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As a network organization, the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie aims to educate and support social entrepreneurs and innovators. Established in 2010, the institution is a joint initiative of four universities from Munich, Germany. By coaching startups and helping students and professionals to gain entrepreneurial skills to solve global challenges, the SE Akademie embeds the idea of social entrepreneurship in society. Horyou blog interviewed the team spokeswoman Kristina Notz about the network and the social innovation landscape.

SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between  four German universities
SE Akademie is a result of the cooperation between four German universities

As a social entrepreneurship supporter and accelerator, what would you say are the biggest challenges for a social entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur faces similar challenges and there are many. We observe that some social entrepreneurs have more difficulties to think and talk about profit, since they are impact-driven. At the same time they need more time to figure out their business model, to find funding, and to convince people and supporters. In the social sector, it is a challenge to find and retain talent, even though it seems to be an attractive working environment at first sight. The ability to stay motivated intrinsically is key.

Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals ? Do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Yes, we’re using the SDGs in most of our workshops as a starting point to raise people’s awareness and give impulses towards the field they could become active in as a social entrepreneur. Many of the social enterprises we support tackle one of the challenges addressed by the SDGs.

How do you see the future of social entrepreneurship?  

My vision is that all entrepreneurship is social and we can leave out the word “social” and herewith differentiate. The future is that every entrepreneurial activity respects the triple bottom line and bears in mind people, planet, and profit. And I strongly believe this is possible but requires a certain change in mind-set.

Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects
Many social entrepreneurs supported by the institution develop SDG-related projects

Horyou connects on its social platform thousands of social entrepreneurs, philanthropists and organizations around the world. In your opinion, what’s the importance of social networks for social entrepreneurship and, particularly, for your work?

Social networks offer powerful tools to raise awareness about social entrepreneurship and bring its idea and examples to a broader audience. Platforms like yours are very valuable to the sector since you showcase best practices and role models and inspire others, and ideally turn information into action.

In our work, Social media are our main tool to reach out to and stay in touch with our participants and alumni. We focus as well on offline networks, make people meet and experience the network face to face. They can learn from each other, be inspired by others and exchange ideas and best practices. The flux of ideas, learnings, dreams, and failures contributes a lot to the venture development and success.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The Swiss Pavillion Expo 2017 Astana is committed to the SDGs. From 13 to 27 July, it develops several activities in order to raise awareness about the challenges of building a better future for the next generations.

Horyou CEO and founder, Yonathan Parienti, with Swiss Pavilion visitors (Photo Swiss pavilion)
Horyou CEO and founder, Yonathan Parienti, with Swiss Pavilion visitors (Photo Swiss pavilion)

The Swiss pavilion, organized by Presence Switzerland, showcases the Confederation as an innovative country with an interactive and surprising exhibition on the issues of energy efficiency, renewable energies and global water management. As part of the Swiss Pavillion, the Swissnex Lab is dedicated to thematic immersion and networking, in order to facilitate bilateral cooperation and academic exchange between Switzerland and Kazakhstan.

One of the activities, Perception Change Project, includes a temporary installation with a wheel of fortune that introduces sustainable development, a Human Library involving innovators and presenting a talk on Education and Innovation with experts and changemakers.

Horyou Team attended an event on Education & Innovation on July 18, 2017, and had the opportunity to hear unique stories from speakers invited by the Perception Change Project in cooperation with partner organizations, notably the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Kazakhstan Institute of Standardization and Certification, the UNICEF Kazakhstan and its Liaison Office in Geneva, the University of Geneva, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). «Horyou Team was excited to see the commitment of the Swiss Pavilion to promoting the sustainable development goals in Astana. We share the same resolve to shape better times to come, and SIGEF 2017 in Kazakhstan will be our initiative during EXPO2017 to support that momentum of awareness and implementation», said Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou.

Horyou team visits the Swiss Pavillion at EXPO2017 in Kazakhstan
Horyou team visits the Swiss Pavillion at EXPO2017 in Kazakhstan

The event was followed by a project called “Human Books”, whereby people shared their stories with the public, creating empathy by touching on topics such as climate change and education in emergency situations and refugee camps. One of the touching stories was Isaac Mustopulo’s, a 15-year old student from Kazakhstan who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and, despite all odds, has finished 8th grade at a local school in Taraz where he excels academically and is actively involved in extracurricular activities. He is an advocate for inclusion and is working on a project that would introduce tutors to public schools for students with disabilities.

