SocStarter: International training Program to change social change through entrepreneurship in Belarus

Minsk, BelarusMinsk
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SocStarter is a multi-sectoral partnership that co-creates a unique training program and platform for 270 enterpreneurs in Belarus in the next 3 years. Development of their competences, confidence, network & coaching in starting a social enterprise drives innovative, social and sustainable change!

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

- Education in Belarus is not fostering free thinking enough - Enterpreneurship doesn't have a good image - Social issues are not in focus BUT Innovative enterpreneurs have ideas, but lack skills/knowledge/network/access to funding/coaching

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Develop Social Enterprises: to change the mentality of thinking about the government as the only actor of change & drive young innovative entrepreneurs. In 3 years we run 6 SocStarter program cycles for in total 270 social entrepreneurs. Build on successful pilot: 7 social businesses kicked off as the result Encouraging us to continue the development of SE to address social issues and to strengthen entrepreneurial skills in Belarus Ensure sustainable social impact: Bringing the corporate and public sector together encourage multi-sectorial cooperation. SocStarter will create a platform of dialogue through the build-up of seminars and events. International expertise offers solution to the lack of expertise in marketing and sales in Belarus
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

One of SocStarters’ social enterprises Mivia aims to tackle the problem of the physical and psychological barriers for people with disability. By providing paid consultation for business in Belarus to become disability-friendly & raise awareness Mivia creates opportunities for people with disabilities to get hired. Mivia gained 3 clients on making their office space accessible (also UN Country office in Belarus). More than half of SocStarter projects focused on providing services that did not exist before and thus improving lives of people. ‘Happy home’ creates awareness about training and employment opportunities for young people with autism. ‘Gift of Banks’ creates a shop that employs people with disabilities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The main impact will emerge and scale from the social entrepreneurs (SE) which are further developed through this program. In 3 years we expect to develop training and consultation on SE as regular services. There will be a professional community developed that can drive the recognition of SE in Belarus (tax decrease, legal regulations, SE as a legal entity recognized by law) SE will be publicly recognized as source of employment and life improvement, connecting public and private organizations to encourage cooperation. 5-10 year plan is to open a social HUB.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are few initiatives that work in the sphere of SE: – it was developed after first SocStarter ended in Feb 2014 and provides an online course for Social entrepreneurship. – develops entrepreneurship in IT sphere There are initiatives that develop start-ups in general, without a special focus on social entrepreneurship is already a partner since the beginning of SocStarter, and we see the other initiatives and projects as potential partners, not competitors in developing awareness on entrepreneurship, especially social.


Denis Kondratovich is a real entrepreneurs who has the drive to inspire and train others to bring out the best in them. Business developer and Marketing experts. Yuliya is an expert in non-formal education and learning, has more than 8 years of experience of elaborating and running training programmes for young people, as well as specialists (trainings for international organizations (UN agencies), Belarusian NGOs, international educational activities). Being active in social sphere in Belarus for more than 13 years, Yuliya has a wide network of social and other organizations. Masha Cheriakova is also an organizers & networker who can put the right people into the right place with a business admin degree. all three have the right motivation & network of people to realize a sustainable project
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
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Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, MI, Minsk

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact

the Netherlands

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New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?
Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-NGO with over 2000 members and more than 30.000 young people participating annually in their activities.
-Advocacy of humanitarian principles and ideas of UNESCO in education, science, culture and communication through formation of UNESCO clubs all over the country.
-As creating educational programs is its main mission, UNESCO Clubs main motivation is to promote knowledge transfer through youth by developing entrepreneurial skills by encouraging international exchange of skills.
-By sharing and spreading info about social entrepreneurship & SocStarter through their large youth network we create more awereness. Consultancy on education programs & access to national & international public/private agencies that are working in partnership with UNESCO Clubs.

