Erste SEEDS Program to support nearly 70 social businesses

Pocket-sized online maths teacher, cool fashion collection sporting Roma designs, unique gift artefacts created by persons living in deep poverty, a guest house and café employing persons with disabilities— all these social business ideas were selected to the Erste SEEDS program with the aim of supporting and scaling up social organisations in Hungary.

Out of more than 200 applications, 68 applicants were selected to enter the 18-month incubation programme to launch or grow their social business initiative. The involved social enterprises/organisations will receive a customized business training, organisational development support and expert mentoring. The most promising enterprises may receive up to EUR 240,000 in form of “Seed grants”, pitch to impact investors or ask for bank loans while being supported by mentors. The operational program will start in May 2017, the opening event and announcement of participants took place on 21 April.

Startup social enterprises, or those thinking to establish one, often face the problem that even though their idea or activity is good and beneficial for the community, they have no experience in how to establish, operate, and develop such a business venture. The Erste SEEDS Program has been established to tackle those problems and help social businesses get past the initial obstacles. A sustainable economic development is a critical factor for their independence and effectiveness. The Program has enabled organisations, which until now were relying on donations or short-term public contracts, to broaden their income base. By developing social enterprise activities they are able to build long-term stability for their services.

The programme is a common initiative of the Social Banking Development department of Erste Group, ERSTE Stiftung and Erste Bank Hungary. Experienced implementation partners are IFUA Nonprofit Partner and SIMPACT. Members of the Advisory Board are important stakeholders of the social economy sector in Hungary. This project has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI”.

Here is the link to the press release with more detailed Information:  http://www.erstestiftung.org/press/seeds