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! 🙂


  • Volunteering is developing yourself without any cost – Meet Jovana!

    Jovana Cedomirovic was a part of SIA Serbia volunteers team. During the four-month period she has shown a tremendous passion and dedication and has certainly improved the project’s visibility in Serbia. She believes that volunteering is an opportunity to learn about yourself and your abilities, meet interesting people and learn something new each day.  

    How did you become a part of Social Impact Award? 

    Due to the fact that I had a some free time, I looked for new volunteering opportunities. One day, I found out about an opportunity to volunteer on a project that involves social entrepreneurship. I was very curious to know how the entrepreneurship world actually works and I decided to apply. After a few days I was invited for an interview. I honestly did not expect that my application will even be reviewed. A couple of days after the interviews, I received an email saying that they are happy to announce that I will be part of their team as volunteer.  I was so happy that I got the opportunity to learn and to get introduced to the world of social entrepreneurship. Soon we had a first work meeting and so it all began. 🙂

    What has been your role in the project?  

    13320514_1002289089890671I was part of the communication team. Therefor my assignment has been communication with media and via social media channels. I was in charge of getting important announcements shared via media, websites and on social media networks. This meant that I had to communicate and address on daily basis a large number of people. Also I was taking care of communication with external press partners, such as newspapers, TV and radios. Even though this was my primary task, I was participant on few different workshops in Belgrade and other cities because we were sharing our tasks as a team. Because of all of this, I had a chance to see what is happening behind the scene in a project as big as this one is. So, not only have I gained experience in the field of communications, but I have also learned a bit about event and project management.

    You also learned more about social entrepreneurship. How do you plan to use this knowledge? Are you thinking of becoming a social entrepreneur yourself one day? 

    I am planning to stay in Serbia and try to work on my skills and knowledge that will help me to better understand social entrepreneurship. At the beginning of the project, I had a chance to see people developing their ideas and building projects out of them. Seeing people who notice the issues in the society and work towards solving them was quite impressive for me. Things like that make you think about your steps, your ideas and how you can influence the world you live in. Those are the things that I had a chance to see during my volunteering experience, and I hope one day I will take steps that will impact our society in a better way too.

    Have you gained some skills that will be important for your future career? 1

    I had a chance to do the things I love and I am most interested in, which is in the field of communications. However, I gained more than that. The most important thing that you can have during your volunteering experience is to grow as an individual, while being a part of the team. I loved having the freedom to ask anything I was unsure about, which only enabled me to learn more and perform better. I was working with a great project team, a sort of workaholics, who were working day and night in order to create a better society for all of us. During the time I was working with those people, while I was looking how they work and how passionate they are, I got motivated to do the same. I had the chance to learn how to start challenging myself, especially in those areas I never had a chance to work before. When I take a look at the past few months, all of those moments, minutes, and hours I spent working on SIA – it was completely worth it.

    Volunteering is becoming increasingly popular among young people, but there are still those who see it as “free work labor”. What message would you send to them? 

    Volunteering is developing yourself without any cost. Long term looking, that is something that is for free but most expensive and valuable thing you can do for yourself. Everything that we go through, each experience we get, each person we had a chance to meet – influence who we are now. I think that everyone of who went through volunteering experience knows that decision made his or hers future better. I think that volunteering helps you develop your skills and knowledge in practice, which make us aware of who we are and what we can do. I trully believe that volunteering makes our society a better place to live. Besides, meeting new people and learning something new cannot be a bad thing.

    My messages for all young people would be that they should invest time in themselves and use all the opportunities in front of them, especially those free of charge but priceless for our lives. Volunteering brings you a different view on the world!

  • Empowering independence

    Stefanie Strubreiter is in her late twenties, and lives with a disability. Yet, that never stopped her from pursuing her dreams. We met with the inspiring young woman to talk about work, the arts – and powerchair football.

    When we meet in the heart of Vienna, Stefanie Strubreiter (29) smoothly drives towards our table. With only a tip of her fingers, she skillfully maneuvers her motorised wheelchair right next to me and greets me with a smile.

    The fact that Stefanie lives with a disability is no barrier for her and her vivid lifestyle, she says. She studies media informatics at the Technical University, is goalkeeper at a powerchair football team – aiming to establish an Austrian Championship soon – meets with friends, visits museums and exhibitions and tries to find her place in the professional world, just as any other young woman in her twenties.

    Art makes everyone equal

    Well, maybe not just as any because Stefanie is part of an outstanding arts project that deals with non-aligned bodies in society. “We discuss this topic in two parts with a performance and a scientific basis. So, next to the theoretical reflection our events always include a performance part where the topic becomes more tangible and visible for the audience,” Stefanie explains.

    While she maintains the web platform and helps organise events, the organisation Mixed-Abled Dance & Performance (MAD) is a way for Stefanie to combine her studies, work experience and love for the arts. “Art is a way to treat everyone equally. Society is often full of prejudices but art can link everything together.” Since 2008, Stefanie has been living with personal assistance which supports her in living an autonomous life at work and at home. “It’s funny, but sometimes I don’t even notice them being around. It has become perfectly natural for me.”

    The spirit of the team

    While her day is packed with studies, work and meeting friends, Stefanie still finds time for football practice. For her, a team sport too is a way of meeting people on eye level. “I have been playing for a year now and it’s a great way of winding down after the daily grind. Just like in art, in sports there is no difference. While everyone might have their own tasks, they also have to stick together in order to reach a common goal. I found out about powerchair football by coincidence and stayed due to the encouraging sports and community spirit.”

    At the moment Stefanie is already busy preparing the next edition of MAD’s “Swaying” event, which will take place in Linz, and visits her usual workspace only rarely due to many external appointments. “I am taking care of the organisation and many other things. It can be quite exhausting but I need that. I guess I am just an active person by nature.” Her ever-hungry attitude is also what brought her to places like Berlin or London and travelling has become her dearest hobby ever since.

    Supporting independence

    “I don’t feel different. In fact – I am not different. Maybe when it comes to going up and down the stairs but that’s what I have got support for. My personal assistance is just like an extension of my arms – they help me be independent and manage things on my own.”

    When asked about what she would change in today’s world, she thinks for while and assertively replies: “What I would wish for is peace and respect for everyone. There is a lot of injustice and power struggle in our society, so what we need is simply respect – not just for other people but also for the nature and the whole universe.”