I never lose it ouf of sight and on a daily basis I focus on the short-term objectives.

    The key is set up meaningful objectives that actually move you forward, and this applies to both your professional and private life. It’s important to stay hungry for knowledge and to always try to better and improve yourself in everything that you do. Anything can be done in a better way – you just need to discover it. Personally, I find that meeting new people with whom you communicate different experiences is always beneficial to your own development.

    Eventually in life you will end up regreting more the things you didn’t d than the things you did.

    What’s the most necessary thing when starting a business? 

    Willpower. If at first you don’t succeed – keep on working and never quit at the first obstacle. But to counterbalance willpower you also need to be flexible and always have a back up plan.

    The balance between these two is tricky, because the most difficult decision in life is when you have to decide whether to try harder and keep on investing in something in which you have already invested so much, or count your losses, quit and start over again.

    Tell us something more about your experience with Social Impact Award? 

    The whole process was a truly wonderful experience. First, because the wealth of good ideas that I got to hear and judge from some remarkably talented young people. Second, because the “social” component in all of them was very well outlined. To hear from these young people about how they plan on solving the issues they find most important was incredibly sobering. And third, because communication with the SIA organization team and the other jury members was great.

    I look forward to working with the girls that were awarded the community award and helping them out establish their own idea in a sustainable manner and I would love toagain be part of SIA next year.

    What advice will you give to the future SIA applicants and finalists? 

    Having big ideas that impact a large part of society is excellent, but always keep the feesibility in check. Keep the business model as clean and simple as possible, have a clear idea on how you plan on making money and point out the social problem you are solving and the targeted vulnerable group that you are trying to help.

    Clarity is the main thing for me. If the idea is understandable, the business model sound and the social problem it addresses relevant then you have a good chance.

    Thank you so much Blagoja for your time! 🙂