Social entrepreneurship in Poland and Germany: what is it like? ILM graduates studied it

It’s been the second time now that the graduates of the Institute of Leadership and Management UCU have visited Warsaw, Berlin, and Wroclaw during their International educational module. The topic of this year visit was ‘Social entrepreneurship. Marketing and brand development’. During six days of intensive studying 25 public activists were exploring successful examples of Polish and German organizations. According to Sofia Sydorenko, the organizer of the educational module, Development Executive of ILM UCU, this topic was chosen because of its relevancy and high social demand. Indeed, social entrepreneurship in Ukraine becomes a tool, using which nongovernmental organizations can become more self-sufficient and less dependable on donors.

‘Different countries have a different experience. It is interesting to study what is the influence of the context of various countries on the development of social entrepreneurship in particular. Things which proved to be efficient in Poland may not work in Germany. As well as the experience of Poland and Germany may not be successful in Ukraine. And vice versa. Things which are efficient here, might not work in other countries’, - says Sofia.

The program was a combination of both theoretical and practical aspects. The participants studied the experience of the following organizations: social entrepreneurship Ashoka, Foundation Academy of Public Organizations (FAOO), Academy of Development of Philanthropy in Poland, Foundation Education for Democracy, Center of Support for local initiatives (CAL), Thinkfarm Berlin, MitOst e.V., Social Impact Lab Berlin, Dycle - Diaper Cycle, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, аs well as other initiatives.

‘The organizations we visited are very different, but they are efficient and creative. They inspire us to new ideas, they are ready for partnership and implementation of joint projects. I grew especially fond of Ashoka in Warsaw, which supports social innovators. It is present in many countries of the world, and there are two Nobel prize winners amongst its followers. For instance, the popular book ‘I’m Malala’, written by Malala Yousafzai, Nobel prize winner, who is also the follower of Ashoka. I was also impressed by the story of reconstruction of the former hospital Bethanien in Berlin. The Eastern part of the city hadn’t only tried to restore the culture, but also had made a wide road which ended right next to the Berlin wall, with unshakeable faith that sooner or later there would be no wall at all’, - says Oksana Huz’, the graduate of MA in Nonprofit Management program of ILM UCU.

Based on the example of international experience the organizers wanted to show how one could find new solutions to old problems. ‘In Berlin, we visited the Social Impact Lab. This is a training laboratory for those who want to establish their own social enterprises. At first, they study, get the mentor, consulting and other assistance, and then they launch their own social enterprises. This stage isn’t so developed in Ukraine, so far. However, that’s what we insist on when organizing our Master program in Nonprofit Management: prior to creating anything, it is important to study and analyze it’, - says Sofia.
According to Stanislav Andriychuk, this year graduate of ILM, such trips are important for representatives of the public sector, because they show practical aspects of social entrepreneurship and fundraising in European countries. He sees the determination to help, the desire to find a solution, not to delay the process, be active and useful as the most important positive qualities of social entrepreneurship activity, while he also recognizes the importance of assistance on the part of the local administration, provided to such initiatives.

Even during their studying, the graduates of ILM UCU receive a certain base of knowledge and skill for social entrepreneurship and marketing. The initiative to organize an educational module in Poland and Germany consists in giving the participants deeper understanding and international context, as well as to motivate them to implement changes in Ukraine in a more comprehensive and professional way thanks to obtained knowledge.

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