“Sustainable Development Goals are not only the UN’s or governments’ business, we all have a role to play in achieving them. The topics related to the SDGs and the work of organisations in Geneva and elsewhere can be illustrated in a playful manner and through storytelling. We are delighted to be a part of Expo 2017 Astana”, said the Head of Project, Aziyadé Poltier-Mutal.

More than 700 people visited the Swiss Pavilion on its first day
More than 700 people visited the Swiss Pavilion on its first day

Finally, the Education & Innovation Talk session opened a dialogue between several thought leaders. Ms Tatiana Aderikhina from the Education and Child Protection at UNICEF shared how an equity–focused and inclusive approach starting from early childhood education can have positive impact toward social inclusion and reduce the numbers of unschooled children. Mr Zhasulan Kenzhegalyiev, a specialist from the International Cooperation Department of the Unified Government Fund of Normative outlined how Astana is leading the way in SmartCities and how this can benefit both the population and the overall sustainability efficiency. Prof Barbara Moser-Mercer, from the University of Geneva, a specialist in higher education in emergency and crises situations, expressed how connected learning builds the knowledge and skills needed to adapt, and how that could prove to be a key factor in the development of higher education for people victims of conflict situations within refugees camps. Ms Ekaterina Perfilyeva, editor in chief of the Open School of Sustainable Development, shared how through volunteering to support facilitation of translation and sharing of knowledge and meaningful information we could advocate a better understanding and implementation of sustainability principles with the Youth.

The overall discussion from the panelists with the audience, outlined the fact that there are numerous synergies and initiatives that could support the achievement of SDG 4, related to Education.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana

SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan
SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan

Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, announces the 4th edition of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The world-class event will take place on the 5th of September 2017, at Rixos President Astana Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan. It will be followed by an official delegation’s visit to EXPO 2017 on the 6th and 7th of September.

With a team of top-class international speakers, panellists and moderators, SIGEF will cover three of the most critical issues of our time – Smart Cities, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Future Energy. «With SIGEF, Horyou is committed to encourage multi-stakeholders to gather, interact, and establish partnerships to shape better times to come. SIGEF will bring together social entrepreneurs, impact investors, philanthropists, government officials and representatives from civil society, to spread the message that we can all be changemakers», says Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou.

Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.
Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.

Last year, SIGEF was the leading side event at the UN COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco. The 3-day conference was attended by a 2500-wide international audience, while offering a space for non-profit organizations from all around the world, staging artistic acts, organizing an Horyou Foundation dinner, and presenting an award for social impact projects. It was the first SIGEF to be held out of Europe and in Africa.

This year, reinforcing its global presence and impact, Horyou is organizing the first SIGEF in Central Asia, with an agenda of discussions deeply anchored in the future of our interconnected societies. At the opening and end of the one-day SIGEF conference, the participants will have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the most important players in social entrepreneurship, as well as business leaders, funders and government officials, during a special networking session.

On the 6th and 7th of September, Horyou and the SIGEF team will lead an official visit to the country pavilions of EXPO 2017 Astana, the biggest future energy gathering this year. «We are thrilled to bring our SIGEF international delegations to connect with participants from all continents who are attending EXPO 2017 Astana, to build bridges of collaboration and foster sustainable solutions that will benefit our societies», says Parienti.

More information on www.sigef2017.com The agenda can be consulted here. Click to apply for speaking and to buy your ticket for SIGEF 2017.

About Horyou

Horyou is the social network for social good. Through technology, innovation and social entrepreneurship advocacy, it promotes meaningful and global interactions amongst its adherent organizations, members and personalities. With its platform, App and Spotlight, the first Global Social Currency for Impact, Horyou helps transform positive ideas into concrete actions while building constructive relationships both online and offline.

The Horyou App is available for free download via iOS and Android.

