Alternative Finance Roadmap: Guide to Navigating Funding Opportunities for Baltic Social Enterprises
Social enterprises, along with “traditional” SMEs, startups, and Non-Profit Associations (NPAs), often struggle to figure out which funding and financing opportunities are available to them. The absence of a comprehensive, up-to-date database for all opportunities in the Baltic region contributes to this challenge. Addressing this need, the IBESI project has created the “Alternative Finance Roadmap”, which consolidates the most relevant funding sources for Baltic social entrepreneurs.
The main goal of the roadmap is to provide a quick overview of key funding and financing instruments accessible to social enterprises in the Baltic countries. Encompassing public and private sources, it outlines various instrument types: grants (including venture philanthropy), debt and equity capital, crowdfunding and Social Impact Bonds. As of autumn 2023, this roadmap compiles currently available information on diverse opportunities. It is a practical list of available finance sources that brings together existing knowledge in the field.
“We want this report to reach Baltic social entrepreneurs looking for an overview of funding opportunities available to them. We hope this is an easy-to-read overview of the main instruments and financing bodies.” shares Mart Veliste from Baltic Innovation Agency.
“In all three Baltic states, where the social economy is still growing, there’s a lack of specific funding options for social enterprises. We aimed to gather various financial instruments suitable for social enterprises at different stages and legal structures. That’s the best part of the Roadmap – it gives us a clear picture of what’s available, something we didn’t have in Lithuania before” reflects Raimonda Mackevičiūtė, an independent researcher in cooperation with Katalista Ventures.
“What I like about the Roadmap is that it includes both public and private sources. The latter is especially important because we would like our social enterprises and NPAs to be more entrepreneurial and less dependent on grant funding. I would also encourage different stakeholders, intermediaries and accelerators to circulate this material among the social enterprises that they collaborate with.” adds Kristīne Vērpēja from Reach for Change.
What to expect from the roadmap
The roadmap is divided into three main parts:
1. Spotlighting available public and private instruments in each Baltic state with a brief paragraph and hyperlinks offering additional information regarding application dates, eligibility criteria, etc
- In each case, notable accelerator programmes and competitions offering financial support or rewards are also listed.
- Each country section additionally highlights “other potentially suitable sources” in a separate subsection, encompassing niche instruments and financing opportunities in a renewal or developmental phase.
2. Each country chapter concludes with a summary table listing the key instruments.
3. The fourth chapter lists some of the main opportunities available on the European level.
This article and the Alternative Finance Roadmap have been created within the project: “Integrated Baltic Ecosystem for Social Innovation” (IBESI). The project consortium includes Baltic Innovation Agency, Social Enterprise Estonia, Katalista Ventures and Reach for Change.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.