On 1 and 2 June, the working group Smart Social Inclusion met in Brno. The event included a visit to the impact hub of the city, to social enterprises and discussions on how cities can harness the potential of social entrepreneurship for the benefits of their citizens.
After a presentation on the local context and the several initiatives currently undertaken to make Brno a smart and inclusive city, participants learned more about the new impact hub installed in the city. Based in the city centre, the inspirational working place is a playground for entrepreneurs sharing common values. The place also plays the role of a hub for social entrepreneurs who benefit from incubating and accelerating programmes to set up their business. Those services are especially useful for the few companies which decided to concentrate their efforts on social outcomes. Raising awareness on social entrepreurship and connecting the different actors of the local community, the hub is currently working closely with different projects and companies aiming at positive social impact. Among the companies were the first carsharing service system in the Czech Republic (Autonapul), an environmental partnership foundation for education, and a chamber for social enterprises cooperating with a broad range of stakeholders for the integration of disadvantaged groups in the labour market.
Contributing to innovative projects, the city will also refurbish and subsequentely rent some appartements for the replication of the VinziRast project developed in Vienna, which sees young people living and working together with homeless people to learn with and from each other.
Later that day participants also visited the premises of some social enterprises working closely with NGOs representing people from disadvantaged groups. The first of the 3 visits was to Bajkazyl, a tearoom integrating activities with youth support, a bike repair shop and cultural activities. The café Prah, also located in the centre, is working partly as a social enterprise employing people with mental diseases (schizophrenia, depression) and offering tailored rehabilitation training. The cultural aspect is also covered with “Amaro Records”, an affordable music studio offering all necessary equipment for recording music, it received funding to employ 2 people from the Roma community to run the bar of the studio.
The following morning, members of the WG reflected on those visits and on the different policies and actions city authorities can undertake to foster local community actions aiming at including those furthest away from the labour market, enhance the work of NGOs and contribute efficiently to the citizens’ initiatives that are bringing a social impact.
Jana Valkova, Project Manager at Interreg central Europe, presented to members the possibilities offered by the programme to work on transnational projects. The programme could contribute to foster innovation, strengthen social enterprises to maximise their economic and social impact, or support bottom-up practices and community projects.
The next meeting of the WG will take place in the autumn. More information about the location and the date will be shared in the coming weeks.