For more information visit www.horyou.com

We never think about eating as a political act, even though our choices are directly linked to social and environmental issues. Fair production and trade, water consumption of each product we buy at the market and carbon footprint of food transportation are only a few of the concerns we should take into consideration before giving the first bite in an apparently innocent snack. The organization Slow Food International does a great work raising awareness into the civil society and promoting fair, healthy, harmonic initiatives that both respect the environment and communities. Here are highlights of their interview!

Wheat farmer in Australia
Wheat farmer in Australia

1. What is Slow Food International’s purpose?

Slow Food is committed to restoring the value of food and to grant the due respect to those who produce it in harmony with the environment and ecosystems, thanks to their traditional knowledge. Since 1996 Slow Food has started to work directly with small-scale producers in order to help them safeguard agro biodiversity and traditional knowledge through projects like the Ark of Taste, that collects small-scale quality productions that belong to the cultures, history and traditions of the entire planet and today have almost 4,500 products on board. Or Presidia, that sustain quality production at risk of extinction, protect unique regions and ecosystems, recover traditional processing methods, safeguard native breeds and local plant varieties. One of the projects Slow Food is most proud of is “10.000 Gardens in Africa”, launched in 2010. The Gardens are created by local communities who plant traditional vegetables, fruits, culinary and medicinal herbs using sustainable techniques, involving young people and drawing on the knowledge of the elderly. The aim is to promote biodiversity, value African gastronomic cultures and raise awareness about big issues like GMOs, land grabbing and sustainable fishing. Around a third of the gardens are in schools, serving as open-air classrooms with an important educational function and often supplying healthy, fresh vegetables for school meals. This, in turn, is training a network of leaders aware of the value of their land and their culture. The other gardens are run by communities, and the produce is used primarily to improve the nutritional value of the community members’ everyday diet, while any surplus is sold to generate supplementary income.

In 2004, Slow Food launched the Terra Madre network, which brings together food producers, fishers, breeders, chefs, academics, young people, NGOs and representatives of local communities from 160 countries. In a world dominated by industrial production, Terra Madre, which means Mother Earth, actively supports the small-scale farmers, breeders, fishers and food artisans around the world whose approach to food production protects the environment and communities.

2. What is your mission and vision of the world?

Slow Food was founded to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and to encourage people to be aware about the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Slow Food envisions a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good, clean and fair. Good, because it is healthy in addition to tasting good; clean because it is produced with low environmental impact and with animal welfare in mind; and fair because it respects the work of those who produce, process and distribute it. For this reason Slow Food works to defend biodiversity and to promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly food production and consumption system; to spread sensory education and responsible consumption; and to connect producers of quality foods with co-producers (conscious consumers) through events and initiatives.

Farmer's market
Farmer’s market

3. The Slow Food movement has gained more momentum in the last years. What would you consider as the main reasons behind the increased global awareness of the way we consume food?

We think that today, due to the increasing level of illnesses related to our daily food, people are starting to realize that their actions and daily choices have a repercussion on their health. People are starting to be more accurate in their food choices, on where they buy their food, on what’s inside what they eat. Also the concerns about the environmental challenges, like climate change, has increased the attention consumers are paying to how their choices can mitigate them. The industrial food system of production and consumption is in fact the first cause of pollution, CO2 production, loss of biodiversity. Today, Slow Food involves over a million activists, chefs, experts, youth, farmers, fishers and academics in over 160 countries. Among them, a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members are linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide.

4. Are you committed to the Sustainable Development Goals or do you address some of the SDGs with your projects?

Some of the Sustainable Development Goals share our philosophy and our aim. Our philology, good, clean and fair tackles several SDGs, naming good health and wellbeing, responsible production and consumption, decent work and economic growth. We are working to address the huge problem of food waste, by organizing events like Disco Soup through our Young network, where people cook only food that would have been thrown away. That means that we are trying to help reach the zero hunger goal and that we vision sustainable cities and communities that would weigh as less as possible on the environment. Industrial animal production (linked to high levels of meat consumption) is responsible for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions, if we take into account the whole chain from food production to final consumption. Similarly, aquaculture consumes immense quantities of fishmeal, pollutes the water and, in many parts of the world, is responsible for the destruction of wide swathes of mangrove forest. On 2015 Slow Food launched an appeal called “Let’s not eat up our planet! Fight Climate Change” which aimed to sensitize the public on how much the agriculture weights on the climate change issue. Also for the “life on land and below water”, we are really sensitive about animal wellbeing, and we organize every two year an event called Slow Fish completely dedicated to sustainable fisheries and marine ecosystems.

