Bizkaia, a benchmark hub for social innovation
The Provincial Council of Bizkaia strives to be an interna- tional benchmark in the field of social innovation, and to tackle social challenges in its territory on the basis of collaboration between various actors. The aim is to build up an ecosystem for promoting social innovation in Bizkaia that enables:
- strategies to be adopted to tackle medium and long-term needs;
- a fair model of society to be preserved now and in the future; and
- the engagement of civil society and public responsibility to be strengthened and consolidated.
This determination is reflected in one of the actions undertaken as part of the Bizkaia Goazen 2030 strategy: “Making Bizkaia a benchmark for social innovation”.
Thus, through its Departments of Eco-nomic and Territorial Development and Social Action, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia undertakes to promote new busi- nesses, especially those of a social, inno-vative nature, as key instruments for en-suring the creation of wealth, jobs and social cohesion in Bizkaia. The idea is to foster opportunities provi- ded by innovative social organisations and businesses as a major part of the solu-tion to social and economic challenges, in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy. Seeking to promote the development of a highly competitive social market eco-nomy, the Provincial Council of Bizkaia factors social innovation into its initiatives to support the setting up of new businesses. Those initiatives are inten-ded to:
- respond innovatively to social needs that are currently not being met;
- seek social impacts to reinforce the cohesion of society; and
- propose efficient, competitive, sustai- nable long-term answers..
These actions in support of innovative social organisations and businesses are reinforced by the operations of the publicly-owned companies Beaz S.A.U, Seed Capital de Bizkaia, S.A and Seed Capital Bizkaia Mikro S.A., as set out in the chart below:
AWARENESS AND DISSEMINATION PHASE
Social innovation as an economic activity and an opportunity to generate jobs and wealth is still largely unknown in our society.
Awareness and dissemination activities seek to raise the profile of social innovation projects and their results. Awareness and dissemination actions include the following:
Annual international seminar to promote the position of social innovation in BizkaiaA seminar on an international scale is organised each year to promote social innovation in Bizkaia.
ON Bizkaia social awardAwards are given each year to the best projects and firms, based on the various programs run by the Department of Economic and Territorial Development. One of these awards is for the best innovative social business supported. The winner is selected based on both the economic impact and the social impact of the business in question.
General dissemination activities (businesses, projects, etc.)Over the course of the year information is published in various formats (newsletters, videos, etc.) via our own media with a view to raising the profile of socially innovative businesses and projects.
SUPPORT PHASE FOR THE GENERATION OF PROJECTS
Workshops for the generation and prototyping of ideas with a view to producing new, socially innovative ideasSeeking to produce ideas, creative workshops are arranged in which participants can think up and put forward ideas, establishing a process of collective, joint creation.
Workshops for comparing and maturing ideas with a view to generating socially innovative business projectsWorkshops to compare and accelerate the development of socially innovative ideas, seeking to provide support for entrepreneurs in the early stages of setting up projects.
Networking sessionsEncouragement for cooperation with other sectors so as to generate business projects with more impact.
SUPPORT STAGE FOR ENTREPENEURSHIP AND THE STARTING UP OF BUSINESSES
Financial and non-financial support is provided to encourage the starting up of new businesses and innovative social organisations:
Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Programme
2013 saw the opening up of a new field of action with the start-up of the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Programme with the following goals:
- facilitate the starting up of new business projects and innovative social organisations.
- To promote the setting up of new businesses and innovative social organisations in Bizkaia
The programme provides support for spending on:
- the development and definition of business plans;
- the incorporation, starting up and launching of new firms;
- viability and market studies, pilot projects, prototypes, reports and technical studies;
- travel and attendance at trade shows, customised advice and in-house personnel expenses for the development of new business projects.
Workshops for measuring social impactPractical workshops aimed at social organisations supported by the council to encourage them to measure their efficiency and social impact by analysing indicators relevant to their projects.
PrestaekinA number of sessions are intended to foster knowledge of business matters with a view to enhancing the capabilities of promoters.
Seed Capital Bizkaia Mikro
The Mikro fund participates in micro-financing projects, prioritising investment in micro-companies that are just commencing operations or have been incorporated for less than five years.
Funding is provided via loans, up to a maximum of 95% of the cost of each project.
SUPPORT STAGE FOR CONSOLIDATION AND SCALING
Actions are implemented to accompany and provide financial support for existing firms:
Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Fund
The FEIS seeks to support the promotion and consolidation of socially innovative business initiatives and to fund innovative, profitable initiatives which are valuable to people and the environment. Investment is made via stockholdings or the granting of participative loans.
The fund is aimed at new businesses or existing businesses that foster entrepreneurship and social innovation.
Social AngelsMen and women renowned for their specialist experience accompany entrepreneurs in starting up initiatives, providing expertise and experience to help increase the likelihood of success of socially innovative projects.
SOCIAL IMPACT PHASE
Actions are taken to accompany and provide financial support for existing firms:
Measuring social impactA number of easily measurable indicators are proposed to make social impact more tangible, in a way comparable to other innovative experiences, set out in nine major areas.
Cooperation agreements, connections with international benchmark hubs and networksTo generate a social innovation hub it is essential to establish connections and cooperation between different actors and institutions in the field of social innovation, promoting complementarity with a view to ensuring skilled, effective intervention, joint responsibility and participation in international hubs and networks.