Social Innovation Platform (SIP) is a new initiative developed by the Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC) that aims to support development of innovative ideas focusing on social changes. The program is oriented at supporting young social change makers in Georgia to launch and initiate innovative and sustainable solutions. The project is committed to shifting the paradigm of innovation from economic growth to one that generates public and social value. Social Value is created when resources, inputs, processes or policies are combined to generate improvements in the lives of individuals, groups or society as a whole.
Undoubtedly, Georgia has made tremendous economic progress in the last couple of decades, attributing to factors like liberalized trade, upgraded infrastructure and strengthened public finances, among others. However, despite these achievements, many complex social and environmental challenges such as ageing population, exclusion of ethnic minorities from mainstream socio-economic activities, gender inequality, high out-migration, high unemployment, poverty, a traditional approach to education, underdeveloped human capital, and vulnerability to climate change and natural disaster remain. Besides, the socio-economic repercussions of the fall of the Soviet system are still prevalent.
On the other hand, the unconditional focus on open-market and economic production is leaving out the other essential aspects of well-being, which are equally important in creating an equal, just and peaceful society. Similarly, limited access to finance, quality education, and skill enhancement opportunities have prevented many Georgians from having a better life. They have affected their critical thinking ability and creativity in finding better alternatives.
Therefore, these growing issues require new and innovative types of solutions by private actors. We believe that these solutions could be found with interdisciplinary methodologies combining the essence of business, innovation and technology with an entrepreneurial approach to design such solutions and leading to sustainable outcomes. That is why CTC has initiated Social Innovative Platform (SIP), which would support “Social Innovators” in finding novel and sustainable solutions. These are the people who we consider “a new generation of civil society actors who are driven to address the systemic problems facing the world today.”
Our approach is based on consolidating three concepts – social enterprise, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. The three concepts reflect the nuances of ‘change agents’ with the mission of addressing social unjust. They are interrelated and interwoven.
They work in tandem because they are all bound by the belief that social change is vital to create a society in which everyone prospers through the creation of social value.
SIP is open to those who want to challenge social issues, who feel a sense of social responsibility, or those who have ideas for a change. In essence, an individual, a civil society organization (CSO) or a community-based organization (CBO) can be a part of SIP. All they need is a relevant idea and the willingness to develop a sustainable business model.
The project aims to create the appropriate environment and eco-system that is necessary for social innovations to develop. We realize that it can only happen if there is adequate human resource, technologies, knowledge and financial capabilities.
With that in mind, SIP will support socially-minded people in exploring and developing innovative approaches to address societal challenges by providing:
Project consists of four stages – campaigning, resource development, organizing an award competition and supporting the winners.
Stage I – Campaign regarding social innovations:
The campaign includes spreading information about social entrepreneurship, e.g. what it means, why it is important. Open door meetings in Tbilisi and in the regions would be organized as part of the campaign. Other than that, relevant communication messages and good practice examples would be disseminated. For the effective campaigning purposes, opinion leaders would be actively engaged in its development
Stage II – Developing a special web-platform
The aim of developing a web-platform is to support awareness raising of the general public as well as the target audience by offering learning resources. More specifically, the platform would have self-paces courses in social entrepreneurship and social innovations as well as some other relevant topics. Other than that, the platform would have interesting news, articles, blogs and thematic videos about the topic of social entrepreneurship.
Stage III – Organizing a Competition
The program is oriented at supporting young social change makers in Georgia to launch and initiate innovative and sustainable solutions. The competition is open for everyone aged 18-35. Ideas can be submitted online at www.socialinnovation.ge
The candidates would be selected by a special jury that operates on a voluntary basis.
Stage IV – Supporting and Monitoring
As a follow-up, the project would actively cooperate with the announced awardees. More specifically, the project would support both in technical issues as well as in terms of mobilizing additional resources.