-Social Business
-provides financial and informational support to charitable and non-profit organizations, to charitable events and to volunteer groups.
-proven to be one of the only successful social business in Belarus, MaeSens’s goal is to share their knowledge & expertise to all who have great ideas to do social good in a sustainable way.
-Knowledge about legal & business environment for a social business in Belarus. A great network targeting youth who want to do good. Community building experience.

-Commercial business
-A learning & education centre in Belarus for talent development. Spheres of focus: Photography, video editing, music, dance, and entrepreneurship.
-Developing talent to do social good is the main motive of BlueSky to co-create SocStarter. By developing social entrepreneurial skills the participants will change many lives is what BlueSky’s main motivation is all about.
-a great network, venue (in the city centre), and technical support.

NGO “Youth Education Center “Fialta” - a non-governmental youth-led organization, that has 19 years of experience in non-formal education and youth work. Fialta’s mission is to help those who get in touch with the organization to consciously determine their own life stand and develop a free and flexible way of thinking. Fialta runs projects and educational programmes for young people on social, intercultural skills, on critical thinking and active participation, provides mentorship and space for youth-driven initiatives
Fialta has a broad network of young people (with 15-17 active members in organization it provides activities for appr. 300 people per month and has more than 5000 followers in social media), as well as network with other Belarusian and European youth organizations.
[email protected]
Chairperson of the Board Alisa Karpovich

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

Within 3 years, we improve competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes on social entrepreneurship) of 270 people who take part in the project
Our network will enable us to leverage European experience and expertise on SE and bring this to Belarus. This will also help to re-connect Belarus with the European community and foster international collaboration. The established platform creates opportunities for exchange of experience & support between different sectors.
As the result of the project, within 3 years we estimate that at least 200 people will further develop their ideas and initiate a social enterprise that creates jobs for other people to work in their social enterprises.
By telling success stories in media (150 articles) we will raise awareness in Belarus on how people can become change makers by developing social enterprises & encourage them to take the lead of their lives.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]


Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

Sustainability of expertise and training:
Partnership agreements (hours of work of experts from private companies and public organizations)
Participants’ commitments (to pass their knowledge to next SocStarter generation)
Financial sustainability:
Synergy with other projects (creation of Social hub, with membership fees)
Additional paid expertise and assistance for social entrepreneurs (workshops, consultations, etc)

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

After hearing a friend of a friend, Vitalik talking about his dream of opening a magic school that would focus on rehabilitation of adults and children with special needs and disabilities through the healing of magic. This has been not the first person who had a great idea that could improve many lives. Vitalik’s story was for us the turning point: we came up with a program that would turn such social ideas into social business. Inspiring, training and enlarging their network was the only thing they needed for the realization of their big dream. Our dream now is to be the nudge for great people who want to make Belarus a better place for all.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

1st barrier: the mentality of many people towards social entrepreneurship in Belarus. To change people’s mind to see social change as something they could play a role in, plus making money with it, is a real challenge. By appearing on different events & on the media, giving interviews and promoting our Project has lead to an increase of understanding regarding the concept of social entrepreneurship.
2nd barrier: while many social problems need the support on governmental level, this is something that is almost absent in Belarus. During our program we invited governmental officials to participate in the program. Also UN proved to be of great support to involve governmental participation
3rd barrier: the division of many projects and organization in Belarus that on their own try to foster change. SocStarter is a multi-sectoral project that encourages cooperation between different actors

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

Joint project

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

This project involves partners from different spheres and with different type of organizations. The cooperation and day-today work together will introduce the models of daily work, decision-making, and other procedures and will show the values that drive each organization, and based on this the more potential for the future projects.
For example, Fialta has a unique for Belarus model of de-centralized implementation of activities. Belau has a structured activities implementation, with experience of realizing big-scale projects, and good partnership with government.
Maesens has a network of companies that are making social responsibility projects, and Blue Sky’s involves working with arts a lot. Definitely, all partner organizations will develop new competences, as they will learn from each other expertise and broaden their network.

How did you find out about this competition?

Ashoka website