Virtual School of Social Innovation

In October 2020., the Foundation for partnership and civil society development organized the first Virtual school of social innovations in Pula, Croatia that lasted for ten days and included around 15 participants. 

The Virtual School of social innovation is a concept developed by the Foundation for partnership and civil society development as a part of the INTERREG MED +Resilient project with the aim of developing new social innovations in The Istria County. The idea for the project was influenced by the Social Innovation Lab in Croatia, one of SIKE’s partners because of their long collaboration with the Foundation. The first idea was presented at the presentation in May 2019. when Mirna Karzen, president of SIL also presented SIKE project and their idea to promote social innovation and exchange of knowledge among different partners.  

Participants organized in the teams of three, have developed a business model for a new social enterprise with the help of mentors – experts in the field of social entrepreneurship, marketing and branding, history, and storytelling. The first theme of the virtual school was “Local Philanthropy – an Opportunity for Innovation and employment”. Why this topic? Because, Pula has a great philanthropic history that besides social values, also has a big cultural and tourist potential. As the director of the Foundation, Helga Može said: „This potential can be used to rais funds and raise awareness of the importance of charity and solidarity, but through its philanthropic story, creates a foundation for future generations for socially responsible behavior and living“.

Ideas were very different: 

  • New side of Pula“, an idea about a hostel with upcycled furniture that would employ people with disabilities and offer gastro food for all visitors;
  • Femina Romana“, an idea on raising awareness about less-known history of women in the Roman period. This idea would be interpreted through a shop with locally-developed cosmetic products based on the Roman cosmetics recipes. 
  • Pula philanthropy-book of happines“ is an idea on how to share your philanthropic story and develop a sense of community and cooperation.
  •  „Filantura= filantropija+avantura+tura“ (philanthropy + adventure) that would raise awareness about philanthropy through different tours.   
  • Feel good house“ (winners), an idea to create a multimedia exhibition on the history of Philanthropy in Pula (shop, coffee house, storytelling tours, 3D exhibition in different locations in Pula etc. 

All participants has received a certificate of participation, with the listed skills and knowledge they have acquired. The best business plan will be realized, and the members of the winning team will have the opportunity to participate in the realization od the idea for a fee (through a work contract or student contract). 

The virtual school of social innovations “Local philanthropy – an opportunity for innovation and employment” is the first pilot activity of the Regional Center for Social Innovation – “ReCeD’Istria”, whose interactive web platform will be published at the end of the year. The ReCeD’Istria platform will bring together information and news from various fields to help develop social innovation and social entrepreneurship that will contribute to solving problems in society.

The Regional Centre for Social Innovations – ReCeD’Istria is a pilot project implemented as part of the + Resilient project, Interreg Mediterranean program 2014 – 2020, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and co-financed by the Office of the Republic of Croatia – Office for Cooperation with the NGOs. 8 Mediterranean countries and 14 partners are participating in the project.

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