Slow Food International has built a network with chefs worldwide
Slow Food International has built a network with chefs worldwide

5. Do you think food industries are getting more committed to producing food with less environmental, health and social impact? What are your main challenges to get them on board?

We have recently seen an increase of attention regarding these aspects. If industries are interested in finding more sustainable solutions for the environment and the health (in a serious way and not for marketing reasons) we are ready to facilitate the process and give advice.

6. Horyou is the social network for social good. What’s the importance of internet and social media to spread the message of movements like Slow Food and other positive initiatives?

We think that internet is a fundamental tool that can be used to share ideas, visions and experiences all over the world. For example people, especially youngsters and producers, could share their experiences to see how a same problem is tackled in different areas of the globe. Conversely, we don’t think it’s a useful tool if it takes place of human interactions and communications.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

From June 30 to July 2, European Youth Awards invite creative minds to join a game marathon at the Technical University of Graz, in Austria.

EYA Game Jam
EYA Game Jam

Why not use technology to discuss social and environmental changes? That’s the challenge presented by the European Youth Awards to the young, creative minds that will be part of EYA Game Jam. The programming competition takes place at the Technical University of Graz, in Austria, and will use tools like virtual reality and 360° to discuss topics like water and family.

The goal is to create game prototypes to address both topics, that are intrinsically connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. Says Kathrin Quatember, EYA spokesperson: “Two of the UN SDGs focus on the topic of water; Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation and Goal 14 – Life below the sea. By establishing a special category, EYA wants to contribute to the international awareness of treating the “source of life“. Secondly, we try to motivate young innovators and entrepreneurs to develop smart solutions for water related problems and apply for European Youth Awards 2017”. Water should also be the topics of the EYA 2017, she added.

The idea of using virtual reality and tech gadgets in the event stems from the fact that EYA wanted to bring digital technologies to the center of social innovation discussions within the EYA community. “The combination of the Game Jam topics ‘water’ and ‘family’ with VR and 360° technology is thrilling. It enriches the possibilities for the Game Jammers to reach the peak of creativity and opens new possibilities to approach the topics”, said Kathrin.

The competition is open to everyone interested in game and development. EYA partnered with VRCORE, the organizer of the “Global VR Hackathon“ – a worldwide event with regional competitions and a Championship Final in Shanghai at the end of August. Three Winners of the Jam will be invited to the Championship Final – a unique opportunity for the participants to expand their network and learn!

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Barcelona is well-known for its tourist attractions – beautiful architecture, vibrant nightlife and great food -, which makes it one of the most visited places in the world. Yet, there is something more than attracting the occasional visitors that the Catalan capital wants to earn: the status of first Social Business big City. As a supporter of social businesses around the world, Horyou interviewed Anna Domenech, spokesperson for Social Business City Barcelona.

Barcelona Social Business City
Barcelona Social Business City

What does Social Business City Barcelona stand for?

Social Business City Barcelona (SBC Barcelona) is an International program of intervention, created by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace prize in 2006, known as the promoter of microcredit and social business concepts. The creation of this international initiative has the purpose of spreading the concept of social business around the world, at a time when an international social business movement is arising worldwide that involves people, organizations and societies. This movement aims to promote and support social entrepreneurship and social business as a tool to deal with and solve the social needs and challenges of the city. From this global ecosystem, a new concept on how to solve social problems in a territory emerges, in a holistic and collaborative way: Social Business City (SBC). In order to reach that objective, SBC Barcelona has created a huge alliance between different actors in the city to work together for a social and economic change. Currently, SBC Barcelona is supporting the creation of new social enterprises, accompanying NGOs to create social businesses, undertaking social business communication campaigns, training sessions and workshops for students, and boosting university research and teaching. An important thing to consider is what we mean by social business: organizations whose main objective is to achieve a positive social impact, using the sale of a product or a service as a tool. The profits are reinvested in their own activity (no-dividend), to make more effective and enduring its main goal: to create impact and generate social change.

