IBESI Project: Eight Months of Impact and Upcoming Opportunities

The Integrated Baltic Ecosystem for Social Innovation (IBESI) project is officially 8 months old! As we reflect on this journey, we are thrilled to share the accomplishments and milestones reached by our project consortium thus far! Let us quickly remind you what the project is all about before we dive into the progress overview and upcoming opportunities you can take part in and benefit from.

Short Overview of the IBESI project

In a nutshell, the IBESI project, spanning from 2023 to 2025, aims to strengthen the social economy of the Baltic States by integrating social innovation actors with existing entrepreneurship ecosystems and providing social entrepreneurs in the Baltic States the skills needed for integrating successful, socially accountable business practices. The project is funded by the European Union and is coordinated by the consortium consisting of the Baltic Innovation Agency, Reach for Change, Katalista Ventures, and Social Enterprise Estonia. Find out more about the IBESI project’s expected outcomes here.

Impact Valley Accelerator Launch & IBESI Consortium Meeting

Most recently, we gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 6-7 September 2023 to participate in the launch of the Impact Valley accelerator and hold the second physical consortium meeting.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the Impact Valley is an equity-free 5-month-long accelerator programme by Katalista Ventures empowering changemaker entrepreneurs from Baltic states to scale their social impact. The programme focuses on helping early-stage social-oriented companies embed impact into their business models, achieve scalability, expand internationally, and gain broader access to impact investors and alternative financing.

The first batch of the accelerator programme features 15 startups (9 from Lithuania, 2 from Latvia, and 4 from Estonia) spread across three verticals:
1)  The GreenTech track: Textale, Better Market, Surink Lietuvą, FitSphere, BrandImpact
2)  The EdTech track: ALPA Kids, BBright, Clanbeat, KANOeditions, Mokosi, Senjorų pasaulis
3)   The HealthTech track: DiaWiser, Mokytojų Palaikymo Ratai, SenjoroGO, Mamma Mammai

These Impact Valley resident startups met in person for the first time at the accelerator kick-off on 6 September. The teams will be following a customized growth plan until Demo Day in December 2023 , guided by biweekly chief mentoring, peer-to-peer, and 1-1 on-demand mentoring sessions with topical experts.

If you are eager to take your startup to the next level, keep an eye out for the second cohort of the Impact Valley accelerator in 2024. If you are interested in it, then contact Ieva from the Katalista Ventures team at ieva@katalistaventures.com.

Ibesi consortium meeting 09.09.2023
A little sneak peek into the second IBESI consortium meeting. Vilnius, Lithuania. 7 September 2023.

Impact Crash Course & Baltic Social Entrepreneurship Community

Alternatively, you can get fast-tracked into the 2024 Impact Valley 5-month accelerator program through the Impact Crash Course organised by Social Enterprise Estonia. Impact Crash Course is a 2-week virtual crash course for NGOs and early-stage social enterprises of Baltic entrepreneurs, running from 10 November to 24 November 2023 . Participants will be paired with experienced mentors for regular check-ins and learn from a series of workshops covering crucial aspects of social entrepreneurship, from crafting a robust business plan and conducting market research to mastering marketing, sales, and pitching. This marks the second edition of the Impact Crash Course, previously known as the “ Impact Hackathon“. Discover more about the winners of the first hackathon here.

Applications for the second cohort are open here until 29 October 2023. Find the programme schedule and further details of the Impact Crash Course here

On top of that, the Impact Crash Course offers a unique opportunity to build meaningful connections in the Baltic social entrepreneurship community, thanks in part to the Impact Community managed by Social Enterprise Estonia in Slack. Impact Community is an open space for social innovators, social entrepreneurs, non-profit organisations, accelerators and business incubators, investors, and policymakers within the social innovation ecosystem across the Baltic region. You are welcome to tune into the conversations in the Impact Community through the link here. It’s a perfect gateway to accessing best practices, funding opportunities, investable SEs in the region, and sharing your achievements.

Crowdfunding Pilot

Social enterprises from the Baltics are also warmly invited to partake in a ‘Crowdfunding Pilot’ initiative by Katalista Ventures. This initiative is tailored to support social business organisations keen on launching crowdfunding campaigns this year. Express your interest in the brief form here until 23 September! Up to 12 organisations will be selected and provided comprehensive guidance for kickstarting a crowdfunding campaign.

Nordic-Baltic skills-sharing workshops for investors

Lastly, the consortium is running Nordic-Baltic skills-sharing workshops for investors. Through a series of three interactive online workshops curated by Reach for Change, investors from the Nordic-Baltic region have the opportunity to exchange knowledge, foster new connections, and collectively strengthen their impact investing efforts.

The second workshop, on 20 September 2023 , will delve deeper into the realm of inclusive microfinance. In this workshop, Helen Curry, Credit Officer at Mikrofonden Sweden, will share practical insights on micro-loans and why they serve as a vital instrument for small social businesses that might otherwise be excluded from the financial market. The workshop will be followed up by a Q&A with Helen and a time for impact investors to exchange experiences. Explore key takeaways from the first workshop and register for the second workshop here.

We invite you to be part of the social entrepreneurship community in the Baltics and join our future project endeavours. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, an impact investor, or simply someone passionate about creating positive change, there’s a place for you in our vibrant community. Stay tuned and inspired!

Follow our project consortium members on social media for the latest updates: Baltic Innovation Agency, Reach for Change, Katalista Ventures, and Social Enterprise Estonia.

The IBESI project is 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.

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