United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENT ACTION

    Description
    Intro

    AULEDA is a non-profit and non-governmental organization established in August 2003 in Vlora. It is an independent body, with its own legal structure and functional autonomy, based on a public-private partnership. The AULEDA membership involves the public sector (Regional Council, Prefecture, Municipality of Vlora, local administrations, research centers, and universities), the private sector (associations of enterprises, farmers, Chamber of commerce, universities, cultural foundations), and the social sector (associations, NGOs, micro-finance foundations, women federations, young people movements). AULEDA’s services include: mapping local resources, sustaining the enterprises in business planning, management and networking, supporting the social economy and the priority economic sectors for regional development as sustainable tourism, agro-food production, fishing, and craft, AULEDA serves about 300,000 residents in the seven municipalities of Vlora. The IDEA Project brings a best practice and a sustainable contribution for the community of Vlora and Ioannina to the social and circular economy and for consequence to the economic empowerment of dis-advanced groups. Social economy and social entrepreneurship are identified as factors of social and economic cohesion across Europe. It is a common belief that the development of the sector of the social and solidary economy in Greece and Albania inherently has the potential to form simultaneously an important factor of the crisis exit strategy and the local /regional development, a significant source for job maintenance and creation and finally an effective catalyst in reshaping the economic and social fabric of each country.

    Description

    The overall objective of the project is the development of hybrid social finance instruments & models and the Coaching, mentoring, and capacity building improves capacities of social enterprises and social operators whereas regional actors/facilities to support the growth of social businesses. Objective 1: Obtain the perspectives of entrepreneurs with respect to opportunities, the challenges they face, and their approach to overcoming these challenges. Objective 2: Development of 4 ROI Models – (Return to Investment models) and actions to attract investors to increase the access to finance of SE-s and Social Businesses in Albania and Greece. Objective 3- Increase professional and entrepreneurial capabilities of SE-s and Social Businesses representatives through a very structured coaching, mentoring and advising process.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    The project directly affects the fulfillment of objectives 5 and 8 as it brings a direct contribution to the economic empowerment and employment of the most disadvantaged groups: women, young people of ethnic and Egyptian minorities, people with different physical and mental abilities, young people from rural areas, environmentalists, organizations that provide social services to the community, etc. Social financial instruments and investments, are based on synergism and mutual assistance. In the same way, the design of structures and tools for the support and promotion of such initiatives, cannot be a matter of local nature or of a single body. Cross border cooperation address with the same methodology and indicators severe unemployment problems, which tends to become structural and permanent, use of important social capital which remains inactive without finding creative outlets, use of new hybrid financial instruments to economic empowerment of dis-advanced groups create more opportunities for employment and self-employment.

    Implementation methodologies

    This project develops studies for social economy initiatives and creates hybrid financial instruments that are transparent, reliable, and can be applied locally. The project also brings together potential social entrepreneurs with potential sponsors/supporters/investors and acts as a facilitator. 1.First Stage – Supply and Demand Study.To significantly impact an entrepreneurial ecosystem, it is essential to first understand how it is currently interconnected. We examined existing entities in the ecosystem of Vlore- Albania and Ioannina – Greece Regions. Entrepreneurs – Focused on Social Businesses: investigated topics such as: common challenges entrepreneurs face, the common pitfalls, types of resources (financial and others) that were available at different stages, their interaction with different entities of the ecosystem, the effectiveness of government initiatives/and policies. Organizations (NGO-s, Foundations, Centers): We obtained their approaches to improving the ecosystem and their suggestions of what resources can be made available to startups. Their responses about activities and programs enabled us to categorize the organizations according to their role in the ecosystem for our model. 2. Second Stage – Capacity Building / Coaching, mentoring and advising process, Understanding basic concepts of social entrepreneurship and enterprise, Business idea evaluation, Business planning, Financing strategies, Founding the start-up, Soft skills useful for social entrepreneurs: leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, time management.3.Third Stage. Creation of 4 ROI Models and actions to attract investors. Four ROI models with public and private investors has been prepared and presented to the potential investors to be implemented (banks, financial institutions, public institutions, universities, businesses and business representatives). One ROI model already efficient for SE-s to have access and apply for a financial contribution. 4. Forth stage. Start-Up Financial support. 8 SE-s supported financially in Greece and Albania through national ROI Models schemes.

    Results

    The sustainability of the mechanism will be ensured through a financing tool that will be developed in the last stages of the project and will be relying on small commissions on the investors’ donations. The content of the project ensures durability through time and any other changes in the external environment as all deliverables are dynamic and easily adaptable and configurable. Transferability is both horizontal and vertical. Horizontal because the organization and operation mode can be easily copied and transferred to another geographic region and vertical because it can be transferred to another sector or economic activity. Complete database of 120 SE-s and SB-s in Vlora and Ioannina Region, 4 Return to Investment Models (ROI Models) created and presented to potential investors. One of them already implemented, 60 coaches, mentors and advisers formed as professional figures to support SE-s and SB-s, 80 Social enterprises, social business and NGO-s trained about entrepreneur, digital and soft skills necessary to run a social business, 8 Social Enterprises business plans prepared through an incubation process. 4 of them financed already a community of more than 467000 inhabitants are indirect beneficiaries.

    Factors and Constraints

    Uncertainties arising from Law no. 65/2016, dated 9.6.2016 regarding the status and manner of operation of social enterprises in Albania. The bylaws that make the applicable law still unapproved, the fiscal system for SE and SB in Albania still unclear. This situation steps the initiatives of individuals, NGOs, Social Businesses to apply to national financial support schemes, which was reflected in the number of applications for social entrepreneurship within their acceleration program in the context of the IDEA project.

    Sustainability and replicability

    The project implementation takes into consideration the three dimensions of transferability and sustainability of the project’s results that are an essential element of the Programme: Financial sustainability: securing one’s own resources or other sources of revenue for covering future operating and maintenance costs after the completion of the project Institutional sustainability: identification of the structures that will take over after the end of the project. Political sustainability: the impact of the project on the political choices, leading to improved legislation, codes of conduct, methods, etc. The Hybrid Financial Mechanisms (4 ROI models) presented to potential investors have been evaluated as interesting mechanisms by them and are being reviewed for ongoing implementation. The implementation of these mechanisms and the legal improvements that come due to the recommendations that this project gives to public institutions, create a sustainable environment for the development of social enterprise activities, economic empowerment of disadvantaged groups through their employment and self-employment.

    COVID-19 Impact

    The situation caused by the Covid Pandemic 19 had a positive and negative impact on the implementation of this project. On the one hand, it created the possibility of digital training of NGOs and SEs due to the online development of coaching, advising, and mentoring sessions, but on the other hand hindered in time the implementation of 3 hybrid financing mechanisms by potential investors to turn them into effective financing mechanisms for SEs.

    Contact Name
    MIRELA
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    Organization/entity
    AULEDA – LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY, VLORE
    SDGs
    Geographical coverage

    Cross Border Area Greece – Albania, Region of Vlore – Albania. Region of Ioanina, Greece

    Timeline
    01 March 2018 (start date)
    31 December 2020 (date of completion)
    More information
    Countries
    Albania
    Albania
    Partnership
    N/A
    Contact Information

    MIRELA , INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT AND EMPOWERMENT ACTION