You have a very bold mission – to transform Barcelona into the first big social business city in the world. What is your strategy and timeline to reach this goal?

Before Barcelona, Wiesbaden (Germany), Pistoia (Italy) and Fukuoka (Japan) got involved in the SBC initiative. The latest incorporation has been Ipoh, in Malaysia. These initiatives are being developed in very different realities, especially regarding the size of the cities which are taking part. In Pistoia, for example, the program is carried out by the University of Florence. In Barcelona, we have four public universities and a large number of private universities and business schools. We have obtained the commitment of all the public universities and four private universities. So, the initiative in Barcelona requires the articulation of an extensive city; it also calls to deal with the multiplicity and complexity of all the actors involved. On the other hand, it should be noted that Barcelona presents a great, strong and rooted civil society where many alternative forms of production and consumption have developed throughout the years; forms such as cooperatives are traditionally very powerful in Catalonia. In this sense, there’s a big task of including, cooperating and interacting with all the actors. Social entities and social businesses, universities, private entities, the third sector and the Barcelona city council are involved in the project since its inception.

Lab 'co-creating social business'
Lab “co-creating social business”

What are your main challenges today?

Our main objective now is to spread the concept of social business, to make visible other ways of doing business where economic activity becomes a potential and sustainable tool to face the social needs and challenges. It is necessary to give support and awareness to civil society that there are many initiatives and entrepreneurs that are creating business from a critical, transformative and committed social perspective. With SBC, we are supporting and promoting the creation of these companies that are based on social, environmental and cultural view, which allow the introduction of transformative perspectives and relationship to change the rules, and the type of thinking required for a radical transformation of the economic system. In order to achieve that, on the one hand, we’re doing a lot of training activities in universities and schools; we grant several awards for the best social business projects to university and professional training students, and we’re launching communication campaigns and activities that involve civil society. On the other hand, we’re carrying out the Lab Co-Creating Social Business, which offers support to social entrepreneurs: an intensive workplace, workshops, support and advice in the process of creation a new social business.

Are you engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals?

We’re engaged with SDG because we think it’s totally necessary to adopt this set of goals as a part of a new sustainable development global agenda. We think in a global way and consider that all these goals should be intrinsic to all activities of all organizations, in the common world we’re living in. However, we’re working from a territorial vision, through the identification of different social challenges which must be faced in Barcelona. The first main challenge identified was to reduce youth unemployment in the city, an unsustainable situation which requires to be approached immediately, by the cooperation and implication of all the city’s agents. To revert this problem will take time and effort. That is why we need sustainable and coordinated solutions, focused towards the reduction of youth unemployment, but guaranteeing sustainability and maximization of its social impact in the future, and counting on the youth community as agents who can transform a reality that affects them directly. Some of other challenges we are working on are high pollution rates, migrations, negative tourism effects in the city, right to housing, or education.

In your opinion, are civil society and private sector more aware and committed to social businesses?

In the recent years, we have witnessed a series of events, both locally and globally, which have shaken the dominant socio-economic structures, demonstrating the need to re-think and transform the system. We grew up in a context where the hegemonic economic actors have shown to prioritize growth measured in personal profits at the expense of the interests based on people and common welfare, where business relations have strengthened poverty, exclusion, social inequality, and environmental devastation. But for a long time, different and alternatives ways of doing business have been raised, showing that other forms of production, exchange and consumption is not only possible, but a reality. One way of doing business is where economic activity becomes a potential tool to face challenges and social needs. In a distressing global reality, we believe that people are becoming more aware of the importance of betting for sustainable and responsible ways of life; and we believe that it’s absolutely necessary for a committed and aware civil society to generate new public policies favourable to this socio-economic change.

Teaching
Teaching a course of social economy at the university

Horyou is a social network for the social good. How important is to have social networks engaging and promoting social businesses?

We think it’s crucial to place the new forms of communication, of sharing information and knowledge at the service of social and sustainable proposals. It’s evident that social networks present new opportunities, intensifying the connections and the possibilities of cooperation. So we think it’s necessary to redirect this innovative tools towards new ways of collaboration in order to co-create and build collective knowledge and experience around social enterprises and social economy.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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